1. Describe the impression you form of Gary Black (Blacky) in the first 4 to 5 chapters of the novel. I get the impression that Blacky has a shy, quiet personality and tends to keep his thoughts to himself. He seems curious because he asks a lot of questions and also anxious because he over thinks situations. 2. Blacky’s community is literally divided into two halves; those who live in The Port and those who live at The Point. Make a list of the features of the town that you think represent life there and explain reasons for choosing them. Blacky’s community is a small, run down town with little to do and almost everyone knows each other. The Port is a sleepy coastal town. In winter, the only action in town is the local football competition and in summer the action revolves around the beach and the interest provided by the annual campers.
3. Gary grows increasingly anxious as his football team’s Grand Final draws near. Discuss the reasons why Gary is so stressed at this time. Gary is stressed about the Grand Final because he is playing as the first ruck and he isn’t an overly talented football player. He has to play against the Thumper on the other team and that scares him because the Thumper is very intimidating and could badly injure him if he tries to stop him from getting a goal. Blacky also doesn’t want to be known as a ‘gutless wonder’ and that puts pressure on him to do well. 4. Gary is something of the ‘team hero’ at the end of the Grand Final and is acknowledged with the club’s ‘Best Team Man’ award for the season. Gary appears a little uncomfortable with this recognition, why? Gary is uncomfortable about being awarded the ‘Best Team Man’ award because his brother has won that award every season, hence why that is his nickname. Blacky was also uncomfortable with the award because it didn’t intend to get in the way of the Thumper, but that’s not what everyone thought.
5. It is obvious that the issue of racism is a significant theme in Deadly Unna. Choose four scenes/events/quotes from the text that you feel serve as evidence of the racism that exists in the community and provide a brief explanation of the reason/s why you chose each one. Be sure to include a chapter and page reference for each of your examples. Even though the Point was only half an hour’s drive for the Port, the two towns didn’t have much to do with one another except for football. A more subtle sign of racism in the novel is how the Nungas use one side of the change rooms and the Goonyas use the other, not by force, but because that’s just the way it was. If racism didn’t exist, the Nungas and the Goonyas would be able to use the change rooms together without feeling uncomfortable or as if they were two different groups. ‘BOONGS PISS OFF’ was carved into the shed. Whoever wrote this is obviously showing racism, but Gary also participated in the racist comment by not scratching it out when he had seen it, when he usually scratches out things he finds offensive to people.
When Gary and Clarence were at the jetty, Gary bumped into Darcy and had a conversation. During this, Darcy said to Gary, “Just a word of advice from an old bugger who’s seen a thing or two in his day. You be careful of these gins now, lad. Nice girls, but they’ve all got the clap. Every last one of ‘em.” Darcy was being racist by generalizing the female aboriginals, not taking into perspective that he did not know all of them personally. At the pub, Mac told a joke to his customers, “Did ya hear the one about the boong and the priest?” He continues the joke by saying, “And the priest says to the truckie, don’t worry I got the black bastard with the door!” Although this action isn’t as racist as telling a joke like that directly to an Aboriginal, but it is still of ignorance and racism. Also when everybody laughs at the joke except for Gary, who usually does, but didn’t because of Dumby, Clarence and Tommy. He had gotten to know them and realized that racism is wrong.
6. Bob Black frequently describes Gary as being a gutless wonder. There is some suggestion that Gary agrees with this assessment at the start of the novel; do you still think that he is a gutless wonder by the end of the story? Make a list of the key stepping-stones (events) in the story that you think illustrate (show) Gary’s transformation from being a gutless wonder to a brave, independent young man. Choose two stepping-stones from your list and discuss why you think they are important. I think at the end of the story Gary develops a lot more courage and independent. I believe he became this way by winning the Grand Final for his team and becoming appreciated more by his peers, flirting with that female camper Cathy and going against his father’s wishes and going to Dumby Red’s funeral. I chose the Grand Final because I think winning a medal and being congratulated by many people made Gary develop more confidence in his self. I also chose when he went to Dumby’s funeral because even though he wasn’t allowed to, he organised everything and took the risk of getting caught and facing the consequences to participate in the funeral. I think this gave him more courage and to do what he believed was right and to value his own opinion.
7. Which relationship do you think has the most influence on Gary as a person? Why? I think the relationship between Gary and Dumby Red influenced him the most because he changed Blacky’s views on racism and taught him to accept and understand the Aboriginal culture and realise how racist and judgmental people can be in society. 8. At what point in the story do you think Gary starts acting independently? That is, he starts making his own decisions rather than being influenced by his opinions and wishes of other. Explain your answer. I think the most significant part of the story when Gary becomes independent is when he makes the decision to sneak out and go to Dumby Red’s funeral. 9. “Deadly Unna is the story of a young man’s quest to discover who he really is and what he believes in.” Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. I agree with this statement because at the start of the novel Gary is a nervous teenager and by the end of the novel he makes and ends relationships, learns new morals and values through different people, trusts himself to make his own decisions and becomes more independent, courageous and develops a more defined, unique personality of his own.
10. Most of the adult characters in Deadly Unna seem to be flawed in some way. Which of the adult characters do you consider to be the most deserving of praise? Why? I think Dumby Red’s father deserved the most praise because he was always kind to the community and showed good manners to everyone unlike most of the adults in the novel. After his son was killed, he showed no anger towards Blacky when he showed up for the funeral, even though it would be difficult to show any sympathy to someone who lives in the Port because of the racism and the obvious reason that his son was killed there.
11. When Blacky and his brothers and sisters paint over the racist slur at the shed he remarks; “It was gone. Not forever, but for tonight anyway.” Why was he so intent on removing the graffiti when he knows that someone is likely to write it again? I think he was intent on removing the graffiti because even though someone would write it again one day, he made a difference that night and took a stand against racism with his siblings. If a small group of people can change their view on racism, there is hope that more and more people can. Also because he would have felt proud of his self and his family.
Courtney from Study Moose
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