Racism in the Shifting Heart and the Kite Runner

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How might a literary work be read out of its time and place and still represent and produce culturally significant ideas and attitudes? Refer to two texts you have studied. BY GEORGIA-MAE O’BRIEN
Racism is the discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards members of another race. As Australians we have witnessed firsthand the devastation that comes along with racism and degradation of people, that being the oppression of the Aboriginal people in our society and to a lesser extent, that of the Italian and Asian migrants after World War 2. Our history is riddled with numerous accounts of racist behaviour and our literature reflects as much, racism is evident not only in our history but in our present time, the message portrayed through both present and past literature is that racism is not something that needs to happen and is therefore unnecessary. Other cultures also have examples of racism and degradation in their pasts and literature. The message transcends cultural barriers and is relevant out of its original context. The Shifting Heart by Richard Beynon and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini are two texts which come from not only different time periods but also different cultures, but still presents an insight into the psychology of racism and its victims and that the use of racist oppression and degradation is unnecessary and bears a negative effect on both the people and the society which it stems from. The Shifting Heart by Richard Beynon focuses on the oppression of Italian immigrants in Australia, in the 1950s after the end of World War Two. Focusing on that of a family who wish to integrate into Australian society, it seems as though the society they wish to integrate into is mostly unaccepting of them. The two fences are representative of the two sides of the society they are integrating into, one side is completely closed off – the fence with the barbed wire – and shows that some parts of the society will never change and never accept people of a...
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