Rainbow’s End – Belonging

10 October 2016

A Place is an essential part of belonging. Aboriginals believe that they do not own the land, that they are a part of it. However European settlement didn’t respect the Aboriginal culture and values. Despite constant issues between indigenous and non-indigenous land rights and owner ship the indigenous population still have a strong connect with land and thus, place. In ‘Rainbow’s End’ the Dear family live in a humpy on the river bank, which is prone to flooding. Despite the troubles with their home, Dolly is proud to be from the flats. I’m from the flats, not even one of those townie types of cross-over aboriginals”. This quote communicates how proud Dolly is of her Aboriginal culture and that she feels connected to it by where she lives. In ‘Redfern Now’, the representation about place is completely different. Clifton Grammar is a privileged private school, in North Sydney. The school is a symbol of upper white class society. The school is often showed as a low angle shot, this highlights power and authority because the angles of the camera make the school seem larger. A completely different shot is used to show Joel in this very scene.

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After the low angle shot of the school, there is a high angle shot of Joel. High angle shots express a lack of power by making Joel look smaller, especially when compared to the intimidating school. This emphasises the substantial difference between the rich white private school and Joel’s aboriginal culture, as well as his life in Redfern. Family can provide the deepest form of belonging. The Dear family do not refer to home as a place, home is the connections that all three women share with each other and ancestral past. Dolly’s connection with her family is highlighted in the end of scene thirteen, act 1.

Errol asks Dolly to move to the city with him, where he wants to have a future with her and spoil her. She refuse’s and Errol can’t understand why, she explains “But… a real home? A real home is where there are people looking out for each other. ” Unlike Errol Dolly is extremely close to her family and Errol fails to see that family is Dolly’s definition of belonging. The difference in Joel’s family opinion is massive. Joel’s mother wants him to fit in at Clifton Grammar because it is such as privilege to attend the school and the opportunities the school will provide will set Joel up for life.

However Joel’s father wants Joel to stick to his aboriginal morals, therefore not standing up and signing the Australian national anthem during assembly. This is represented by costuming and dialog. Joel’s mother says “you look very handsome in your uniform – it suits you. ” Compared to Joel’s father saying “You look good, you look deadly. If you were going to court. ” Both these quotes are said while Joel is in his uniform, highlighting the difference of opinion. Dealing with the pressure from both parents, this puts Joel in an awkward position.

The tension between parents is related to belonging and not belonging because only one parent will accept his decision, therefore the other will not feel as appreciated because Joel has rebelled against their beliefs and values. Nan Dear and Gladys represent a different form of community. Nan Dear represents the Indigenous community, believing that the substantial difference between Indigenous Australians and White Australians should remain. Unlike Gladys who wants both cultures to combined to make a society in which everyone is equal. Each character tries to manipulate Dolly into sharing their beliefs.

Nan Dear reminds Dolly of want white people have done to the Aboriginal community “and hospital is where they take our babies away. ” This quote scratches the surface of the issues of the stolen generation, therefore this quote creates an allusion of the historical problem. Unlike Nan Dear Gladys looks towards the future is a positive light. To help Dolly fit into the white community she tries to get her a job at the bank. While talking to the bank manager Gladys wears white gloves through the technique of costuming this expresses her trying to fit into the white community.

Similarly, Joel becomes an outcast from the Redfern community because he is attending Clifton Grammar. This concept is captured through costuming. While Joel is walking to school he is joined by to boys that give him a hard time because of what he is wearing compared to their casual public school uniform. Even though Joel does no longer belong to the Redfern community, he doesn’t belong to the school community either. This is because he refuses to stand up and sign the Australian national anthem.

This is similar to Gladys, this creates tension between belonging and not belonging because of the divided culture and race of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Each text demonstrates the importance of belonging and the reality of not belonging. Even though both texts are set in different decades the difference between Indigenous Australians and White Australians are extremely noticeable in both. All characters in ‘Rainbow’s End’ and ‘Redfern Now’ deal with tension between belonging and not belonging through place, family and community.

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