Throughout history, it is known that Aboriginal people have faced cruelty, racism and poverty due to the way people have treated them. It is believed that Aboriginal people do not have knowledge, and they are unsuccessful people who take the pathway to failure. Stereotypes that Aboriginal people have to cope with lowers their self esteem and makes them feel less of a person. Is it fair that a certain race should be treated differently, because of how a group of individuals represented their people? Should these Aborginals feel ashamed? Young females who grow up to feel ashamed become the ones who live a lifestyle where they are afraid, and feel unsure of who they are inside. The book April Raintree and the movie “Rabbit-Proof Fence” both have storylines that expose the readers and watchers to the reality they are surrounded by. Therefore, it is evident that in April Raintree and “Rabbit-Proof Fence”, they portray the struggles of self-definition of young females who come from Aboriginal heritage.
Firstly, racism and stereotypes play a large role in the loss of identity in a child who comes from an Aboriginal background. The children of Aboriginal race are exposed to Caucasian children around them in both of these stories. Caucasian children are taught by their parents to believe that Aboriginal children have no knowledge at all, and have no dreams or future. Racist comments are uttered out of the mouths of people, and the Aboriginal youth feel degraded and ashamed of who they truly are. In the storylines of April Raintree and “Rabbit-Proof Fence”, April and Molly both experience the same struggles. Firstly, they experience the racism and stereotypes that they cannot run away from, and it continues to lower their self esteem as they feel they cannot be accepted by society. Secondly, the two girls must face the hardships of separation from their families, as the must cope through struggles by themselves without support. Lastly, both girls have sisterly love, while they are on their journey to search for their inner identity. Therefore, April and Molly may have similar traits, but they also have differences in their personality, and reacting to the way the Caucasian people treat them as Aboriginal children. For example, in April Raintree, April is a female with low self esteem because of the stereotypes associated with her people. April feels degraded and she believes in the views the Caucasian people have placed upon her and the Aboriginal people. Since she feels this way it has made her grow to hate herself and her own heritage. As April states:
I didn’t want Cheryl at the Academy because of the lie I had told about my
parents and because I was white as far as the other girls were concerned. I
wanted to keep it that way as long as I could (Culleton, 69) Through April’s eyes she sees the life as a Caucasian female to be normal, and to be her ideal image. It seems as if April has no confidence and no pride from the background she comes from. April has thrown away her identity and forces herself to become someone she is not, because she feels shame. However, Molly has never felt any shame in her people. For example, in “Rabbit-Proof Fence” Molly was asked to see Mr. Neville so he could “determine if she was able to go to school or not“. The way he based his final decision was on skin pigment. Light-skin children were known to be “clever”, as Molly’s skin tone was dark. Molly never fought back towards the way the white people treated her, because she was strong and she was able to accept what they had to say. All of this persuasion to make her become someone she is not, had made her refuse to do so. Therefore, it is proven April on the other hand, cannot handle animosity and bitterness and it makes her relentless and weak towards herself.
Secondly, “Rabbit-Proof Fence” and April Raintree reveal the reality and experience of what the Aboriginal race must suffer from. The two stories do follow the storyline...
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