We Look After Our Own by Kath Walker: A Summary

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Writing, Indigenous Australian languages Pages: 2 (355 words) Published: February 26, 2013
We Look after our own starting essay outline
Introduction: The short story ‘We Look After our Own’ by Kath Walker highlights the cause and effect of European settlement on Indigenous Australians. The writer manipulates the reader’s response to the main ideas in the text through the language and narrative conventions of point of view, tone, atmosphere, imagery, setting, characterisation and conflict. What to put in the introduction: Title, writer’s name, list the main ideas, identify the language and narrative conventions.

Paragraph 2: The writer makes us aware of the contribution made by Indigenous Australians in the development of Australia’s rural sector. In the text aboriginal Australians are represented as hard working, supportive of their families and living in limited circumstances. An old man is too weak to be looked after by his daughter consequently she attempts to find him some respite in a Christian run hospital as he is close to death. The patient is refused admission due to his cultural identity. A nun asks the old man’s daughter: ‘Is your father lighter or darker than you?’ Despite the old man’s hard work in developing the rural areas of Australia he is denied health care at the end of his life. We are positioned to reject the nun’s value system, as we believe that everyone is entitled to health care irrespective of culture, race or class. Conventions: The writer uses the narrative conventions of setting, characters and conflict to demonstrate racist ideologies within Australian society in the text’s historical context, 20th century Australia. It is clear to me that the writer objects to the impact Europeans had on aboriginal Australians. Personally, I cannot imagine how anyone could live without running hot and cold water.

Note: Do not use the pronoun ‘you’ in essays. It is better to use collective pronouns ‘we’ and ‘us.’

Paragraph 3 Idea: In the text the writer is critical of racist religious ideologies.

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