Act 2 Scenes 8-10 The scene starts at superintendent’s office at Moore river Native settlement, the date set 10 April 1933. It represents an institution of white power-a place of forced confinement and conformity. The importance of the construction of this place is to give a medium for the Aboriginals to resist such conformity, as demonstrated by Joe and Mary escaping from white control. It reinforces the theme of the play -‘the refusal of aboriginal people to submit to the ways of European invaders ” The 1930’s represented two major political turning points of Western Australia. Firstly, the loss of the James Mitchell’s seat as the premier of Northam to the labor government epitomizes changing white attitudes by electing a fairer government system. In previous scenes, Mitchell’s desperate attempt to win the election by sending the Aboriginals to Moore River as an act of racial segregation reflects his inequality and exploitation of his political hegemony.
The second political concern at this historical point was the success of the secession referendum vote. This secession of the 1930’s was led by the organisation Dominion League of Western Australia and in success of secession, Western Australia would break away from federation and the rule of the Commonwealth of Australia, therefore having dominion status similar to that of New Zealand. Despite the favoured votes for the secession referendum, by 1935 the proposition to Parliament was denied and WA still remained part of the federation. The significance in the context of the play is to illustrate the imperialistic views adopted by Eurocentric culture and how they were always after more power and control. The division of white society into a ‘pecking order’ becomes evident and through the play we are able to identify the power relations that exist between the Aboriginals and Europeans.
The movie Dead Heart uses the background of a murder mystery to further explore this complex issue of Aboriginal culture and traditions and the inevitable clash that results when white Australians try to impose their own system of beliefs, values and history upon Aboriginal people. The film is set in the small aboriginal community of Wala Wala, in remote outback Australia, in which lies the ...
The breaking away from federation in the secession meant that white supremacists would have elevated social hierarchy, which is why it was the only ‘good news’ for Neal. In contrast Aboriginal culture differs in that they didn’t have institutions of power, everyone was of equal status and they lived in harmony. Neals social status as the superintendent provides him the power to subjugate the aboriginals who were perceived to be at the bottom of the social pecking order. His frustration of the issue of the election is taken out on Billy Kimberly. He is constantly being dis empowered, but passively accepts his position and is even grateful of his acceptance into white society. [He throws a stick of tobacco onto the floor.
Billy picks it up] Billy: Thanks boss By positioning Billy to bend down to the floor and acquiescing to Neal’s authority signifies his inferiority to Neal. The racist attitudes of white, such as Neal, gave them the idea of ‘social Darwinism’. Despite Billy’s loyalty, he still referred to him as a ‘bloody incompetent savage’. It is evident that similar ideologies were adopted by white society in the early half of the century, as demonstrated in a school text book (1905): ‘A blackfellow is a very low form of a savage. He can not learn as so well as many blacks in other lands ” When Billy returns from the Neal’s instruction to search for the runaways, beaten and handcuffed, we see the use of juxtaposition between the way in which Matron and Neal talks to and treats Billy.
Given the ongoing and intergenerational effects of being taken away, is it useful to think of the Stolen Generations as something that happened in the past, or as a contemporary issue affecting Indigenous peoples? What implications are there for all Australians in recognizing the need for national healing? The Stolen Generation was a time of grief, sorrow and sadness for many indigenous people. To ...
Matron is portrayed as the caring motherly figure as symbolized by [walking in with an armful of linen]. She is concerned for Billy’s well being, while Neal is only concerned of the runaways. The dichotomy is evident, Neal has no sympathy in his response ‘What the bloody hell happened?’ while Matron responds ‘goodness me what happened?’ . Neal’s racist attitude comes through in his lack of understanding ‘you blithering stone aged idiot!’ , ‘which — way — was — the-train — going?’ Matron questions Neals authority and acts as contradictory commentator from the European perspective. Billy’s use of the English language is not very fluid, incorporating elements of his own dialect to remind the audience the artificiality of his cultural conversion and giving him a sense of aboriginal identity. This conversion is seen in the previous scenes where he attempts to claim authority as a policeman [a stock whip in one hand and handcuffs in the other], only to be mocked by the other Aboriginals and given the symbol black crow.
Jack Davis’s use of parallelism of Neal James Mitchell and Matron Lady Mitchell is noticeable (page 117- Background reading, The 1933 election and Secession Vote) ‘Sir James Mitchell was apparently amazed at this result, but Lady Mitchell was not.’ Similarly, Matron and Neal also had reacted differently to the election results. Matron is pleased of the result ‘I’ve got some good news for you’, almost gloating, while Neal responds to it as ‘a bloody massacre’. Neal’s misery in the loss of the election demonstrates the similarity of their imperialist ideologies on the matter of aboriginal treatment. Another use of parallelism is between the escape of the pregnant Mary and Joe with the biblical story of Mary and Joseph in the birth of Jesus. In both cases, they are resisting control of an institution of power by running away. Symbolism as non-verbal elements are commonly used by Davis as a vehicle to denote various issues.
Mary: [biting into a quand ong] A agh! They ” re sour! Joe: They ” re nice with sugar on them. There is a constant reference of the Aboriginal fruit Quan dongs (fruit of our people), it’s sourness symbolizes the influence of white culture in the break down of Aboriginal culture. However, Joe suggesting to add sugar on the bitterly sour expresses a metaphoric instance of hybridity by adaptation to the effects of white culture.” The identities and cultures of colonized peoples are not static but are continually adapting to societal change.”.
Mixed Media Culture Following the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Ben Franklin was asked what kind of government the country now had; "a republic, if you can keep it." Franklin's concerns at that time was that we might turn to a monarchy on the basis that this was the kind of government familiar to most people in the new world. Now, many years later, we should be concerned about the same issue, ...