The Lost Man
Jane Harper
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Symbols
Symbols are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea.
The Fence

The fence represents the isolation caused by the large pieces of land owned by Nathan and his brothers: “The wire vanished into the distance in both directions” (Harper 17). It is also a symbol of safety as Nathan and his brothers often drove close to the perimeter to avoid losing their bearings (Harper 18). The fence protects the herds of cattle from wandering off or getting lost, and ensures that the cattle owners have an easier time when rounding up the cows in the evening, especially when the size of their farms are considered (Harper 27-28).

Landscape

The harsh dry land is described almost like another character that plays a significant role in the novel. Harper brings the Queensland outback setting to life through her description of the scorching sun, the deep sand where vehicles often get stuck, and the rocky terrain that is a constant hazard to drivers and their tires. When Ludlow tries to secure the crime scene where Cameron’s car had been parked, the lack of trees or sticks to hold the crime tape symbolizes the dryness of the land and the hardships faced by the residents of the town (Harper 33).

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