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Changes In Australian Society Reflected In The Performing Arts

1271 words - 5 pages

The plays, "No Sugar" by Jack Davis, "The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll" (The Doll) by Ray Lawler and "The Removalists" by David Williamson are significant texts which were influenced by the changes in Australian Society between the 1911's and 1970's. Some of the changes involved city and the bush, gender roles, people living under the White Australia Policy. These changes have all been portrayed in the three plays."No Sugar" was written in 1986 by Jack Davis, but is based in 1929, in the middle of the depression. Society became racial intolerant and illogical prejudice. More than half the Aboriginal land in New South Wales, between 1911 and the 1920's, was taken for 'whites'. In 1927 police killed at least twenty Aboriginal people in the Kimberly district. A year later at least thirty aboriginal people were murdered. The Federal Governments investigation took only four weeks to conclude that of the killings were necessary. (Manne, Craven, 2001) Davis relates his text to the occurring events and portrays the Australian society's change in perception towards the Aboriginal people.The theme of Paternalism from the White Australians is evident in "No Sugar". Davis content of dialogue, "Hello, Chief Protector of Aborigines Office" and events that occur upon the characters; Aboriginal Liquor Act, settlement placement, the receipt of nations reveal the different views Australia had at that time. White man stripped the Aboriginal people of their pride, their identity and their Aboriginality because they thought it was their responsibility to change the Aboriginal people. (Manne, Craven, 2001) When the play was written it was the content that was more interesting, because up until this point this change towards society hadrarely been presented to the white people.The corruption and forced assimilation of Aboriginality to the Australian culture is showed by Davis's use of language. Most of the Aboriginals dialogue is in English, but occasionally uses the Aboriginal dialect. Cultural imperialism was a major change in Australian society at this period of time, as English is the more dominant language. The use of English with the Aboriginal people was not uncommon at this period of time. (Manne, Craven, 2001)The structure of "No Sugar" is linear. The story changes between white officials and an Aboriginal family. The contrast between the whites' ideas and the different ideas of the Aboriginals is presented through the juxtaposition of the sets.Davis uses humour to create meaning in his text. The humour is between the Mullimurras, in contrast to this bitter truth, it softens the tone, as it reflects upon the change of the understanding and acceptance of their plight. This is seen in Act One Scene Three as the drunken character Jimmy reveals the injustices he has suffered to his friend Frank. They were given the choice to either take in the white's views and die out, or live in a white society. Again the language is an important factor in conveying the...

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