Sample Essay on Rabbit Proof Fence

The director, Phillip Noyce made Rabbit Proof Fence to try and illustrate the shear enormity of the oppression suffered by aboriginal families at the hands of white Australian politicians and the government. The Australian administrators passed a policy that forced pure blooded, half castes and quarter castes Aboriginal children to be taken from their families and their land to be bred and mixed into the white Australian community. The government believed that this was in the Aboriginals best interest but their motive was to eventually eliminate Aboriginal blood to promote a white Australia. This policy is now referred to as the ‘Stolen Generation’. The pain and suffering the Aborigines experienced, the oppression and heart-break only ceased in 1970, when Australia finally realized what they have done and voted to abolish the White Australia policy in 1967. Phillip Noyce’s film, Rabbit Proof Fence reminded and informed the world how inhumane and ignorant the Australian administrative was. Without a doubt Aboriginals have faced harsh treatment, grief and sadness and Noyce’s film showed us exactly this.

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Three young girls, Molly, Gracie and Daisy yet to experience any life, were taken from their mothers and transported to the Moore River orphanage settlement. Here the white oppressors attempted to teach them and many other Aborigine children to adapt to the white culture. The White Australia Policy forced these children to be domesticated to become servants of the dominant white people and later eventually, the Aborigine blood will be ‘bred out’ where their Aboriginal heritage would not be evident in their appearances. The scenes early in the film compared feelings of togetherness, love and peacefulness when the families were together with the scenes of violence and harsh measures used to take the girls from their mothers and force them into the car. These scenes show the helpless, desperate pleads of the mothers coming to no avail as the three children were taken and the mothers left behind in tears as if some part of them was missing. Noyce’s cameras were carefully shot so that the families: Molly, Gracie and their mother and their auntie and cousin Daisy was shot in one frame to emphasize the blissful unison that Aborigines had shared together.

Traditional Aboriginal music was played in the background and the cameras panned the beautiful surroundings. This gave us a sense of loyalty and pride the Aboriginals felt in their heritage. Noyce’s camera then focuses onto the incoming motor vehicle controlled by a white official. The sound of the vehicle approaching created a traumatic atmosphere. The cameras were then shot in the family’s perspective which made the vehicle and the official that jumped out look very powerful. The cameras panned from his boots up. This emphasized the white’s great authority and unnecessary power over the Aboriginals. The forceful abduction of the three little girls by the white official with their mothers unable to do anything made the audience feel a sense of sorrowful guilt and sympathy towards the Aborigines. The moving, eerie music that was played during this event tried to simulate the atmosphere of how the Aborigines felt – lost, afraid and dead. The close up shots of each mother, pounding desperately against the car windows, hoping against hope that their daughters would be released was enough to show us how wrong white Australia was to take the Aborigine’s children. These showed the confusion and trauma the mothers face as they do not know what to do. The cameras looked down and framed the three girls. This gave the effect that they, innocent little girls were trapped unwillingly, desperate to escape and did not know what to do. These scenes showed us what the Aboriginals unwillingly faced.

The Moore River orphanage is a slave house, not a place for anything to grow up in. Upon entry into the place, the buildings and environment gave the audience the impression that it was a place of horrible things. The camera panned across the old, dull, lifeless buildings and the conditions were not suitable for children to grow up in. The use of camera angles in the scene emphasized how the Aboriginal children truly felt. They were not welcomed. They felt scared, alone and afraid. The camera focused on the three little girls in the nun’s perspective making them look small and helpless.

The camera was also focused on the nun in the girl’s perspective which made the nun look extremely powerful and fearful. The music was again eerie and heart pounding at the same time. It tried to capture us and help us go though what the girls were going through, confusion and fear. This apparent sanctuary for Aboriginals is like a training centre for them to become slaves. Clearly, the Australian administrators had no intention ‘looking after’ the Aborigines in the first place.

Noyce illustrates the three children’s vulnerability after being taken away from their mother by introducing a spirit bird into the movie. The spirit bird is a symbol of the children’s need of protection after being taken away from their mother. Molly’s mother had always told molly that “the spirit bird will always look after you.” Whenever the director wishes to show that the girls are in desperate need of protection during there long and painful journey the viewer sees the eagle circling above them. On one occasion we, as the audience , are the spirit bird looking down on the three little helpless children

The white Australian policy was introduced for one reason: to promote white dominance and oppression and to get rid of the Aborigines. Many people felt strongly about this cause not considering what the Aboriginals would be facing.

Some were even convinced to the point that they thought that they are doing the Aboriginals a favor. They thought that by letting the Aboriginals into their community, their children will experience and live a better and more prosperous life and be protected from their parents and their environment. This was not the case. There was no reason to think that the Aboriginal children needed any protecting at all. They lived very healthy and happy lives. The only thing the Australian administrators cared about was their ‘white Australian’ racist views and they would have done and said anything to anyone to brainwash and to manipulate. Mr. Neville the chief protector of the Aboriginals was one of the head of the white Australia Policy. He believed that the Aboriginals needed protecting, from the world and themselves. “…in spite of himself the native must be helped…” Neville here contradicts himself. He says that he wants to help out Aboriginals yet here he is patronizing them saying that their primitive. The film clearly shows the narrow mindedness of both politicians and the government through the character Mr. Neville. Mr. Neville strongly believes that half casts are a problem and when it comes to recapturing the three little girls after they have run away, we see his views come out when he says such things as, “The problem of half casts is not simply just going to go away, if it is not dealt with now it will fester for years to come.” We clearly now know that the white Australia Policy is just an excuse to breed out Aboriginal blood, a shallow motive that was a turn for the worst for Aboriginals whom faced so many hardships.

Noyce has shown the world that Aboriginals have suffered and endured so much pain and angst. They will forever be traumatized by the ‘Stolen Generation’ era.

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