Questions & Answers
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