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Once Were Warriors vs No Sugar

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To what extent do the two texts present similar or different criticisms of society? Both No Sugar, written by Jack Davis and Once Were Warriors directed by Lee Tamohori use a number of different themes to present extensively similar criticisms of society. In the play No Sugar, an indigenous family depicts the injustices and problems they face with both the white man and themselves. Also, in Once Were Warriors we see a Maori family struggling to cope with the harsh life they face in their run-down community overrun by gangs and crime. In both texts, the audience sees colonialist policies in extreme poverty, substance abuse, racism, violence and the effects of disintegration of the family. A major theme that is brought to light in Once Were Warriors and No Sugar is the effects of colonialism. In both texts, the characters endure racist policies and are exploited by the "white man laws" and as a consequence left disenfranchised from society. In Once Were Warriors, Tamohori contrasts Jake against Beth to illustrate how the loss of one's pride and tradition ultimately leads to their downfall. Jake is described as a "slave" and is clearly a victim to the laws imposed from the white invasion, opposed to Beth, who knows of a better life, involving family culture and traditions rather than crime and alcoholism; the two key reasons leading to Jake's demise. ...read more.


This is evident when we see the son Mark in conflict with the law for misbehavior, consequently being sent to a youth camp. Unlike No Sugar, the camp that Mark is sent to proves to be a positive change in his life, one which ultimately alters the trends of his own family when he returns home. Compared to No Sugar, the racist treatment of these characters essentially produces a negative impact within their own lives and the lives of their families. Nevertheless, the creators purposely portray this theme in both texts to highlight it within our society, and in effect, through analyzing both texts the audience can notice significant gains that the characters from Once Were Warriors benefit from while the characters from No Sugar suffer as a result. Exposed in both texts, as a result of lost pride, was the theme of substance abuse, namely alcohol. Within the two texts, alcohol abuse plays a significant role in only the lives of the men, ultimately determining their behavior towards the others. In Once Were Warriors, the presence of alcohol is apparent in the majority of scenes. The main character, Jake 'The Muss', relies on alcohol as a coping mechanism for the harsh, marginalized life he leads, but the affect it has on him and his family proves to be detrimental. ...read more.


"[It] won't be easy, just gotta find the money...we will, I promise". This demonstrates the reassuring attitude Beth, as a mother, has towards her children despite the severe events that occur in the family, as well as the significant role in keeping her family strong and together. In the same way, Gran displays the sense of comfort and conciliation in No Sugar. Unlike Beth, Gran produces this sense of comfort through constantly resorting to their own people's traditional songs. The existence of Gran is paramount to the survival of those around her in that through her knowledge of traditional Aboriginal ways, she brings comfort, support and hope of a better future at times where something so out of reach seems possible. The societies shown in Once Were Warriors and No Sugar are similarly presented in a critical light as both Davis and Tamohori demonstrate the conditions brought about by the effects of colonialism. Both texts also depict the power of women, and the hope they provide the surrounding characters for a better future. Both texts, intentionally, finish in a similar way in that the audience are instilled with a sense of hope that through reconnection with their heritage the characters may escape the control of the oppressive society they inhabit. Word Count: 1,287 ?? ?? ?? ?? Stage 2 English Studies ...read more.

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