Analytical Response – Refugee Refugee, a novel by Alan Sunderland conveys the horrific qualities of Australia by showing us the view of a 12-year-old boy, a refugee who has to live in a detention centre for 12 months in the Australian outback. Sunderland condemns the fact that Australia has closed doors and is not letting refugees into its world. Sunderland encourages the reader to feel empathy for the plight of those seeking refuge from other countries and exhorts us to embrace an Australian Identity of acceptance.
I define the concept of Australian identity as being loving, welcoming, and caring as well as the bonding of mateship and friendship. However, Alan Sunderland portrays the Australian Identity as racist, untrustworthy, and unaccepting towards refugees. One aspect of Australian Identity explored in this novel is mistrust. When the refugees came to Australia, they were seeking freedom from the horrible past they had endured. The refugees told their stories to the immigration officials in hope of freedom, but they were not trusted and sent to a detention centre in Woomera.
The repetition of “we were kept in a prison” emphasises the desperate need of the refugees who are being ignored by the Australians who refuse to let them free. We are encouraged to despise the mistrust shown and to understand their desperate situation. Another aspect of Australian Identity shown is Racism. In this novel, when life is at its worst for the refugees in the camp, the guards and officers ordered a priest to talk to them. However, the priest could only talk to the few Afghanis who were Catholic or Christian.
The authorities would not organise representatives for people of other beliefs such as Muslims or Pashtuns. The phrase “You are not allowed to see the priest. You are not Baptists or Christians so you cannot see the priest” said by the guards shows that they call the Christians “Baptists” and “Pure Ones” indicates racism and non-multiculturalism. This is written to show that the guards don’t care about the refugees and that they are calling the few that are Christian “Pure ones. ” This could be described as racism or refusal to accept multiculturalism.
Alan Sunderland is therefore trying to get the reader to embrace multiculturalism and accept and understand different religions and beliefs. The reader is encouraged to feel pity for them and recognition of each individual and their beliefs. Although Alan Sunderland writes about how Australia has these horrific qualities, he also depicts that not all Australians are racist and prejudiced towards the refugees Some Australians are actually accepting and welcoming towards the refugees. In the novel, the authorities helped the children, who didn’t have parents with them, to live a slightly more normal life while still in detention.
They chose a number of children to fly to Adelaide and go to a normal school, while still being restricted and protected. Sunderland writes this to show the reader that although Australia has strict policies, it can still show mercy. Also in the novel, a group of protesting Australians come to Woomera and claim that the refugees should be let free. “Free the refugees,” “Freedom in Australia” and “They are not terrorists” are some of the things the protesters yell to encourage a spirit of acceptance.
The use of active verbs “Shaking” and “Rattling” of the fence at Woomera emphasises the fact that the Australians are making an effort and encouraging hatred towards the guards and expressing their understanding of the refugees. This is intended to encourage the reader to feel empathy for the refugees, but also to feel compassion to the protesters. Sunderland has used an array of sophisticated techniques successfully to convey the hardships he endured in his life. Refugee is an inspiring novel of a long, treacherous journey through Australia that has changed my perspective on life and broadened my understanding of Australian Identity.
Cite this Refugee – by Alan Sunderland
Refugee – by Alan Sunderland. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/refugee-by-alan-sunderland/