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Author Topic: First HSC assessment task: Namatjira discussion  (Read 5258 times)  Share 

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First HSC assessment task: Namatjira discussion
« on: November 16, 2017, 10:17:32 pm »
Hey guys, this is my first time posting a draft for an assessment coming up on Monday next week and I'd highly appreciate it if anyone can give me some feedback and point out what should be changed. Thanks to all!

Q: Discuss how Scott Rankin’s perspective on community is conveyed in Namatjira. In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text.

In the play Namatjira written by Scott Rankin, we the audience are given a story about an Indigenous man with the name Albert Namatjira. Throughout the play we are introduced to a handful of characters and each major character often represents a community. In the play Rankin has introduced a certain community with every new major character and with it he shows us how this community affects Albert and masterfully gives Rankin’s own perspective about the relationship of the communities.

In act 2, scene 7 we see Albert being bombarded with requests from his extended family for money as he made a lot of it through his paintings. Nephews of Albert callout, “Hey Uncle” and after a bit of dialogue they ask for money. This scene shows how Albert is being treated by the Aranda community and the scene itself also reflects how Rankin saw Albert’s situation. At the end of the scene we see stage direction saying that Albert’s nephews swore at him silently. In this scene alone Rankin perceived that Albert is being envied by the whole Aranda community and they are leeching off of Albert due to his immense wealth. Later on, in the play in the same act, scene 10, it is explained by Trevor that, “If he’s (Albert) humbugged, the Aranda way, he’ll have to buy it for others, he’ll have to share it.” This quote alone explains why Albert willingly hands over money to his Nephew even if they ask in what seems to be in a disrespectful tone. This further justifies that scene 7 was an enactment of how Rankin perceived Albert’s situation of handing out money to his Nephew because he could and because they asked. In reality, a scene like that would most likely have played out with Albert’s nephews begging or being more formal, however Rankin perceived that there would be some form of malice towards how successful Albert was. After all, he was the first Indigenous Australian to become a truly wealthy man. The evidence of malice can be seen when one of Albert’s nephews says, “Hey, Uncle, I got no money, I need clothes. I need food. I need medicine. I need car, Uncle.” This piece of dialogue further emphasises that the Aranda community was reliant on Albert to Rankin. Even with the hyperbole of one of Albert’s nephew wanting a car from him, the dialogue is pathetic as his demands became more and more of that of the stereotypical Indigenous during the time this play is set in.

In act 2, scene 10, Albert is called by the Government to become a citizen of Australia. This is the first scene that we see in the play where Albert has direct confrontation with the White Australian community. Early on in the scene, Trevor explains to us that the government wants Albert to become an Australian citizen because, “they wanted him to pay tax. See you can’t be taxed if you’re a Ward of the State…” With this scene we can visualise that Rankin saw these turn of events as racist actions by the government against Albert and the government being very inconsiderate of Albert. Even if the government had the best intentions to redress the injustice from the past, Rankin shows us with a short conversation that giving Albert an Australian citizenship would not help Albert if they genuinely wanted to help him at the time. Whether the Australian government feigned ignorance of their actions or only wanted to abuse Albert’s wealth is something to be discussed somewhere else however, Rankin sets up a situation where the Australian government will be hurting Albert no matter how they approached Albert to giving him an Australian citizenship and in Rankin’s perspective, giving Albert citizenship was the wrong thing to do no matter how they went about it. Rankin was able to express how giving Albert citizenship was not a good idea by having stage direction of “Albert indicates the bottle,” The scene plays out with Albert telling Rex, “This mob… You know what they’ll ask me for. (stage direction) Albert indicates the bottle.” With this piece of dialogue and stage direction we the audience with some context can make out that Albert does not want an Australian citizenship due to the ability to purchase alcohol if he does get it. The mob is referring to his whole family meaning that Albert does not want to supply alcohol to them as both he and Rankin saw the commodity as something destructive as Albert does not refer alcohol as beer or alcohol, instead he indicates the bottle. The stage direction also does not refer alcohol to beer or anything like that, and instead calls it the bottle.  In this situation Rankin seemed to have deliberately make alcohol something very vile and evil to the point where Albert refuses to even call it what it is. Rankin saw the connection between Albert and the Government to be a relation that is only present to hurt Albert regardless of the consequences and shows us through stage direction and dialogue from Albert not wanting anything to do with the Australian government.

To conclude, Rankin’s view on the Aranda community as a whole is not positive and even foreshadows that the community is not good for Albert as respect only seems to be present for his wealth. The Australian Government is more or less the same as they get involved with Albert due to his massive success with his artworks. The Government seems to be perceived as a community that represents that White Australian community and the community itself is also under a negative perspective by Rankin as they are seen as community who are acting on the own accord ignorant to what Albert wants.