"Deadly Unna?" by Philip Gwynne

Essay by dre_Junior High, 8th gradeB, February 2007

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The book "Deadly Unna?" is a novel written by Philip Gwynne, and uses the first person narrative view to good effect. The book looks at the uneasy friendship of the sardonically white boy, whose name is Blacky, and his aboriginal "Nunga" friend Dumby Red, and precisely explores the idea that there are negatives and positives in both societies of black and white. Using great description, surroundings, colloquialism and characters, Deadly Unna, depicts the prejudice shown in the small, white town of Port.

The storyline orbits around two boys in their mid-teens who become mates on the footy field. It describes life in the country town and the steady awakening in Gary Black the Goonya (white fella) of the realities and unfairness of racism. Gary Black (Blacky) is now dealing with the fact that what he had believed in before - racist comments and grafittis-that it is no longer to be laughed at and racism is not right, for now it involved his good mate Dumby Red and his growing affection for Clarence, Dumby's sister.

The book's themes include family relationships, independence, self-identity, racism, unfairness and friendship. The style in which it was narrated is engaging and quirky, with uses of slang and colloquial, while teenagers can easily follow the storyline and the football pieces of the novel should interest the male teenagers.

Deadly Unna? is a simply astonishing book about racism in the world, the world where different races count. Sometimes the difference between the Goonyas (whites) and the Nungas (Aboriginals) is easily identified by their football skills -- where Nungas would "buggerise around them flanks" rather than Goonyas who "Go for the guts every time you get that ball" -- or the fact that according to Dumby, everyone at the Point is "my cousin, unna?". It's also...