On the exterior it seems that Dougy, the book, is all about racism. However when you delve further into Dougy, many other strong messages come across. Some that stand out are finding yourself, appreciating what we have and, most strongly, having an open mind.
At the beginning Dougy, the boy, is timid, unsure of his life and seems to be in everyone’s shadow. Whilst being trapped in the hall with the floodwaters rising- Dougy comes out of his shell and comes to the rescue. His brave efforts probably save the lives of Gracey and Raymond. These events bring out the best in Dougy and he gains confidence in being able to achieve his dreams. He did, indeed, find himself and this made him, “bloody lucky.”
Do you take things for granted? Dougy showed us that there are so many people out there, to who a new car sparks a cry of delight. Yet do we even blink an eyelid, when we see a new Commodore drive past? Oh no, it’s just another car. These feelings don’t just apply to cars, too- but too everything. We really need to appreciate what we have, not be greedy and just be happy with what we have- so many others aren’t as fortunate as you or me. This message comes out clearly, especially when the family goes to Brisbane.
A lot of trouble brews in Dougy from not having an open mind and accepting the opinions and views of others. As you read the book, you will also see the influence that others can have on our feelings. Pay attention to the changed attitudes of the children to Gracey, after their parents have talked to them.
James Moloney puts very different personalities into his characters and shows us the different types of people in this world. There are the understanding people, who will listen to both sides of an argument and follow their hearts and minds- shown by Brett. Then there are the obstinate people, who’s views will never change and they will keep on hurting people- shown by Cooper and Co. There are the people who really believe in themselves and won’t let other people get to them- shown by Gracey. There are those who don’t care what others think and can be kind of scary- like Dougy’s Mum. And then there are those people who need something to wake them up to their lives and give them a little push; to realise their potential and to work towards their dreams- this is just like Dougy.
James Moloney gives us so much to think about in such a little book. Dougy will give you plenty to think about, but you need to read between the lines to grasp all the hidden messages. James gives us a lot to think about and reading Dougy should really make you think about your life.
· Family travels to Brisbane by train (pretty boring!)
· Dougy is touched by a field of sunflowers
· Pulling into Brisbane was really exciting for them (like the new Commodore)
· They were the only black people in the crowd
· They feel very different and they stand out
· Meet very prejudiced taxi driver who thinks they don’t have the money to pay him
· They are surprised that a black person owns the hotel because in their town there are only white bosses
· Gracey has first training session, but Raymond doesn’t want to go- instead he, Steve (guy from hotel) and Dougy go to see something Raymond really wants to see
· Steve takes them to Lang Park- the home of State Origin games
· The guard doesn’t want to let them in at first, but when he realizes they’re from the country and harmless- he relents and lets them look around
· Being there means a lot to Raymond
· Raymond says he will play there one day and Dougy doesn’t laugh unlike the other guys
· Another guard comes along, makes them leave, says they’ll probably steal something and he isn’t nice to them
· Dougy isn’t sure what he wants to do in life, but he is scared of becoming like his Dad (just wandering around with no home)
The author, using something simple and part of Mother Nature- the field of sunflowers, shows that Dougy’s family live in a way out town. It also seems like a rally small town. Dougy also probably hasn’t been anywhere else because he says, “I think, maybe, there are hundreds of other fantastic things in the rest of the world that I’ll never know about.” This point is also shown by how excited they are when the train pulls into Brisbane.
The author shows that things are different in towns and cities (well they were at the time). People in the country aren’t really educated about what life is like in the city. This is shown by Dougy’s uncomfortableness with being the only blacks in the crowd. He thought that it would be just like at home- equal numbers of blacks and whites in the streets. Being uneducated is also shown by the comment that Dougy makes that Steve couldn’t be the manager of the hotel because in their town only white people are own businesses. Dougy and his family thought things would be the same in Brisbane and on some matters, they were caught unawares.
Chapter 3 also shows that in a small town people have to stick together no matter what their skin colour- there may be prejudice, but it has to be overcome to get things done. In the city prejudice can be rampant (more of it), without that much of an effect.
James Moloney shows that many people stereotype against Aborigines. They may hear bad stories about them or have one bad experience and then they think that every single Aborigine is the same. It hurts people’s feelings when you stereotype like that- for example the taxi driver thought Dougy and his family wouldn’t pay, just because others hadn’t paid him. (Another example of this is saying that all blondes are dumb.)
The scene at Lang Park shows that the littlest things mean a great deal to some people and can really inspire them. Just being at Lang Park and touching the grass inspires Raymond to say that he would play there one day and Dougy knew he wasn’t joking.
The very end of chapter 3 shows that if we don’t believe in each other and ourselves- we won’t have the courage or the confidence to do after our dreams.
A number of things happen in chapter 7. It has been decided that Gracey will go to school in Brisbane. It is the summer holidays, it’s hot and the town is expecting a storm. Melissa Brodie is back in town (to stay) and has found a new pastime, in the form of motorbike riding. Melissa’s Dad has warned all the young blokes not to let Melissa borrow their bikes- or else! However Melissa continues to ride- she borrows Tiny’s bike in secret. Two weeks before Gracey was to leave for Brisbane, her Mum decides they should celebrate- with the whole town.
She sets of the hire the hall across the road, which happens to be a big no-no for blacks. The owner of the hall, Mrs England, nearly dies when Gracey’s Mum goes to hire it. Unable to stop her, however, she gives in and the hall is hired. Meanwhile a storm starts brewing up north and the whole town starts preparing for a flood. This is what they were doing when Melissa Brodie is found unconscious in the sandhills. Not knowing the full story, people start to blame Johnny Warren and trouble brews!
The beginning of the chapter shows the different attitudes towards the weather and crops, of the people. The white people are constantly worrying that there’ll be no rain, whereas the black people don’t worry so much- this shows that they have faith in the land and this is they way that they are brought up- to have faith in the land.
The fact that Melissa borrows Tiny’s bike in secret (after her Dad warned all the other blokes), is really important later on in the story because this unknown fact causes misunderstandings and, really, the whole war.
Melissa being able to talk her way into borrowing a bike and also ‘bad-mouthing’ the town without any consequences, show how some people’s attitudes are warped. They will listen to a good-looking and skinny girl and agree and grin, but if a fat and not so nice looking person says something they just look at him or her funny and laugh or tease them. This shown by Tiny- he said he wanted to be a mechanic and people said, “Fat chance” because he is fat.
The little episode in booking the hall shows that some people will never change and they don’t want to, either. However, no matter what stands in our way we need to be determined and believe in ourselves. While Dougy was helping fill sandbags and a guy said, “Typical, lazy black bastards.” This shows again that our society is affected by stereotypes. That man didn’t notice Dougy’s black hands on the bag, however. So this shows that there may be many stereotypes out there, but they, nearly always, mean nothing. You have to get to know a person before you can really say what they are like- you can’t just look at their skin or hair colour. Chapter seven contains many messages for us to remember.
At the beginning of chapter 11, Luke doesn’t feel like shooting anymore and his Dad decides to head home. Luke arrives at his grandparents’ house early Friday morning and sleeps till his Aunt calls that his Mum is going home from the hospital. As his aunt talks to him, Luke begins to feel guilty for not visiting his Mum. Therefore he decides to be a good boy and care to the household duties, while his Mum rests. When Alison first wakes, Luke has to lie his way out of the room- about the shooting trip. The next Monday Luke and Alison confront each other. The communication barriers are broken as Luke asks about his Mum’s school life. But these are soon put again as his Mum starts to say what he should and shouldn’t do. Luke gets very upset, storms out of the house, gets on his bike and rides away.
At the beginning of the chapter, it seems that Luke is growing up and he doesn’t want to shoot anymore. This shows that people can change, as they see the light of a situation.
When Luke lies to his Mum, he doesn’t feel comfortable, which shows that lying isn’t a human tendency- unless you let it become that and you make it a habit.
The point that Luke doesn’t want to hang around his friends is unusual and can show that he feels uncomfortable with being suspended. From this we can gather that it’s in us to want to do our best. When we fail ourselves, we do feel disappointed.
The funny atmosphere between Luke and his Mum is the same in many families today- parents and children aren’t very close due to poor communication. When they start talking its like floodwaters, but this flood of communication soon slows to a trickle, as Alison starts acting like a teacher- according to Luke. What he doesn’t realize is that Alison just wants what is best for him. Instead Luke runs out and may get into trouble again. This little episode shows us that talking to each other is needed for a stable family. What family members need to realize is that they can’t push their opinions down people’s throats, that they need to be reasonable and willing to compromise. It’s also really important to look out for each other.
Courtney from Study Moose
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