Good afternoon teachers and year 12 students, today I will be discussing how a sense of belonging and not belonging is portrayed in Rainbow’s End along with my related text Stolen From Myself. The concept of belonging is conveyed through the representations of personal, cultural, historical and social contexts in both texts. Rainbow’s End is a contemporary indigenous play by Jane Harrison and she conveys her ideas about belonging through the use of characters, events, places and relationships.
Rainbow End is a drama that follows a narrative structure. It essentially revolves around the conflict of Dolly and Errol’s relationship between an Aboriginal girl and a white boy in the setting of 1950s Australia. Errol’s plan for Dolly scene represents how closely belonging in Rainbow’s End is linked to the strength of the family and the relationships within the families. Errol thinks to take Dolly away from her family in order to give her a better life. He creates an ironic image of a small flat in the city with a sitting-room and a ‘real-stove’.
He says that although there would be no room for visitors to stay, it would be better then what she has now. These material possessions are used in the play to portray that Errol has misinterpreted what a ‘real home’ means. Dolly is horrified at the thought of leaving her rive and her family. To her, a home is not defined by the objects in it, but by the people she loves and spends time with. She rejects his offer, saying in a definite tone that “this is my place.
I am staying right here with my mum and my Nan. ” Later, when Errol returns, he demonstrates his understanding of her family bond, saying “where you belong, and your family, is important. ” In scene five, the sale of the encyclopedia is a symbol of education, also an obstacle/opportunity that Gladys sees as necessary to Dolly establishing a sense of belonging in the white society. The anglocentric white society of the 1950s does not value Aboriginal knowledge which was passed down by oral narratives.
The Encyclopedia is a powerful of the displacement of Aboriginal culture by the anglocentric colonises. Harrison uses the metaphor techniques rain; thunder and lightning in the play to indicate the reality of events and their dramatic content. Lightening is used to indicate a dream sequence pause or beat – to emphasise the emotional impact of the interaction between the characters. For instance, when the lights go down it’s an indication that the event finished whereas if the lights go up it’s a fresh new event.
Nan dear, she doesn’t want to belong with the white society – shown when Gladys says: ‘ but descent housing’ and nan replies ‘get off your high horse, least we do things our way’. This symbolises that Nan dear does not want to accept the white lifestyle and culture and does not want to lose her aboriginal identity and values over the whites. Whereas Glady’s doesn’t mind accepting the white culture and values as she believes the doors of opportunity for education would open for her daughter Dolly, for herself and for her people.
In contrast, the extract ‘Stolen From Myself’ focuses on the cultural and personal differences between aboriginal and the white people, this in conjunction portrays a sense of not belonging. The Aboriginal girl is taken away from her family and put into a white world, a world of hate, a world of difference and competition. The author Gyan Yankovich uses the technique of writing in first person to express her feelings of disconnection towards the white society. As she states “I miss my home. I miss my life, my friends and my family.
This quote illustrates a sense of not belonging within her new home and through the use of repetition ‘my’ it portrays that she does not belong to where she lives. Furthermore, by the use of negative word connotations such as ‘confused, cold, dark and sadness’ it draws a sense of isolation, alienation which altogether narrows down to a sense of not belonging. Gyan Yankovish the author of Stolen From Myself wrote in formal language, with a very sincere but resentful tone, for instance, “I looked around searching for the warmth I once knew, the warmth that can come only from a heart.
This delineates that the way her family treated her and showered her with love is no longer the same with the white people as she does not feel accepted within their community for who she is. Overall, Rainbows End and Stolen From Myself convey the concept of belonging in different ways. Rainbows end uses more a direct approach in its portrayal of belonging whereas Stolen From Myself reflects on the persona feelings of an Aboriginal girl that was taken away from her family. Both texts demonstrate ideas in belonging such as the stolen generation, families, racism, as well as belonging to the place or the land and a white society.