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English Essay

By elliegraves Nov 02, 2014 1246 Words
society due to cultural ignorance and the belief that ones status is superior to others. The first novel that will be discussed in this essay is Harper Lees award winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humour, despite dealing with serious issues of rape and racial inequality. Racial discrimination is a prevalent theme throughout the novel, as shown when an innocent coloured man is automatically presumed guilty, even though the women who is claiming these atrocities is considered to be ill repute. Harper Lee challenges the audience to question our own ideologies and demonstrate how innocence is destroyed by evil, which is portrayed through the mockingbird symbol. Does My Head Look Big in this by Randa Abdel- Fatta is the second novel that will be analysed throughout the essay. The novel is written through a young Muslim woman perspective, who struggles daily with the common misconception that Muslims are given and questions why different cultures are stereotyped and discriminated. Randa Abdel- Fatta allows readers to enter the world of an average Muslim teenage girl and see past the headlines and stereotypes- to realise that Amal experiences the same dramas and challenges that non- Muslim adolescents do, (Randa Abdel-Fattah 2009). The last piece of text that will be analysed, is a poem called Dark Unmarried Mothers by Oodgeroo Noonuccal. The poem explores unjustified violence that white men inflict on dark women, and indicts Australian society for its racial discrimination. The poem takes on aspects of human life that are considered the domain of political ideology, and subjects it to a stronger humanist position, giving dark women around the world a voice. Racial discrimination and ethnocentrism is a ubiquitous theme throughout all text, in particular To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on racism through the segregation of black vs white cultures, during the 1960s until the late 1970s. Throughout Harper Lees novel, racial discrimination is narrated through the eyes of an eight year old girl named Scout. As the audience is looking through the eyes of an innocent child, readers are forced to lose any lack of objectivity and are confronted with the harsh reality of racial inequality. Lee uses Scout to observe discrimination between the adults around her with a temper that enables her to scrutinize how the world works. The maturity of Scout throughout the novel is evident, especially towards the end, during Tom Robinson trail. This is exemplified in Chapter 26, when Scout questions Jem about Adolf Hitler persecuting the Jews in Germany due to dictatorship. Miss gates her teacher, openly expresses her hate against Hitler and believes that persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. Coming out of the court house that night Miss Gates was- she was going down the steps in front of us, you musta not seen her- see was talking to Miss Stephanie Crawford. I heard her say its time somebody taught em a lesson, they were getting way above themselves an the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home- (Lee, 1960 p. 268) This quote demonstrates the level of innocence with which Scout approaches certain situations. She scrutinizes everyone around her as she does not understand adult ideologies. Harper Lee positions the audience to consider double hypocrisy of our own beliefs, which are due to cultural ignorance and the belief that ones culture is more superior to others. In Randa Abdel Fattas Does my Head Look Big in This, marginalization of Muslim Cultures is a major theme throughout the novel. Concepts such as ethnocentrism and racial discrimination are explored, positioning the audience to consider our own ignorance and see the world through an average Muslim teenage girl. Unlike to Kill a Mockingbird, the book is based on contemporary times which help the audience connect with characters who are not the same as us. Randa Abdel Fatta comments on ethnocentrism between two cultures through Amal by demonstrating the idea of assimilation and creating the attitude that we are all different, but equal. We live in Australia, hed say. So we should assimilate and act like Australians. How can we be accepted and fit in if were still thinking about Palestine and talking Arabic Multiculturalism is a joke. We need to mix more. Make friends outside our own community. Look at my family. Were not stuck in Palestine or Egyptian or Turkish ghettos. Were part of a wider community. Our friends, our colleagues, theyre all average Australians, not wogs, (Abdel- Fatta, 2005 p. 176). By describing Uncle Joes attitude about his culture, the audience is made to feel awkward, this is due to the confrontation of other cultures and the influence in which we are being positioned to consider our own perspectives critically and seek cultural knowledge, instead of creating a typical stereotype that does not deem true. Throughout the novel, assimilation is used to demonstrate ethnocentrism and racial discrimination which different cultures, in specifically Muslim communities are forced to live with even in todays modern society. Dark unmarried mothers, is a power poem on racial discrimination by Oodgeroo Noonuccal. The audience is positioned to take on a strong humanist position which questions political ideologies, giving marginalised women a voice. The poem implies that certain rules apply to some cultural groups however they do not to others. Throughout the poem, Oodgeroo Noonuccal explains racial discrimination by reinforcing the attitude which is, the raping of aboriginal women by white men is considered a normal occurrence and nothing will ever be done about it. Societies are indicted for its racist, sexist actions and words, which explains the quote, to challenge the accepted, whilst disturbing the established, (Noonuccal, 1990). The audience is challenged to question racial discrimination when the author describes the social acceptance of raping an aboriginal woman Consent Even with Consent It is still seduction. Is it a white girl Then court case and headline Stern talk of maintenance. Is it a dark girl Then safe immunity He takes what he wants And walks off like a dog, (Noonunccal, 1990 l. 17- 24). Oodgeroo Noonuccal, shares the voices of unheard women around Australia, which have been a victim of marginalisation in society. The acceptance of rape is used to demonstrate and explore racial discrimination, which is faced by Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. Marginalisation is explored and analysed throughout the texts Does My Head Look Big in This, To Kill a Mockingbird and Dark Unmarried Mothers. The authors use racial discrimination, in particular ethnocentrism, as a major theme throughout the texts. This is due to the dominant presence in todays society due to cultural ignorance and the belief that ones status is more superior to others. This makes the audience question our own ideologies and seek further cultural knowledge. Bibliography Fatta, A. R. (2005). Does My Head Look Big in This. Sydney Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd. Lee, H. (2000). To Kill a Mockingbird. London Vintage. Noonuccal, O. (1990). Dark Unmarried Mothers. Retrieved November 16, 2013, from Poetry Library http// Standing on the Outside Looking In2013 PAGE MERGEFORMAT 4 Y, dXiJ(x( I_TS 1EZBmU/xYy5g/GMGeD3Vqq8K)fw9 xrxwrTZaGy8IjbRcXI

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