No Sugar by Jack Davis: Exposes the Mistreatment of Australian Aborigines During the 1930’s

Today, in the 20th Century, it is a commonly known fact in Australia, and throughout the rest of the world, that Aborigines were mistreated from since western culture first settled, and for many years after that. It is the main purpose of stage dramas to bring issues, such as the one mentioned above, and ideas about these issues to life through dramatic performances and the use of a number of various techniques. No Sugar, a revisionist text written by Jack Davis in 1985, is one of these stage dramas. Jack Davis brings issues and even expresses his own ideas about issues such as the injustices of Aboriginal treatment during the 1930’s, to life in No Sugar very well because No Sugar is a revisionist text, and therefore offers a new perspective of an Aboriginal point of view, on events which occurred during the time of the issue at hand.

No Sugar, the revisionist stage drama written by Jack Davis, is about the mistreatment of Aborigines in Australia during the 1930’s. More specifically, it is about the Millimurra family, and their struggle against white ?protection’ and being treated like objects in their own land. The stage drama is mainly set in Northam, and Moore River, in Western Australia. Davis explored issues surrounding the treatment of Aborigines during this period, and reflects his own ideas about these issues.

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One issue that is highlighted about this period in No Sugar is how Aborigines were discriminated against, for no reason other than having coloured skin. An example of this is in Act One, Scene One, when Cissie is complaining because when her and her brother go to buy apples they get given bad, shrivelled up ones, and the white children get big, juicy ones.

“Aw Mum, Old Tony the ding always sells us little s…

…f the depression and that many people are suffering from hunger and deprivation of many essential elements which make for a contended existence. But you in this small corner of the Empire are fortunate enough in being provided for with adequate food and shelter.”Act IV. Sc. (v) Page 97.

Using dialogue, Davis again shows to the highest degree the amount that Aborigines were disregarded and marginalised in society. Because the reader knows that Aborigines are underprovided, and have to steal and hunt for sufficient food, they see that, as stated by Jimmy, A.O. Neville is “talkin’ outa his kwon” and completely disregarding the Aborigines as citizens of Australia.

In his revisionary stage drama No Sugar Jack Davis has manipulated narrative and theatrical elements such as characterisation, symbolism and dialogue to present the plays many issues throughout the text.


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