Discovering your own individuality, finding oneself, is simply a discovery that is found through the journey of life. Jane Harrison produced the contemporary play Rainbows End. Set during the 1950’s on the river ‘flats’ between the towns of Shepparton and Mooroopna, Victoria, Harrison shows how discovery has been altered by the past experiences of the three Aboriginal women, Nan Dear, Gladys and Dolly. The family portrays a sense of ‘loyalty, love and support for both, each other and the wider Aboriginal community.’ A sense of self-discovery is important within their culture as they are isolated and left out of the white society. Harrison uses a variety of techniques to explore the concept of discovery within the lives of the Dear family.
– Nan represents ‘the old ways’. She is the voice for traditional Aboriginal customs and beliefs. – The door is a dual metaphor, as it represents what restricts us as well as a doorway for new prospects. It also implores readers to take a chance and change as a result of exposing themselves to the outside world. The italicised word ‘maybe’ however, cautions individuals that change may be challenging. It also suggests that what lies beyond the door will be different to everyone. – Cultural Narrative = ‘They forced us to leave, forced us to leave cummeragunja. our home’
– Gladys represents passive Aboriginal discontent. She wants to be part of white society and will not act against it to bring change for her people – The door symbolises new opportunities and emphasises that individuals need to take action to expand their horizons. The repetition of the imperative command, ‘Go and open the door’. This makes the reader consider what the opened door would reveal to us – Metaphor = “That valve, where’s my white gloves” > It reinforces the status of difference between the aboriginals and the white community. Gladys feels as if she’s not accepted in the community, therefore she’s finding it hard to discover her own identity, this is an essential part of discovery.
– Dolly is spiritually connected to place and family, she’s unwilling to give these up for Errol. – The repeated command (or imperative) creates an emphatic tone that implores the reader to take a chance, to choose to leave their “comfort zones”, their present state and to take on the world outside and possibly change as a result. – Motif = ‘Que Sera Sera’: Translation: ‘whatever will be will be.’
Nan Dear – accepts her difference from white society. She chooses not to belong. Gladys – initially represents Aboriginal acceptance of assimilation. She seeks to belong to white society. All her dreams for acceptance are now tied in with Dolly. Dolly – is proud of her Aboriginality but is increasingly aware of the differences that separate her from white society.
Protection of culture, spirituality and family
– Nan Dear refusing to call the queen “My Queen”
– Relates to protection of culture.
Nan Dear: “ They forced us to leave. Forced us to leave Cummeragunja. Our home”
Segregation – Gladys
“A Black contestant? I’d like to see that!” Pg. 130
This is when Gladys has been answering all the question right on a TV show ‘pick a box’, Dolly says that she should go on it but Nan Dear reminds them of their colour.
Courtney from Study Moose
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