Rabbit Proof Fence

Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 Table of Contents Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2 Statement of problem………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2 Africans vs. Aborigines…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Dreamtime …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 The stolen generation ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Rabbit-Proof Fence…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5 Discussion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9 References ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10 Books: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10 Websites ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10 1 Studieportalen. k Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 Introduction The bulk of the world’s population knows who the aborigines are. Or do they? Most people are aware of, that they are the native population of Australia but that is as far as their knowledge reach. It is the fewest people, who know that the aborigines are a national problem and mostly not wanted in Australia. The reason why so few know this is because it’s not the official statement1. When the government talks about the aborigines to the rest of the world it sounds more like they are proud of their native Australians.

When you dig deeper you will also see the maybe darkest chapter of Australian history; the stolen generations. The stolen generations were all the children with an aboriginal mother and a white father or the opposite, these children were taken from their parents because of their mixed blood. Another interesting thing about the aborigines is their religion. They believe that the world was created in a time called dreamtime. I will cover all of these elements in my project. Statement of problem

In my project, I have chosen to focus on the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” I would like to describe the Aboriginals’ Dreamtime and how they live today. In my analysis I will focus on the relations between white Australians and Aborigines, with special reference to the problem race discrimination, and the right to decide over other peoples’ lives. Finally, I will discuss the importance of aboriginal mothers and children to stay together. 1 Australiens urbefolkning s. 9 2 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 Africans vs. Aborigines2

Today everyone is quite sure that the Homo sapiens emigrated from Africa but after haven studied completely similar engravings in Australia the archaeologists have come up with three different theories about where the Homo sapiens emigrated from. The first theory is clear; it says that the human race comes from Africa. Another theory says that the human race has developed parallel in Africa an Australia. There has been found more primitive humans in China called Homo erectus and the experts think that one party has gone to Africa and developed to Homo sapiens and another gone to Australia and done the same thing.

The third theory says that all man kind descend from aborigines. The reason why they could walk around on the entire planet is because all the continents were one big land called Gondwanaland. Finally, the scientists has made genetic analysis of the oldest skeleton ever found and shows that man kind is most likely to descend from Australia. 3 Dreamtime4 The aborigines believe that the world was created in “dreamtime”. Dreamtime is bunch of myths which tell about how the trees and bushes got their names how they should treat nature and a lot of other myths. The most spread myths are the ones about the divine rainbow snake.

This snake is said to have the power to make rivers, waterholes or rain. He is today a constant presence of the aborigines as he live in waterholes and under waterfalls. The aborigines’ relation to the divine rainbow snake is slightly ambivalent because on one hand he has created a lot of rivers and waterholes and he acts as a positive force in men’s lives. But on the other hand he is the fertility-mother in the Waugeluk Sisters myth from Arnhemland. In this myth the sisters, big sister who is pregnant and a little sister who is a virgin, go around Australia and name trees, animals and bushes.

On their journey the big sister gives birth to a baby but she keeps bleeding from her abdomen. One night they settle 2 3 Australiens urbefolkning s. 16 Nordjydske stifttidende d. 12. januar 4 The elements of the aborigine tradition chapter 2 & Australiens urbefolkning ”en myte om regnbueslangen” 3 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 down near a waterhole but it is not an ordinary waterhole. It is the home of the Rainbow snake. The rainbow snake finds out that the big sister is bleeding on the ground and doesn’t approve of it.

The snake is getting ready to attack but then the little sister starts dancing and the snake is frozen. The sisters activity is contributory to the small sister getting her period and there for also bleeding on the ground. In the end the snake eats them both and the baby. This story is a symbol of men wanting to control the Kunapipi and therefore women. One of the very interesting factors about the aborigines’ dreamtime is that they have a snake as the world’s creator. This is not seen in any other culture and makes the aboriginal creation theory special. The stolen generation

In the beginning of the 20th century the Australian government began to remove the aboriginal children from there parents most of these children were half-caste (Half aboriginal half European) I am going to concentrate on the removal of the half-caste. They called it the assimilation programme. The meaning by taking these was to bring them up in a white environment and culture so they could live and function in the white world. One of the programmes other purposes was to breed out the Aboriginal population, this was done by copulate them with white people so the Aborigines finally would disappear.

As we can see today this didn’t happen but a huge part of the stolen generation suffers today from identity, family and culture loss and are not functioning well in today’s Australia. When the children had been removed they were put into institutional facilities operated by religious or charitable organisations although a remarkable number of females were fostered out. A lot of the children in the institutions and foster homes became victims of sexual abuse, overall 17% of females and 8% of males. The most vocal proponent of the policy was A. O. Neville, the Chief Protector f the Aborigines in the Western Australia. In April 1997 the official report on the stolen generation saw daylight. It is called “Bringing Them Home – Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families” . The report’s creators had travelled around Australia interviewing the native populations. 4 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 After this it became an issue whether or not the Aborigines deserved an apology. Suddenly everybody was saying “sorry” except the Australian government.

Rabbit-Proof Fence The film is directed by Australian-born Hollywood director Phillip Noyce who among his works has “Patriot Games”, “The Bone Collector” and “The Saint” so it is obvious that he knows how a true Hollywood movie is being created. “Rabbit-Proof Fence” is based on a novel by the daughter of the true Molly Craig and is a true story. “Rabbit-Proof Fence” is a film that takes place in Western Australia 1931. There are three girls Molly, Daisy and their cousin Gracie they are all half-castes and belong to the Jigalong-tribe.

The Tribe lives close to the white settlers’ trade station and gets rations of food every day. They are brought up like most aborigines are, they learn how to track, collect and hunt. Mr. A. O. Neville the Chief Protector of the Aborigines in the Western Australia believes that they should be brought up into the white world because of the mixed blood. Therefore he gives permission to remove the three girls and put them in the institution Moore River. When they get to Moore River they are told only to speak English and not to sing. There is a gathering where Mr.

Neville is going to check the colour of the children. The palest ones get to go to another school. Suddenly when they have seen what happens to girls that run away Molly decides that the institution is a bad place and they have to run away. Molly knows a lot about how to cover her tracks so they leave just when it’s about to rain. The Journey home is long and hard. They meet five persons along the way and four of them help them but the fifth tells the police where they are and Gracie are being taken again. They find their way home by following the Rabbit-Proof Fence which is in Jigalong too.

The film is build up by a classical tripartition harmony (the beginning, home in Jigalong) chaos (the removal and escape back home) and then harmony again when they are back home. 5 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 It is also possible to compare the film to the Hollywood model (narrator model). The film starts with seeing the mothers and the girls chase a lizard. They follow its tracks. This part is the prelude. Then we hear they talk about Molly getting married to a white man and we hear about the smaller girls also being half-castes this part is the presentation.

The presentation and deepening are very close and I believe it switches to deepening when Mr. Neville gives the order to remove the girls. That is when we find out he is “evil”. But this goes on until they have ran so far away that it would be stupid to go back because the institution knows they were gone. This is the point of no return. Then there is a conflict escalation till they’re almost home. I believe the conflict release is when the girls are almost home, the elder women are singing and the policeman is walking around in the woods with a gone and still gets scared and ends up running away from the wild girls.

The fadeout is the rest of the film where you see the real Molly and Daisy as old women. Molly, Gracie and Daisy are three girls at the age from 8 till 14 they all have an aboriginal mother and a European father. They are brought up in the tribe Jigalong and have learned to read tracks and hunt like the aboriginals have done always. Molly is very clever and strong and she helps her sister and cousin to escape. Gracie hasn’t seen her mother in a long time and that is the reason why she is being caught again. Mr.

Neville is a middle-aged man who is the protector of the aborigines and believes that it is in their best interest to be brought up into European culture. It is hard to say whether or not he wants to remove them because he has the power to or if he really means well. Mr. Neville’s favourite song is “Swanee River” and is about how the person in the song misses everything back home. It is interesting to notice that a man who makes a living out of taking children away from their parents has a favourite song about how one missing everything at home.

There are a lot of cinematic effects in the film such as when you see the three girls walking around in the desert it is filmed in total perspective which makes the desert look even bigger it also makes them look lost and tired when they are wondering around in the middle of nowhere. Something else one might notice is that one only sees the Jigalong tribe’s women and children there are no men involved. The way the point of view is also a 6 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 very important cinematic effect.

When they are being transported in the truck to Moore River you see the nun from the girls’ point of view but then it switches to her point of view and you see that the girls look scared and cower together. Another example is when Molly is being called to see Mr. Neville. It is filmed from Molly’s point of view and it is clearly that she is walking very slowly and hesitates to go to him. When she looks up at him he looks big as a man with a lot of authority. When the girls are almost home there are being crosscut between the girls, their mothers and the policeman in the wood. As closer they get to being home as quicker is the cuts.

This contributes to creating excitement and tension. The tension is released when the mothers “attack” the policeman and he runs away. It is a true story and one of the things that makes the film trustworthy is at the end of the film when you see Molly and Daisy as old women and there is a text going over the screen that says that molly was captured ones again and her daughter Annabelle was taken away from her when she was three years old. It is also worth noticing the title of the film “Rabbit-Proof Fence”. The fence was build to keep the rabbits away from the farms but in the film it helps the three girls find their way home.

It is ironic that when the white people are trying to capture them they are using something they build to get away from the institution. There is a difference between the male and the female gender in the film. We only notice female aborigines while the powerful persons in the civilized world all are men. You could say that the nature is represented by the females and that the civilized world is represented by the males. In the film the females/nature wins over the males/civilization because Molly and Daisy gets away and Mr. Neville gives up trying to find them. I think the film describes the way of the history very well.

It is a cruel story but also true and is maybe a bit controversial to the Australian government. It is an excellent film because they have made it seem as real as it is. Even though I am a white girl living with my family I can relate to how the girls must feel and it makes the film very emotional. 7 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 Discussion When we today looks back on all the cruel things that have been done; making the Africans slaves, killing everyone who wasn’t Christian and never the less taking aboriginal children away from their mothers.

All of these actions may probably been a result of ignorance but the things done seemed reasonable at that time. Today we seem wiser and we can look back in regret on how some populations have been suppressed because of another skin colour. The Australian government hasn’t yet officially apologized to the aboriginals. And the government’s actions in the 20th century are the reason why today at least 70,000 aboriginals have to live with identity, family and culture loss. Most of these aboriginals don’t function socially and that results that they don’t function very well at all.

It is hard for me to understand how the Australian government at the time felt they held the right to decide over other peoples’ lives. In my opinion we are all equal no matter skin colour or nationality but I can imagine that the Europeans who came to Australia felt superior when they came to Australia because they didn’t live as primitive as the Aboriginals did. When this argument is brought to consideration it is still hard for me to understand how all the people involved could make them selves take the children from their mothers.

The white people must really have thought they were put on earth to control all the primitive black people. Even today the aboriginals haven’t the same stature as other Australians. The way the aboriginals are seen today is as a drunken, smelling, lazy, black person who doesn’t know how to act in a civilized world. The stolen generation is lost in the system they may never get their identity and family back. They are offered no help to get back on their feet they are completely on their own. 8 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 Conclusion

The aboriginals’ dreamtime is very important to the aboriginals it is the ground pill to many aboriginals today either if they live in the city or in communities in the nature. White people have always felt superior when it came to black people and the Europeans and Aboriginals are no exception. The film “Rabbit-Proof Fence describes how the things went in the 20th century, how the kids brutally were taken from their mothers and put into institutions were they were supposed to change. Today it is not the same as back then but the aboriginals are still not part of the Australian society and may never be.

Even though it’s changing into the better it will still take long for aboriginals to integrate in the Australian society. 9 Studieportalen. dk Stine Skourup Bottger Hansen English project 01. 05. 2006 References Books: “The elements of the aborigine tradition” by James G. Cowan “Austaliens urbefolkning – the aborigines-“ by Knud Erik Andersen and Soren Hahn Websites http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/stolen_generation http://www. dfi. dk/dfi/undervisning/rabbitproof/printvenlig. htm http://www. kididdles. com/mouseum/o049. html http://www. skoda. dk 10

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