Archie Weller - "Stolen Car" AND Victoria Zabukovec - "The Young Stranger"

Essay by FuzBuzHigh School, 12th gradeB, April 2004

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Readers are often prompted to investigate the imbalance of power in society through representations of race or ethnicity. Discuss how race or ethnicity is represented in two short stories you have studied this year.

Race and ethnicity brings an imbalance of power in society. Archie Weller's "Stolen Car" and Victoria Zabukovec's "The Young Stranger" are examples of short stories which represent these imbalances through themes and issues and the characters presented in these two texts. The protagonist characters of Johnny and Ivan bring their differences into an Australian society. They have become alienated and victims of this defensive and intolerant world. Because of this, readers are placed in a sympathising position. They must investigate and distinguish the certain arbitrary and non-arbitrary characteristics that shape and construct these two characters.

The physical attributes of a person generally create the initial response in a society. The colour of your skin or the clothes that one wears generally sparks off judgments about that certain person.

Western society has constructed a generalisation that Aborigines commit crime and are considered as common trouble makers. Johnny has become trapped in this type of Western society, being considered an outcast. He is self-contained, powerless and oppressed in the city of Perth. He creates an imbalance of power in this society. "This is what he had come to Perth for. Enjoy yourself, then go home. But he can't go home now. Restless, uneasy and bitter, like the city that has adopted him." (Pg 93) This shows that Aborigines are stripped of their identity and culture in the city. It is an objective accomplished by the whites in hope to promote their authority and to obtain power, thus controlling it.

Ethnicity also creates different responses with many people. Race is not the only factor which creates controversy...