The concept of dramatic realism operates within Summer of the Seventeenth Doll through aspects such as the use of slang, language, set, costume approximates real life, natural language rhythms, relevance to society of that era, etc.
The refinements of life then began to surface, it is in this decade that Ray Lawler, Joan Sutherland and many more turned up.
A self-assertion was in the air, uncertainly expressed in a yearning to mix on terms of equality with those older civilizations thousands of servicemen had glimpsed during the war and from which a daily-increasing number of "new Australians" had come.
It was a worthy desire for self-improvement; but the methods first employed to achieve it were more like off-the-peg shopping expeditions than long-term investment in the natural resources.
This desire for self-improvement is expressed in Summer of the Seventeenth doll through Roo and Dowd. Roo being the older bloke with hopes of self-improvement, but Dowd being "new" on the job, younger and more capable.
This has an effect on Roo as it would on any Australian man back in the 1950s, where all the men are out struggling to get along with a hard laboring job. It was a tough time, and man's worst nightmare was failure, or the shame of growing old and becoming incapable of fulfilling previous duties/activities.