Solving the problem of the motherless indigenous child in Jedda and Australia: white maternal desire in the Australian epic before and after 'Bringing Them Home'

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    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article examines the depiction of Jedda’s Sarah McMann and Australia’s English-born Sarah Ashley. In each character there is a maternal desire that drives the plot to which responsibility for the children’s fate is attributed. National assimilation policies are expressed emphatically through Sarah McMann’s desires for the aboriginal child, Jedda, and the failures of assimilation are played out in the child’s tragic fate. In Australia the plot is resolved by returning the Aboriginal child, Nullah, to his grandfather. This only becomes possible because Sarah Ashley’s agenda for intervening in the removal of Nullah by the state, in the hope of raising him as her own child, is realized. Within the logic of the narrative, the outsider status of the recent immigrant Sarah Ashley enables her to become a clear-sighted agent in the return of the child to his family. This article considers the significance of these two representations of the white maternal in the context of the history of child removal policies, Bringing Them Home and the National Apology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-157
    Number of pages13
    JournalStudies in Australasian Cinema
    Volume4
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Australia
    • History
    • Jedda
    • Maternal
    • National Apology
    • Stolen generations

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