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"My Place" By Sally Morgan: An Analysis.

1391 words - 6 pages

Sally Morgan's 'My Place' is an autobiographical account of three generations of Aboriginals, which illustrate the social history of Aboriginals from the point of view of an Aboriginal and marks its development as society evolves. Two aboriginals, Gladys and Daisy Corruna, of the Stolen Generations describe the Paternalism which led to their shame of being Aboriginal and forced them to hide the truth of their past from their children. Paternalism also led to the creation of a new identity caused by the loss of culture and heritage experienced by the Stolen Generation and the unacceptance of the white population. Another of the Stolen Generation, Arthur Corruna, tells of the hardships involved with being a half-caste and trying to get ahead in life. The fourth, Sally Morgan, the author, describes what it was like to grow up with a false sense of identity. She records the events in her life which signify the time when she knew nothing of her heritage and was struggling to understand herself and the different mannerisms of her family.
White society established their dominance over the indigenous people of Australia by exercising social and political control such as the paternalism involved with institutions. Half-caste children were sent to institutions in the hope that the 'white' part of their blood would allow them to be trained and educated as white. These children are often referred to as stolen, something of which Gladys, Sally's mother, identifies with as she was taken from her family at the age of four, to live at the Parkerville institution. "I always thought of myself as a stolen child," (pg. 246) represents the animosity with which many half-caste children felt during their stay at institutions like Parkerville. Gladys' mother Daisy was never institutionalized but was taken into Perth under the pretext of becoming educated. "They told all the people I was goin' to school," (pg. 332) but was instead taken to serve the Drake-Brockman family and "she thought I was coming back" (pg. 332) highlights the deceit of the white people in the methods they used to separate aboriginal children from their families. Daisy's distrust for most white people stemmed from the many lies the Drake-Brockman family had presented her with during her working years and this distrust developed into a feeling of shame, "People looked at you funny 'cause you were black. I kept my eyes down" (pg. 336). 'My Place' presented the opportunity for Sally to finally delve into the family history which her Nan had always hidden from her and her siblings and finally brought about the admission that her Nan had been ashamed. "I wanted to be white you see...It'd be the best thing" (pg. 336) represents the feelings of many older Aboriginals who experienced both the sexual assault by their bosses and the subsequent loss of their half-caste children to institutions as well as being condemned to a life of servitude.

The consequences of being taken away from their Aboriginal mothers...

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