In the case of the arrest of Derby Boxer, even the police were discriminative and prejudiced, like Constable O’Neil giving evidence by making Derby sign a false statement admitting guilt in his ‘supposed’ confession of a sexual assault on a teenage girl. Mr Killian even dismisses Michael Penrose’s argument that Derby Boxer could not have signed the statement in educated English, as he could only speak basic English.
In addition, the novel explores the ignorant and arrogant kind of racial discrimination and the inherent racial prejudice of Carl Venning, Major Morrissey, Lester and Olive Webb towards the aboriginal people revealed by Hartley on the nature of racism inflicted on servants and aboriginal community as a whole, “Your black fellow can’t make ethical or moral distinctions” (Page. 73), “Your Abo is unreliable… He’ll collaborate. He’ll guide the Japs through the bush” (page. 76) and “You won’t find this written down anywhere, but if the Abos caused trouble we can shoot them. No questions asked” (Page. 78). However, Aborigines aren’t the only race discriminated through prejudice by the white majority of Australians in the 1940s, but also the Asian population.
The racial prejudice in the novel is bitterly directed towards Asians like the one directed towards Mitsy by Hart’s mum (Ida Penrose) with a dismissive attitude. “I think its time you went home don’t you?” (Page.19). Ida is a racist in that regard, and is very dismissive and rude to Mitsy.
The author explores the nature of these racist elements being not just confined to ignorance, arrogance and fear of anyone that is different, but also the changes that occur to people with a sense of