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Kjean Bedford's Sister Kate - the Outsider

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The outsider as an archetype describes a protagonist who is often ostracised from society through conflicting perspectives. Jean Bedford's Sister Kate demonstrates the idea of the archetypal outsider through the protagonist, Kate Kelly. As a woman and a "Kelly", she is subject to scrutiny and is often looked down upon by society and her struggles with love, powerlessness and belonging are prevalent throughout the text. Similarly, Kate Kelly epitomises the typical outsider and we learn of her status through her perceptions of injustice by being positioned to observe the protagonist as outsiders to society.

The notion of perceived injustice is vital in exploring the concept of women as outsiders. The first section of the novel presents the Kellys as victims of police oppression and injustice. They were often described as being a "hotbed of outlaws and thieves". The Fitzpatrick incident clearly demonstrates Kate as an outsider. As a Kelly, the police saw them as "vermin and their destruction was inevitable". The connotation of "vermin" reflects how they were not accepted in society and emphasises how the police thought they were beneath them. Kate also foreshadows that the police will be at fault for the Kellys' deaths. Fitzpatrick would sexually harass and repeatedly take advantage of Kate, confirming her hatred and perceptions of the prejudices of the law. "Fitzpatrick would try to take her arm or try to make her kiss him while she writhed and struggled" and called her "the best of the bunch". The sexual innuendo belittles Kate and emphasises how she is victimised by the police and therefore, through perceived injustice, Kate, as a woman, portrays the archetypal outsider.

In general, the Kellys are often portrayed as outsiders to the community and Kate Kelly is no exception. The Glenrowan incident and particularly Joe Byrne's death affects Kate's mental state and pushes her further onto the periphery of society, The structure of the text foreshadows the gradual demise of Kate as an outsider. Part one is told in first person, where as part two is in third person. The shape emphasise how Kate slips into a state of delirium and highlights the decline of her mental state. The use of the authorial voice in part two, explains her incoherent behaviour and madness and takes the audience away from the increasingly unstable Kate, making her story more believable, since her personal, incoherent deteriorating voice would not be trustworthy. After Joe's death, she gradually starts to abuse drugs and alcohol. Kate also adopts a pseudonym, "Ada Hennesssey" knowingly to distance herself from society and further emphasises her position as an outsider. "She lay watching the sunlight and shadows passing across the wall by the corners of her window." Kate looks out at the world, confined in a room by herself. She is trapped and isolated in her



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