Herbie and Stolen Car by Archie Weller both explore the lives of two Aboriginals and the racism and alienation they experience due to their Aboriginality and the way they react to the situation they are in. Both Herbie and Johnny, the protagonists, experience by white society. Herbie is the only aboriginal in his year and he is targeted by the rest of the students in his year. Johnny is separated by mainstream society as seen where he is hitching a ride and no one will pick him up.
Both Herbie and Johnny are portrayed as naive and innocent this portrays them as victims. In both stories the main character or there close relatives where unfairly prosecuted as seen through Herbie’s brother. While the reader isn’t aware of the crime the reader is aware that the evidence has been fabricated. In stolen car Johnny is unfairly prosecuted for stealing a car and money when he did neither he was simply an innocent bystander. While Johnny is from a respected family Herbie’s family isn’t respected. However there are differences in the family structure.
Johnny’s family is respected because it resembles white society, a clean house and a respectable job working on the farm. While Herbies family doesn’t represent white society with an unclean house and a father on the dole. This shows that mainstream society only accepts people like them. Both Johnny and Herbie die due to racism. Johnny dies in a car crash as a result of lashing out at white society because his situation has made him feel hopeless and Herbie when he is forced to climb a tree to humiliate him by the students at his school.
This shows the destructive nature of racism. Both stories are in third person at one point this allows the author to distort what is happening because a single removed perspective guides the reader. When Herbie shifts between first and third perspective it allows readers insight into what is really happening. In stolen car the police hold the power, in Herbie his class holds the power. This reflects the different setting of each story. Johnny is older so the police represent power in his world. Herbie is younger so his classmates hold the power.
In both cases the authority is against the Aboriginal minority. The language in stolen car is simplistic and colloquial this gives the idea that it is written from the point of view of a child. Due to it being written from the point of view of a child we are more sympathetic towards the actions of the person writing the story, Davey Morne. This differs strongly to Stolen car which is written in frequently beautiful or vulgar language leaves the reader with harsh views of the city and the people living in the city
In Herbie and Stolen Car there are both similarities and differences in the way aboriginals are portrayed however the message is the same. Johnny becomes jaded due to the constant abuse from the police while Herbie doesn’t become jaded after the constant abuse from his peers. Yet both stories conclude with the death of the main character. The difference in background and coping mechanisms of both characters they both have the same disastrous end. This shows you racism is a destructive force.