The Thorn Birds Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 43 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Thorn Birds.
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Family

The overarching theme of The Thorn Birds is the importance of family. As the novel opens, the Clearys are an impoverished but loyal New Zealand family. Only Frank, who is secretly not a Cleary, feels the pull of distant adventures. The Cleary siblings protect and torment each other. Isolated on their sheep station, they have few friends outside the family. When the Clearys do form outside friendships, they have disastrous consequences, such as Meggie's ill-fated relationship with Teresa Annunzio. Although life is always hard for the Clearys in New Zealand, they face their problems together and know they can depend upon one another.

When Mary Carson intervenes in their lives, the Clearys learn that family assistance is not always kindhearted. Mary generously offers to make Paddy Cleary heir to Drogheda, one of the largest sheep stations in Australia. In return, however, Paddy and all his sons must work...

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This section contains 933 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Thorn Birds Study Guide
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