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play is set in the 1950's focuses on three generations of an aboriginal family called the Dears. They live in Rumbalara, an Aboriginal Shanty settlement on the banks of the Goulburn river in northern Victoria. Nan Dear – the grandmother is the strong matriarchal figure in the play. Her daughter Gladys wants a better life and her granddaughter Dolly struggles to balance her cultural and family connections with her desires for a new life in the city with a white boy. Play gives us an insight on living conditions and challenged of racism of many indigenous Australians during the 1950's. The concept of belonging as it relates to Indigenous Australians can be confronting and challenging. Many Indigenous Australians were often 'not belonging' and this play is important in raising awareness and educating a broader audience. QUOTE: Jane Harrison herself stated that with “knowledge comes understanding, with understanding comes empathy, and these are the stepping stones in the healing process.
Unpacking the rubric: The key concepts
3 main concepts about belonging: Representation- is driving concept in the area of study. You need to explore, critically analyse and evaluate why and how Jane Harrison has used textual features and forms to shape meaning and influence her audience - Her knowledge on the daily struggles and conflicts that faced indigenous Australians are based on her research of Aboriginal fringe settlements in northern Victoria. - these experiences shape the way Harrison represents the notion of belonging in her play. Perceptions & Context- you must take into consideration Harrisons context and your own context to appreciate how Harrison interprets belonging and how you respond to to her perception of belonging. - are both interconnected as our perception of belonging is a product of our context. - experiences such as racism, along with our values, and attitudes affect our perception of belonging.
Background and Context Jane Harrison's Context – Jane Harrison draws on elements of her background, experiences and attitudes- her personal and cultural context, which contributed significantly in her play. – She is descended from the Muruwari people of NSW and lives in northern Victoria. – Harrison spend many hours at Rumbalara, an Aboriginal community also known as the Flats when researching her play. – She focused on three generations of Aboriginal women living in the flats in 1950's. – QUOTE from Author: “i was drawn to... the women who fought... to keep their families together house, feed, clothe, educate and above all, love and protect their children.(p121) – The settlements of the aboriginal community often experiences racism and ostracism and experienced severe deprivation of running water, sanitation and permanent buildings and were therefore vulnerable to bad weather, floods and sickness Rainbow's End Context: – actual historical events of the time provide a setting in the play: Queen Elizabeth II's visit in 1954, development of Rumbalara housing in 1950's.
She is still in the same dress. there is realism.there is more detail about the setting. They also create different images of life in the 1950's. Gladys is holding a bunch of weeds. There is a sense of hope and optimism by the end of the play. eg. such as the difficulties and challenged faced by the Dear family and broadens our awareness and understanding into their lives and living conditions.beginning of ACT II. were used to create a sense of the time and thematically contrast to the reality of the families' lives. is presenting a bouqet of flowers to the Queen. – Later in play. This radio quiz show can be seen as a symbol of importance.. eg act 1. Act II.builds up the emotional climax of the storm and flood. the town tip. scene 1.opens after the flood as the family surveys the devastation. Textual Features and Details Setting: – In opening scene. The short scenes gives us a brief glimpse into the lives and living conditions of Aboriginal communities such as the flats. the radio quiz show 'BP Pick-a-Box' and popular songs of the time.prosperity and commercialism that characterised some of Australia in the 1950's.– – – – There are many references in play about life in Australia in 1950's such as travelling salesmen. Voiceovers of 'BP Pick-a-Box' used as a recurring audio motif to reinforce the historical context. There are a number of dream sequences. 'BP Pick-a-Box' was hosted by Bob Dyer and his wife Dolly. was a very popular radio show and was later transfereed to television in1956. Instead of being formal. evoke images of happy families and an ideal life all a stark contrast to the realities of the life of for the Aboriginal settlement at the flats. Also it reinforces a sense of fate and not having any control over the future Popular songs from the 1950's are used to convey a sense of context. outside humpy. outside the Rumbalara housing and town halls. Textual Form and Structure – – – – – – – – – The structure is a series of short scenes divided into two Acts and 21 scenes with 8 different settings: interior of humpy. Act 1.which provide a powerful commentary on the contrast of ideas and reality. curtsying. eg (p126) – gladys. which are important in establishing the social and historical context of the play. Everything is saturated and muddy. which reinforces the challenged of life in these aboriginal communities and despair their experienced.uses stage directions to give instructions on how to play a specific scene and what the audience would expect to hear and see.. but the devastation has been wrought.where the characters. but also an ironic commentaries on the plight of the indigenous Australians of the time. song “Que Sera Sera (Whatever will be. the bank manager's office. The lights come back to reality. in contrast to the deprivations and despair of many indigenous communities. the queen pulls her into a hug.” . badly ripped and muddied. action and setting closely resemble the real world. The Popular songs of the time. the ball. It is IRONIC. joined to the post war. Stage directions. Gladys Banks and Dolly Banks were resigned(accept that something undesirable cant be avoided) to the floods and damage to their houses. will be)” sung by Doris Day. the riverside.both Americans . the stage directions are very important towards understanding the living conditions in these river settlements and how people such as Nan Dear. a visual representation of the props used to establish the different settings and the stage directions alerting us when there is a 'dream sequence'. (pg 176) “The water has drained away.
eg Nan comments on the royal wedding. Language: – Although it is a serious play. there is imagery of a pot of gold at the end of it and shows significance of the Rainbow Serpent in the indigenous dreaming. Dolly Banks and Errol Fisher. racism. yet be illiterate. – notions of cultural identity. act as representations of different community groups and are used essentially to demonstrate the attitudes of racism. mainstream society and the economic privileges associated with belonging .Characterisation: – Characterisation -is how composers present their characters. Gladys Banks. – Significance of plays title: Rainbow's End. In contrast to the outside world. eg the physical props like the encyclopaedias represent the tragic irony that people like Gladys can spend a huge amount of money on a full set of encyclopaedias. cultural dissolution and despair are all explored in this play. question and feel a sense discomfort about a attitudes and behaviour. – Stage directions also can be used to reveal more about characters and give the actors instructions on how to deliver their lines. (p125) – Symbols and recurring Motifs are used to highlight some of the issues and themes of the play. which occurred in many areas of white society. when we are presented with images of boys drinking near the cork trees. issues and ideas. rent collector. – the disparity between classes in Australia was even more marked between white and black communities. Ideas: – Rainbow's end contains examples of what it means to belong and to not belong. eg Nan Dear is the families Monarch and often the spokeswomen for the plight of the indigenous Australians. or worse. housing inspector. No good'll come of it. The Contrast Of Two Societies – the representation of prosperous Australian society in contrast to the reality of the indigenous deprivation is another confronting issue in the play.It is the english translation of Rumbalara. Papa Dear.Harrison adds elements of humour in her play through character such as Nan Dear. depends on the playwrights skills at characterisation in engaging the audience and allowing them to empathise with what is happening – Convincing characters are one of the vehicles for playwrights to present their themes. policeman. paternalism and ignorance. – secondary characters: the bank manager. and how family provides a sense of belonging in scene 2. – main characters: Nan Dear. she says: “They might be drinkers. but their still our people. – Nan dear challenges our notions of belonging as she challenged black and white characters as well as the audience to reflect. discrimination. funny in the head'. – Nan reinforces a need for belonging. which is invariably hostile and antagonistic. Family Relationships – Scene one : explores the concept of a spiritual identity with the land and with the natural elements through Nan as well as the spiritual dislocation that occurs when people are removed from their land. adding the conflict between the two worlds. These attitudes hindered Aboriginal communities from being accepted and feeling a sense of belonging in the broader Australian community. – the lack of opportunities to gain prosperity is part of the notion of not belonging and not being able to belong: it increases the alienation from white. alienation from white society. – The success of the play. 'Hmmp. Their children will be retarded or.
– At the end of the play there is a sense of hope and optimism. which is in stark contrast to life at the Flats.– – The character – Errol Fisher is used to further explore the economic disparity between the two societies. – . – eg When Dolly is seeking a paid job.” Racism – Racism is a barrier to belonging. There are many references in rainbows end that represent the notion of not belonging because of racism. Gladys. Education – Act 1. Harrison highlights how racism is destructive.“The aborigine needs to be absorbed into the community. scene 4.“she's good with figures”. For Dolly a 'real home is where there are people looking out for each other. as well as the patronising arrogance of the white officials represented by the rent collector. – Teenage pregnancy and rape are explores in scene 5.another obstacle prevents many indigenous Australians from gaining access to the benefits of society is the lack of education. Nan dear says “there never going to give her that job”. But how can he be absorbed until he learns to live like us?” – A government book policy of the time aimes at integrating Indigenous Australians into the white community which often resulted in them losing their cultural identity. Dolly however is more perceptive and streetwise than Errol and her comments about taking a wrong turn are insightful. Nan Dear.“a girl from the Flats? i dont even see the town Aboriginals working in stores (p144).Nan's words reveal her cynicism and realism and not fitting in or being able to succeed in the more prosperous white world Policy Of Assimilation – The visit by housing inspector introduces idea of assimilation. He represents the city and its lifestyle. He provocatively says. cruel and can act as a barrier to breaking the cycle of poverty.