He spent several years living on the Brookton Aboriginal reserve where he first began to learn the language of the Noongar peoples of the South West of western Australia. Later he worked as a stockman in the North West which brought him into contact with tribal Aboriginal society.
VCE Students; Keeping up-to-date and ahead: Davis grew up in Yarloop, in a big family of Jack had eight years of education in public schools, then worked as a mill-hand, an engine driver, boundary rider and drover which brought him into contact with the tribal people and afforded examples of the everyday treatment and victimisation of the First Australians.
No Sugar received standing ovations when performed in Vancouver and Edinburgh in No Sugar by Jack Davis was first performed as part of the Festival of Perth in to great acclaim.
Throughout the play, Davis depicts the First Australians struggling to survive in sub-human conditions on an Aboriginal Reserve in the s. During the depression, life is particularly difficult for the Munday and Millimurra families who are controlled by apartheid-style policies.
That they often speak in their own language helps Davis draw attention to their cultural differences and their alienation from mainstream culture. Those in a position of power and authority treat the First Australians with contempt and do not provide humane and decent opportunities for them to improve their sub-standard living conditions.
In this regard, Davis explores the consequences of the dispossession of the aborigines which culminates in a farcical depiction of the Australia Day celebrations. These celebrations place a strong emphasis on the main story of the pioneers and overlook the cultural life, spirituality and history of the First Australians.
Life is rudimentary, difficult and makeshift but they are spirited and resourceful. Although their literacy levels are poor, the government is reluctant to provide them with a decent education.
Davis depicts the Millimurra family as subject to the vagaries of government decrees and its policies of segregation. During the s, Aboriginal Australians caught co-habiting with whites in a loving relationship were savagely punished.
They were restricted from being near any town after sunset on the pain of imprisonment or death. As Davis shows, it is difficult for them to maintain their cultural life style because of their reduced access to rivers and streams and the changing landscape.
Granny cannot grind the jam and wattle seeds a substitute for bicarb soda for the damper. Gran remembers gathering a huge bag of seeds, but now the wetjala have cut down the trees and they are difficult to find. Their social welfare benefits are considerably less than that of their white counterparts.
Joe finds quandongs to eat on the trip back to Northam. Hence the symbolism of the hygiene throughout the play.
It shows the diversity of their own culture and the extent of their alienation from mainstream culture and norms. The Millimurra family often speak in their own language which shows their unique relationship to culture, land and lifestyle.
They cannot be translated. Gran often uses terms from her Nyoongah South West Language group. This is very significant as it shows that she proudly represents her authentic indigenous culture.
She also speaks in Aboriginal English which reflects her need to blend the two cultures. It reflects their priority as First Australians. This alienation is also exacerbated by their lack of access to education.
The ration system Davis shows how the ration system is designed to control and humiliate Indigenous Australians. The ration system reflects the patronising attitude of the government; the government relies on the ration system to justify their heavy-handed policies and systems of control.
According to Davis, the First Australians are completely dependent upon Government rations and yet the government restricts these arbitrarily.
Mr Neville is constantly cost-cutting. He believes they should possibly cut the supply of meat in their rations.
Soap has already been discontinued. Also, in many cases the family uses their own medicinal resources that are unfamiliar to white culture, but not necessarily inferior.
Right from the opening of the play, Gran and Milly are preoccupied with cleanliness and are dismayed at the restriction of soap in their rations.
The stage directions state that David removes his shirt for Milly to wash. Davis suggests that their hypocrisy is breathtaking especially as the government keeps reducing their soap rations. Despite attempts to humiliate Milly and Gran, they proudly wash their clothes as best they can, and are quick to complain about the reduction in soap rations.
Characters like Gran are resourceful and show amazing strength to withstand adversity. Gran is good humoured despite the hardships she faces daily in her struggle to keep the family together and in her attempts to provide Cissie and David with an education.
Jimmy suffers from the debilitating effect of alcohol and often appears sentimental and maudlin.The stage drama No Sugar, by Jack Davis explores the bad treatment of minority groups and their responses to this treatment. The performance set in the ’s presents the Milimurra family who are the minority group fighting against the injustices inflicted on them by white authorities.
Jack Davis’s poems present a passionate voice for the indigenous people; it explores such issues as the identity problems, the wider sense of loss in Aboriginal cultures and the clash of Aboriginal and White law.
No Sugar by Jack Davis: Exposes the Mistreatment of Australian Aborigines During the '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.
No Sugar by Jack Davis was first performed as part of the Festival of Perth in to great acclaim. Throughout the play, Davis depicts the First Australians struggling to survive in sub-human conditions on an Aboriginal Reserve in the s. Investigation – No Sugar by Jack Davis Essay Sample.
Jack Davis is a renowned Indigenous man, famous for his playwriting, acting, poetry and Aboriginal activism. Jack Davis, was a notable Australian 20th Century playwright and poet, also an Indigenous rights campaigner.
Born in Perth in , Jack spent his childhood in Yarloop about kilometres to the south.