1. Prologue: Aftermath
a) Describe the tone of the opening scene and describe the three women based upon their actions and attitudes in this scene.
The tone of the opening scene is dull as they are cleaning up after a flood. The weather is described as ‘gloomy’, which gives the reader an idea of how the three women must be feeling. Nan Dear and Dolly are showing their feelings whereas Gladys is trying to lighten the mood and look at the bright side to cheer all three of them up.
2. Scene 1 (A): The Queen’s Visit
a) Discuss the contrast in this scene between Gladys’ fixation on going to town to see the Queen and Nan’s revelations about her history. What do we find out about Nan’s history? Why do you think her family was forced to leave Cummaragunja on the Murray River? Why do you think that Jane Harrison is using this contrast?
In this scene, Gladys reveals her ‘dreamer’ side as she drifts in and out of thoughts about meeting the Queen whereas Nan Dear shows her ‘closed minded’ side as she constantly reminds them throughout the scene of reality through the revelation of her history. We find out that Nan Dear was born on the Murray River and was forced to leave due to the difference between the importance of the ‘white’ and Aboriginal races at the time in that area. Jane Harrison is using this contrast to show the reader how much of an impact that time was and to educate the reader of the thoughts and feelings of those who were put through those circumstances.
3. Scene 1 (B)
a) How is the hessian used in this scene and what is it symbolic of?
The hessian is used to cover up the damage of their ‘humpy’ from the floods, which is symbolic of the ‘white’ race covering up the damage they had done to the Aboriginal population, as hessian is not completely secure, it is a weak fabric.
4. Scene 2 (A): Oh, Errol
a) What is the significance of Gladys’ success when answering the Pick-A-Box questions?
Gladys’ success in answering the trivial questions signifies her intelligence and understanding.
5. Scene 2 (B):
a) Why is Nan so suspicious of Errol and the encyclopedias?
Nan is suspicious because very rarely would a ‘whitefella’ come around offering service to their population. She is suspicious because she may feel that this is a scam on her family, taking their hard earned ‘picking money’.
6. Scene 3: Lino
a) Errol suggests Dolly come to the city to work. Why would this be difficult for her? This would be difficult for Dolly because of her strong connection to the land and family she belongs to. She would not want to leave them.
b) How does this scene develop the concept of belonging in the play? This scene develops the concept of belonging in the play as it shows how they would value the feeling of belonging to the point where they would not make a change that would probably be better for them in the long run to maintain that feeling of belonging.
7. Scene 4: House of Biba
a) How do the different attitudes of the characters in this scene reflect their different experiences? Due to the absence of Papa Dear and the understanding that Dolly would not receive a job because of her living situations, the attitudes in this scene are quite dull and defeated. This shows their different experiences as Gladys and Nan Dear have found out the hard way about finding work and it shows all three of their endurance through Papa Dear’s absence.
8. Scene 5: The Delivery
a) How is Errol’s naivety of racial differences shown?
Errol seems really unaware of the living differences between the two populations. He shows this by assuming when offered a ‘cuppa’ that they could afford coffee, not tea.
9. Scene 6: The Inspector
a) What historical event is being referenced in this scene?
The Stolen Generation is being referenced in this scene.
b) How does it reflect concepts of assimilation at the time? It shows how the ‘white’ population ruled over the Aboriginal population.
10. Scene 7: The Turn
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