Deadly Unna Friendship Essay Topics

Australian rules is set in a small rural town, where the relationships between the white townspeople and the Aboriginal people on the mission are complex, conflicted and marred by deeply entrenched racism. The local football team in many ways serves to represent the town, it reflects the conflicted relationship between the white people and the Aboriginal people- we begin to understand this as the film unfolds. Other themes inherent in the film are themes of family, love, loyalty and violence- the secrecy of domestic violence and the more overt forms of racial violence that spill out onto the public spheres of the football field and the pub.

The opening narration informs us that half the football team is Aboriginal and that there would not be a football team without the Aboriginal players, therefore we understand how the town team relies on the talent and number of the Aboriginal players. We then witness the contradiction of the white and Aboriginal boys playing side by side as team members followed by the social segregation between the members after the match. This segregation is highlighted by Blacky (a white boy from town) and Dumby (an Aboriginal boy who is the best player on the team) whose friendship transcends these borders and we also witness ways that this segregation between the white teenager and Aboriginal teenagers is culturally imposed by certain adults.

In one of the beginning scenes, just after a football match, Dumby and Blacky want to ‘hang out’ together, but Dumby is taken back to the mission by an older friend and Blacky cannot follow. Blacky, Clarence and Dumby all call out to each other ‘Nukkin ya’ and this use of Aboriginal language between two Aboriginal teenagers and Blacky the white boy signifies the level of their friendship and mutual

acceptance. Pickles’ comment to Blacky that ‘now he even talks like one’, symbolises the town’s disapproval of such respect for Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal people.

The character of Pretty, Dumby’s older friend from the mission, plays an important role in the film. He was once a talented football player himself but no longer ‘kicks goals for whitefellas’ and he is significant because he is the main character to verbalise that Aboriginal people are treated differently and unfairly. He is somewhat aggressive in his approach, expressing bitterness and resentment, yet it is implied that his approach is reactionary to the way he has been treated, and his statementsoverlooked by the white coach- are significant examples of changing responses to uneven power dynamics.

For example the white coach tells Dumby to make sure all the Aboriginal team players turn up to the next match and Pretty interjects stating that it doesn’t work that way anymore, his metaphor of ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir’, clearly refers to the history of Aboriginal people being used as servants and points out that the coach’s approach of ordering Dumby around is no longer appropriate. Unfortunately the coach does not take this message on and rather than acknowledging the Aboriginal boys as talented, valuable and indeed essential team players, he nervously treats them as unreliable boys who may destroy the team’s chances by not turning up.

This attitude of relying on Aboriginal talent, whilst refusing to appropriately acknowledge this talent is made explicitly clear during the award giving ceremony that takes place after the team win the finals. Pretty is made to leave the ceremony after he disputes the truth of a speech about the egalitarian nature of football ‘where

you can be anyone, from anywhere, and receive the recognition you deserve’. Pretty is immediately proved to be right when the awards are given only to white boys, and Dumby, who is obviously the most talented player on the team is left completely unacknowledged. There is a direct shift in Dumby’s response and he becomes more like Pretty, demonstrating anger and resentment, rather than his normal cheerful, co operative self. This gives us insight into Pretty’s character and how he may have developed the attitude that he has towards white people. Pretty and Dumby’s break-in to the pub that very night can be interpreted as a direct response to the unfairness of the award ceremony- although there are characters, such as the coach, who are not willing to see the connection. The fact that Dumby is then murdered by Blacky’s father is a complicated event with many layers of meaning. The insights we have been given about Blacky’s father prior to the shooting is that of a man who dominates his family, puts down his sons for showing vulnerability and who physically abuses his wife. There are instances in which we can see links between the violence he demonstrates towards his family and the verbal and physical violence he feels justified in displaying towards Dumby, and then later towards Dumby’s sister, Clarence. There is a scene in which the father physically attacks Blacky and forces Blacky to declare loyalty to him (regarding the shooting), meanwhile verbally abusing Clarence with racial slurs and ordering her to get out of his house. During this scene the camera pans onto the faces of the Blacky’s mother and siblings and we see how domestic and racial violence become enmeshed, that the father’s attack on Blacky for being with Clarence is an act of violence that hurts his whole family. Interestingly it is Clarence who is the least cowed in this scene, she does not show fear and walks out

with dignity. In this way we can see how control and domination is a particular pattern in this family, but is not taken on by Clarence.

In many ways, the shooting, and the following events, are catalysts for great changes, both in the town, and more specifically in Blacky’s family. Blacky rejects his parent’s demands to maintain loyalty to his father and instead Blacky remains loyal to his friendship with Dumby. Blacky’s rejection of his father’s authority instigates other members of the family, such as his mother and next youngest brother who subtly take Blacky’s side. The scene where his brother urges him to get up and face his father, (when his father beat him to the ground), symbolises the request of his family for Blacky to represent them all and challenge the father’s authority. The resolution of the film sees the father gone, leaving Clarence and Blacky happily together but planning to this town ‘that has nothing for them’. The fate of the town is not so happy, the boys from the mission won’t come to town and there is no longer a football team.

In many ways we can see how Australian rules reflects the complexities of human relationships- of love and loyalty and hatred and violence, and clearly demonstrates how deeply entrenched racism hurts everyone. The town, through its racism has destroyed the tentative trust of the Aboriginal people and has lost its ‘glory’- its winning football team. Its seems empty, a place only good for leaving.

"Deadly, Unna?" Important character Essay

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Joined: 11 Aug 2015
Posts: 6

Posted: 10 Nov 15 (18:04)    Post subject: "Deadly, Unna?" Important character Essay

Kia ora Habeebro,

Great essay and I have attached comments below.

Please post essays in the correct forum to avoid them getting missed and make it easier for other students to compare notes.

All the best for the exam.


Describe at least ONE character or individual in the written text(s) who was an important example to younger readers. Explain why this character was an important reader to young readers.

A character that readers can learn from in a text is always appreciated and often stands as an important example to young readers. Phillip Gwynne’s novel, ‘Deadly, Unna?’ tells the story of Gary ‘Blacky’ Black through first person narration. Although he is initially naive, he begins to develop sophistication and maturity in his thoughts and behaviour. He realises the town he once believed was wholly positive is in fact surreptitiously racially prejudice towards aboriginals and he begins to react towards this. Through his coming of age, he becomes a role model to not only his younger siblings, but also younger readers.

Gary Black plays lock for his local AFL team. To begin with, he has a relatively low esteem, is naive in many respects and even at times demonstrates a dislike for responsibility. “What if my best is not good enough?” he doubts himself near the start of the novel. Most significantly, he is blind to the racism and the nepotism his town displays and even joins in on the racist jokes. However, Gary begins to change his ways and starts to alter his mindset towards the aboriginals and appreciate that outward appearances do not always represent truthful inward realities. His loathe of responsibility changes when he realises that “Maybe ‘they’ are too busy” This implies that the white townsfolk who can change the town's racist ways are not actually busy but instead do not want to change as the situation as it is suits them. He takes matters into his own hands which allows him to first comprehend, and then most importantly for readers, exemplify the lessons that he has. Younger readers are able to benefit the most by these lessons.

Gary Black is an important example to younger readers for many reasons. One reason is that he displays the lessons he has learned first hand in the story. Gary’s main turning point comes when begins to not only see the racism his town displays but also react to it – the AFL awards night. During the ceremony, Mark ‘Arks’ is awarded Best on Ground when Dumby Red, an aboriginal, was clearly the star player. Gary reacts to this emphatically exclaiming “Mark Arks getting B.O.G. It’s bullshit. That’s Dumby’s trophy.” We as readers see that Gary has discovered his town’s nepotism and is considerably upset about this. This is significant to younger readers and it shows that no matter your age, you can comprehend both overt and subtle wrongdoings and thereafter even oppose your towns ideologies if they are indeed wrong. Later on in the night, Gary makes this even more apparent and ‘dobs’ the trophy he received, yelling “Youse can stick your footy...up your *****.” This reveals that Gary is aware of the racial prejudice of his town and is even willing to give footy, a sport he enjoys, up for racial equality. Even though this is a fictitious novel, readers can apply what Gary has learnt in their own lives by standing up to negative ideologies. Situations like bullying in school due to racial backgrounds would not be an unheard of example.

Gary is especially important to younger readers because he teaches them how to develop an ideology that opposes racism. Gary progressively beings to understand that he can set himself apart from his town’s mentality despite this seeming a daunting and difficult prospect. An example when this is conveyed to us, is when Big Mac, a bartender, tells a racist joke. “Did ya hear the one about the boong and the priest?”. This shows the mentality of a racist individual that calls aboriginals ‘boongs’ in a disrespectful manner. Gary then narrates “And they all laughed… but I didn’t. I don’t know why. I had laughed before… I knew it had to do with Dumby, Clarence and Tommy Red.” This signals to readers a developing ideology of opposing the close-minded dogma of his friends both casual and overt racism. His behaviour teaches younger readers that, no matter what, you can oppose wrongdoing even if it seems insignificant (which it often is not). If Gary can learn that what he was doing at the beginning of the story was wrong and even change his ways for the better, then there is hope that younger readers can implement a similar change in our world as well. This is quite significant to people of a younger audience as they can be taught about the evolution that Gary went through and by mimicking his development in our society better enrich the world we live in.

Another reason why Gary is important to younger readers is that he shows bravery in opposing his towns racism which was an intimidating institution to face up to. An example of this is when Gary wants to paint over a racial slur on the jetty wall in his town that reads “BOONGS PISS OFF”. He lacks the paint to do so, so he purloins it from his father. However, he is caught in the act by his dad Bob Black and openly tells his father the intended purpose for the paint. His father reacts explicitly shouting “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR … MIND?!” This shows the mentality of an adult who encourages racism. Gwynne uses this section in the novel to contrast Gary and his father to display that Gary is able to be more morally upright than an adult. His bravery is further shown when he is asked to put the paint back to which he replies “I can’t put it back.”This is a prime example to younger readers that bravery when combined with doing what it right can triumph over negative ideologies. This is something that should be appreciated in our society. Younger readers are influenced by the important qualities Gary shows and come to understand that age does not matter when choosing between doing right or wrong. They too can be morally upright like Gary.

Phillip Gwynne clearly conveys the importance of Gary as a character to young readers. His writing teaches them several important worldly lessons through the different morals and lessons that Gary comes to learn. ‘Blacky’ s’ character allows readers to see what maturity and sophistication is: making the right choices even when there is an easier but wrongful pathway. Gwynne's prime purpose in characterising Gary as he has is also to influence the younger readers and teach them to oppose racial prejudice and nepotism.

Looking for some feedback on this to ensure my essay is fine for the exam
 Topic: "Deadly, Unna?" Important character Essay

Joined: 11 Aug 2015
Posts: 6

Posted: 11 Nov 15 (23:46)    Post subject: Thanks!

Thanks for the feedback! I'll make a few changes to shorten it a bit. I have tried publishing this and I got it done in 1 hr. I am quite a fast writer and I should be able to do this in the allotted time.

Thanks again
 Topic: "Deadly, Unna?" Important character Essay
Expert Teacher

Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 942

Posted: 11 Nov 15 (23:51)    Post subject:

That's great to hear! You must be speedy! Please can you post on the threads for written text and visual text next time? We have threads for Visual Text and Written Text so that all essays/paragraphs are collected in one place, partly for ease of organisation, and also to help you see what other students are writing about, too, for comparison. Keep up the awesome effort ! Ka kite, ET6
 Topic: "Deadly, Unna?" Important character Essay
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