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"no Sugar" Essay

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Essay title: "no Sugar" Essay

By challenging my values, plays can influence my view of life and encourage me to respond to certain issues in a particular way. No Sugar, an Australian play written by Jack Davis, an Aboriginal Australian, challenged my values towards Aboriginals and issues such as the treatment of our indigenous people today and between the years 1929-34. I was encouraged to respond to Aboriginal people in a positive way.

Jack Davis in his play No Sugar highlights the appalling conditions in which Aboriginals lived throughout the depression (“Haven’t got any soap yet. I’m afraid soap is no longer included as a ration item?”) due to the ignorance and racist attitudes of the white Australians. This influenced the way in which I now view Aborigines. By viewing Davis’ play I am more understanding of Aborigines and sympathetic towards them as the stage drama provided me with an opportunity to see what seemed to be a realistic portrayal of the daily lives and hardships of these people, especially the older generations of indigenous Australians. By comparing how I live to how the characters in the play live, I realise I am extremely lucky; such necessities as soap that I take for granted, they lived without, and ironically their “protectors” saw this item as a luxury, yet condemned them for an unwarranted judgement of an absence of cleanliness.

Davis portrays and constructs all of the Aboriginal characters (except Billy) in a positive way. I as the audience was encouraged to sympathise with the Aboriginal characters, and adopt a negative attitude towards such characters as Neville and the sergeant. These two white characters along with a host of others treated the Aboriginal characters with very little or no respect. This highlights the ignorance of white Australians and made me feel ashamed to be white. ‘The native’s entrance is around the back’. Racism was an issue Davis raised in No Sugar. Here my values towards white Australians in positions of authority were challenged. Neville, a real person, transformed into a character in Davis’ play is particularly highlighted as being a corrupt person in a position of authority.

In Australia I have found many white Australians do not think of Aborigines as human beings. As the text itself points out, the original inhabitants of Australia were for many years classified as part of the “wildlife” of this continent. Even today, in what is supposed to be an accepting and multicultural society, I am continually bombarded with stereotypes of Aboriginals which I know many people adopt. Davis, through the use of characters such as Gran with her

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