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“Deadly Unna” by Phillip Gwynne Essay

The novel, Deadly Unna, written by Phillip Gwynne tells the story of the multicultural bond between the Aboriginal up and coming football player Dumby Red and his loyal Australian mate Gary (Blacky) Black. There are many issues explored in the novel, such as family, domestic violence and above all, racism. Moreover, the novel demonstrates the issue of family. The Black family is portrayed as very dysfunctional. The reader understands from early on in the novel that Garry Black’s father is an unreasonable, irresponsible and violent father. Blacky demonstrates to the reader of his dad’s lack of support, when he says, “For a start I was always I bed when he (his dad) came home” (page 54). This insinuates that Blacky’s dad always come home late because he is too busy getting drunk at the pub. Consequently, due to Blacky’s dad’s absence, his mother is left to provide and play a big part in Blacky’s life. Consequently, Blacky’s family is faced with the problem of domestic violence.

This makes the quality of living for the Black family low. “He chucked me out the of the wheelhouse, that’s how I got this” as Team-man pointed to his lip. He had been hit after his father after he turned the boat around due to his father falling asleep. The fear of being hit or beaten by their dad is not healthy at all. It all slowly builds up between all the siblings and eventually they crack and Team-man tries to kill him. The issue of Domestic violence is shown multiple times throughout this novel. Racism is very evident in this book. Being in a town like Blacky, where there is a vast spread of both whites and Aboriginies, he finds it hard too not judge them based on the stereotypes he has heard from other generations.

The town is divided and usually both cultures do not mix. The Aboriginies live in the point and the whites live in the port. If an Aborigine or white are found in each other’s territory they are usually despised upon. At the pub the Whites and Aboriginals are separated and do not bond together. A tin shed down the point has clearly written in Graffiti ‘boongs piss off’ which is very racist and could’ve easily offended some of the Aboriginals. Also when Dumby dies the whites say ‘’it doesn’t matter’’ which is very disrespectful. This shows that problems involving racism and cultural indifferences in the book are so serious that they still occur in our day and age.

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