An essay of the themes and issues underlying No Sugar
No Sugar challenges the prejudiced, negative stereotypes of Aborigines operating in a mainstream Australian society. Despite the Mullimurras' problems, they survive as a family with resourcefulness and dignity. Discuss this statement in relation to your reading of the play.
The 1920s and 30s was a time of deep prejudice against the Aboriginals. They were put through an experiment by the Chief Protector of Aboriginals at that time, Mr. Neville who was trying to "breed out the Aboriginals for their best purposes". Aboriginals were taken from their home land - they were displaced from their homes and taken to white settlements. In No Sugar, Jack Davis introduces the Millumurra family who reside in Northam and were then moved to the Moore River Native Settlement. No Sugar is a play that is hard-hitting and realistic. As the sergeant says in Act One Scene Two, "I know exactly what they're like" - the mindset of people who tend to label others into stereotypes. Jack Davis has thus chosen not to construct realistically perfect characters, but characters which instead fit - and challenge - some white stereotypes of Aboriginality. Gran represents the pre-colonial matriarch, the educator who ensures the continuation of the
However, the reader upon reflection realises that in almost every dialogue between the Mullimurras and the whites, humour is used to create meaning. In contrast to this bitter truth, it softens the tone by placing the audience in the shoes of an Aboriginal family and displays how this family does not emerge victor - but come to a quiet, dignified understanding and acceptance of their plight. This is accomplished in Act One Scene Three as the drunken Jimmy reveals the injustices he has suffered to his friend Frank. They were given the choice to either assimilate and die out, or live in a white society. Jack Davis, through juxtaposition of the artificial poumpous white nature in those...
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