This article foregrounds connections between Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale (2018) and the Grimms’ “The Juniper Tree” to suggest that it can be read as part of an Australian fairy-tale film corpus. It argues that figurations of the fairy-tale genre—namely, motifs, character types, and settings—become a means for the protagonist to work through physical and psychological trauma. In the space of the Australian bush, the protagonist Clare Carroll reflects on her sexual assault and the murder of her family. Both the “The Juniper Tree” and Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale” use bird songs to heal, rewrite wrongs, and restore social order. The Nightingale taps into the liberating and transformative potential of the fairy-tale genre to communicate traumatic experience, adopting the textual resonances of the songbird figure as a means for Clare to exert justice and overcome the lingering effects of trauma related to Australia’s violent colonial history.
Tedeschi, Victoria. "Fairy Tales and Colonial Trauma in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale." Marvels & Tales 36.1 (2022). Web. <https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol36/iss1/4>.