Discuss the Symbolism and Motifs in the ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’. What Do They Represent and How Do They Contribute to the Story?

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Rabbit Proof Fence

Discuss the symbolism and motifs in the ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’. What do they represent and how do they contribute to the story?

The film ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ conveys the importance of family, belonging and country to the Aboriginal people and provides the audience with an insight of the division between the Europeans and the Aboriginal people. The Director, Philip Noyce displays these themes by the use of symbolism and motifs. Symbolism is the use of one object to represent a notion or other object, whereas a motif is the recurrence of an object, theme, and subject throughout the film. The ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ is based on a true story on how Aboriginal families were treated by politicians and government. It follows
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The bird is also seen in Molly’s flashback whilst at the Moore River Settlement, the use of a close up of her face in bed fading to an undershot of the eagle in the sky, brought back memories and is followed by a close up of Molly and Maude giving her the determination to escape and find their way home. Again, when the girls are struggling on their long journey home and they collapse, Noyce uses an extreme close up shot of Molly’s eyes as she hears the sound of the eagle, her eyes slowly open and then the film uses a low angle shot of the eagle flying above the girls in the sky. The audience senses their vulnerability and the challenge that lies ahead. This is followed by a high angle shot of Molly standing and looking at the eagle providing her with the inner strength to continue the journey home. As they continue, there is an aerial shot of trees, the sound of an eagle, an example of diegetic sound and the audience has a sense that the bird is guiding the girls home.
The rabbit proof fence is the central motif. It runs from North to South of Western Australia and was built to keep rabbits away from farmland. It is very symbolic as when it was built it kept the Aboriginals in one place and therefore shows how they were restricted in their movement, unlike the freedom of the spirit bird. It symbolises the division between the Aboriginals and the Europeans. The girls are pictured as frightened rabbits trapped on the wrong side of the fence, the same feeling as

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