Although fiction texts are simply narratives, they can also reflect a particular time and place. The novel Jasper Jones written by Craig Silvey follows the character of Charlie, the thirteen year old protagonist, who is forced to rethink his traditional notions of right and wrong, through his friendship with Jasper Jones. The novel highlights Australia’s attitudes towards foreigners and Indigenous people. The small country town held strong beliefs about the value of sport but also the lack of education.
Jasper Jones is marginalised in society due to his indigenous background causing him to be the first to be blamed for any matters of trouble. In the novel Jasper Jones written by Craig Silvey the dominant beliefs of society and racist attitudes towards indigenous people are reflected. ‘He’s the first to be blamed for all manner of trouble.’ As Jasper is indigenous he is being stereotyped as being a troublemaker. This puts the reader in a position to picture him as exactly that and might cause Jasper to act up like that.
The readers consider Jasper to be questionable and unreliable. The town’s pre judgements of Jasper and his bad reputation cause him to be blamed for crimes he often does not commit. ‘Jasper jones is right. Of course this town will blame him.’ Through Charlie’s narrative point of view we are given an insight in to what his thoughts on this issue are. Of course the town will immediately assume the death of Laura was him. Jasper is being judged unfairly. Readers are put in a position to understand the town are hypocritical and judgemental of Jasper even though he has done nothing wrong. The town hold these assumptions based on his Indigenous background.
The white dominated small country town in Australia highlights the lack of value placed on multiculturalism as shown through the treatment of the Lu family. In the novel Jasper Jones written by Craig Silvey the mistreatment of foreign cultures is evident in Australia 1960’s. ‘But Sue Findlay hadn’t finished. Jabbing her finger, she screeched the most horrible words, the nastiest things imaginable, her voice uneven with tears, her eyes crazy.’ During the time the book was published the Vietnam was happening and many Australians had been sent over to fight. Sue Findlay has been used as a representative of the town as Mrs Lu is picked on and marginalised by the town.
Sue is blaming Mrs Lu for the conscription of her son in the Vietnam War, as she was Vietnamese. It focuses on the issues of racism present in Australia society during the 1960’s. ‘I can hear them shouting: Red rat! Fucking red rat!’ These extremely racist and derogatory comments made about the Lu family reflect the racists attitudes held by the citizens of Australian during the 1960’s.the towns’ people were very abusive and did not accept any success associated with the Lu family very well. It clearly shows their lack of value placed on multiculturalism and respect towards others. Australia had a very critical attitude towards foreigners.
The small Australian country town represents the dominant beliefs of 1950’s Australia regarding masculinity and sporting ability. In the novel Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey highlights the social issues associated with sport and culture. Charlies’ lack of sporting ability makes him a minority and highlights the value of being good at sport and also the lack of value towards academic achievement. ‘I’m lousy at sport, and better than most at school, which garners me only ire in the classroom and resentment when report cards are issued.’ Charlie is picked on at school merely for his intelligence.
Charlie receives goods grades and is intellectual rather than athletic. In the town of Corrigan where sporting ability is highly valued he is somewhat viewed as an outsider. Sport is the social currency. Their hierarchy based on their skill with a ball. ‘They’ll surround him and scruff at his hair in celebration, they’ll applaud and pat his arse, but once the game is over, the pattern returns.’ Jasper although is looked down upon due to his Indigenous background is viewed as any other normal person during a game of football. It is evident that in the Australian 1960’s, the society held the value of sport higher rather than their views on Jasper and his background and their racist attitudes.
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