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Australian Literature and the Postcolonial Challenge (EL316)
2012

Texts

form y separately published work icon The Castle Rob Sitch , Santo Cilauro , Tom Gleisner , Jane Kennedy , ( dir. Rob Sitch ) Australia : Working Dog Productions , 1997 Z1542696 1997 single work film/TV humour (taught in 4 units)

The Kerrigan family's home is situated right beside one of Melbourne's airports, but they don't mind. In fact, they love living there. When the government and airport authorities announce that they are buying up all the properties in the neighbourhood in order to make way for airport extensions, Darryl decides to defend his right to live in his beloved home. The Castle is the story of how they take on the authorities, all the way to the High Court.

y separately published work icon That Deadman Dance Kim Scott , Sydney : Picador , 2010 Z1728528 2010 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 43 units)

Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.

'The novel's hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.

'But slowly - by design and by accident - things begin to change. Not everyone is happy with how the colony is developing. Stock mysteriously start to disappear; crops are destroyed; there are "accidents" and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby's Elders decide they must respond in kind. A friend to everyone, Bobby is forced to take sides: he must choose between the old world and the new, his ancestors and his new friends. Inexorably, he is drawn into a series of events that will forever change not just the colony but the future of Australia...' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon The Slap Christos Tsiolkas , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1739894 2008 single work novel (taught in 40 units)

'At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

'This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

'In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

'What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.' (Publisher's blurb)

form y separately published work icon Mad Max James McCausland , George Miller , ( dir. George Miller ) Australia : Kennedy Miller Entertainment , 1979 Z1040124 1979 single work film/TV science fiction (taught in 5 units)

In a post-apocalyptic Australia, law and order has begun to break down due to energy shortages, despite the efforts of Main Force Patrol (MFP) officers like Max Rockatansky. After Rockatansky encounters Toecutter's motorcycle gang, who are running runshod over isolated communities, he grows disillusioned with his role in the MFP. At first convinced by his superior officer not to resign, he is driven into a state of cold-blooded revenge when Toecutter's gang murder his wife and young son.

y separately published work icon Five Bells Gail Jones , North Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2011 Z1735512 2011 single work novel (taught in 19 units)

'On a radiant day in Sydney, four adults converge on Circular Quay, site of the iconic Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Crowds of tourists mix with the locals, enjoying the glorious surroundings and the play of light on water.

'But each of the four carries a complicated history from elsewhere; each is haunted by past intimacies, secrets and guilt: Ellie is preoccupied by her sexual experiences as a girl, James by a tragedy for which he feels responsible, Catherine by the loss of her beloved brother in Dublin and Pei Xing by her imprisonment during China's Cultural Revolution.

'Told over the course of a single Saturday, Five Bells describes four lives which chime and resonate, sharing mysterious patterns and symbols. But it is a fifth person, a child, whose presence at the Quay haunts the day and who will overshadow everything that unfolds. By night-time, when Sydney is drenched in a rainstorm, each life has been transformed.' (From the publisher's website.)

form y separately published work icon The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Stephan Elliott , ( dir. Stephan Elliott ) Australia : Latent Image Productions Specific Films , 1994 Z367706 1994 single work film/TV humour satire (taught in 8 units) 'Tick' Belrose, a Sydney drag queen, accepts his ex-wife's invitation to bring his stage show to the outback. Felicia, a younger drag queen, and the grieving Bernadette. They set out for Alice Springs in a second-hand bus that they name 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'. the journey takes them to Broken Hill, Coober Pedy and are rescued by an open-minded mechanic when Priscilla breaks down in the desert. In Alice Springs, Tick meets the young son he barely knows and the three climb Kings Canyon together in full drag, before making their debut at the Alice Springs casino.
y separately published work icon Remembering Babylon David Malouf , London Milsons Point : Chatto and Windus Random House , 1993 Z452447 1993 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 48 units)

'In the mid-1840s, a thirteen-year-old boy, Gemmy Fairley, is cast ashore in the far north of Australia and taken in by Aborigines. Sixteen years later, when settlers reach the area, he moves back into the world of Europeans, men and women who are staking out their small patch of home in an alien place, hopeful and yet terrified of what it might do to them.

Given shelter by the McIvors, the family of the children who originally made contact with him, Gemmy seems at first to be guaranteed a secure role in the settlement, but there are currents of fear and mistrust in the air. To everyone he meets - from George Abbot, the romantically aspiring young teacher, to Mr Frazer, the minister, whose days are spent with Gemmy recording the local flora; from Janet McIvor, just coming to adulthood and discovering new versions of the world, to the eccentric Governor of Queensland himself - Gemmy stands as a different kind of challenge, as a force which both fascinates and repels. And Gemmy himself finds his own whiteness as unsettling in this new world as the knowledge he brings with him of the savage, the Aboriginal.' - Publisher's blurb (Chatto & Windus, 1993).

y separately published work icon Wake in Fright Kenneth Cook , London : Michael Joseph , 1961 Z560904 1961 single work novel (taught in 9 units)

Wake in Fright is the harrowing story of a young schoolteacher, John Grant, who leaves his isolated outback school to go on holidays to Sydney (and civilization). Things start to go horribly wrong, however, when stays overnight in a rough outback mining town called Bundanyabba. After a drink fuelled night, in which he loses all his momey, Grant finds himself both broke and stuck in the town with means of escape. He subsequently descends into a cycle of hangovers, fumbling sexual encounters, and increasing self-loathing as he becomes more and more immersed in the grotesque and surreal nightmare that is 'the Yabba.'

Description

A focus on exciting and innovative developments in Australian fiction, poetry and drama since is a feature of this unit. A

study is made of the movement away from the intense nationalism and the realism characteristic of Australian literature

in the early years of the twentieth century. Students consider the ways in which the spiritual and cultural uncertainties of

contemporary Australian life are reflected in the literature and film of the period and explore contemporary attitudes to

history, myth, memory, imagination and a changing awareness of 'place' in the national consciousness. Films include Mad

Max, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Castle.

Other Details

Offered in: 2011
Current Campus: Fremantle
Levels: Undergraduate
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