Deadly Unna

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‘Dumby Red and Blacky don’t have a lot in common. But they’re friends.’

In Phillip Gwynne’s novel, Deadly, Unna? the main character, Blacky, encounters many different kinds of friendships. His friendship with Dumby Red and his interactions with girls in particular with Clarence and Cathy change and progress through out the novel, and he learns the importance of relationships and friendships.

Dumby Red and Blacky differ in more ways then they are similar, ‘but they’re friends’. Blacky was always ‘jealous of Dumby.’ His teeth were ‘perfect’ (p 21), and he was better at footy than Blacky. Within hours of meeting him Dumby Red was already ‘starting to annoy’ Blacky (p24). Despite all of these differences, and the jealously that consumed Blacky, they still ended up being close friends. Blacky stopped ‘hating Dumby’s guts’ (p 30) because Dumby stood up for Blacky when no one else would. Their friendship blossomed because of this and it helped Blacky to see that racism is wrong, and that the only difference between a ‘nunga’ and a ‘goonya’ is the colour of their skin.

Clarence’s relationship with Blacky does mean a lot to him. Blacky really cares about Clarence and what she thinks of him. ‘I wanted to impress Clarence.’ (p 144). Blacky is accepted by Clarence and she respects his this is evident through Clarence and Blacky saying “Nukkin Ya.’ to each other. Blacky becomes a better person through knowing Clarence; he cares about her feelings and what people say about nungas. Blacky gains the confidence to rub out the graffiti ‘ BOONGS PISS OFF’ because it is what Blacky believes is the right thing to do.

Blacky first meets Cathy and gets ‘smitten’ (p 147). Blacky thinks that Cathy is ‘absolute perfection.’ (p 165), and he ‘couldn’t stop thinking about her.’ (p 165). He gets so caught up in how beautiful Cathy is, that he forgets about the people he really cares about. He denies knowing Clarence because he cares about what Cathy might think of him, then...
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