Analytical Essay: ‘Deadly Unna?’

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Analytical Essay: ‘Deadly Unna?’


The compassionate novel Deadly Unna?, written by Phillip Gwynne, creates vivid characters and depicts race discourses experienced by Gary Black (also known as Blacky) in a fictitious South Australian coastal community. The novel portrays a typical coastal town of the 1970s and is set mainly in the Port: the local Pub, the Black family home and the jetty, where the local children play. The story explores the racism between the Nungas (the indigenous population who live at the Point) and the Gooynas (the white population who live at the Port). As Blacky is from the Port, he only begins to develop awareness of the racism around him as a result of his friendship with Dumby Red, a Nunga football player, and
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Racism can also be seen when Blacky witnessing the fight between Dumby and Mad Dog. After Mad Dog punches Dumby in the side of the face, Mad Dog makes a racist comment; "Don't shake hands with no boongs." (p.29). Blacky’s reaction is selfish because he thanked Dumby for saving him, instead of asking how he is feeling after the racist comment made by Mad Dog, which demonstrates the racism within the community. Blacky becomes aware of racism when he is sitting in the shed with Clarence and notices a racist comment in graffiti on the wall above Clarence: "BOONGS PISS OFF." (p.121)

Blacky becomes more aware of racism when the Best On Ground Award (B.O.G.) is announced for the grand final. Blacky is angry about Mark Robertson winning the B.O.G. because Dumby Red played a better game. Blacky believes that Mark only won it for being white. “Mark Arks getting B.O.G. It's bullshit. That's Dumby's Trophy." (p.133) Blacky reacts by running outside with anger building inside him, telling somebody in his way to 'Piss Off'(p.133). Blacky realises how racist his town is towards the Nungas: “Mark Arks- what a joke! It just wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. But what could I do?” (p.134). Blacky decides to quit football “Because you the team cheated Dumby out of his medal, you lousy bastards.”(p.134) These events are a prime example of the strength of racism in the town, and the marginalisation of the Nungas…