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Thea Astley's It's raining in mango

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Introduction

Prose Long Essay: it's raining in mango A literary text often acts as a reflection of the society of the time in which it was written. The particular value systems or ideologies of the characters and character groups represented in the text inform the reader of those characters' cultural identities. In Thea Astley's it's raining in mango, the author offers many representations of cultural identity. Through the story of the Laffey's, Astley provides an alternative to the mainstream society's representation of cultural identity and challenges traditional beliefs regarding Australia. it's raining in mango is set in Australia, and follows the story of the Laffey family from 1860 to 1980. The characters endure some of the major events in Australia's history, such as the gold rush of the 1860s, the depression, both World Wars, and the horrific treatment of the Aboriginal population. From these events came the 'Australian identity'; what mainstream society believed to be the traits and characteristics unique to the 'typical' Australian. From the First World War sprung the legend of the heroic ANZAC, and Australians were regarded as the resilient 'battler' with a strong sense of humour and laid-back attitude. Camaraderie and mateship were highly valued. The patriarchal ideologies of the society meant that women were expected to be submissive, and function solely in the domestic sphere, while men were the providers and "bread-winners". ...read more.

Middle

Connie recognises that "only the family as she knows it has cohesion, provides a core". She understands the unbreakable bond between her family throughout the centuries, and the fact that they are inextricably linked to each other by the knowledge that they are Laffey's. The bond between Connie and Will reminds the reader of the importance of family in a time when many families were being ripped apart by the tragedy of the Second World War. For the main characters, the family home in Mango is their place of return, a place to come back to for sanctuary and security. This emphasis on strong family values informs the reader of a cultural identity that is very different to the one offered by mainstream society, in the text. Along with a strong family connection, the main characters also have a strong connection to the land. While the settlers in the text saw the land as something to be battled with, the Laffey's learnt to harmonise with the land, and see it as something to be protected. Reever represents the values of the Laffey family through his acting out as a conservationist, and Clytie and Harry's struggle to save their farm during the Depression displays their concern for the land. It is this connection to the family and the land, similar to Aboriginal values, that sets the Laffey family's representation of cultural identity apart from that of mainstream society. ...read more.

Conclusion

They believe in love, peace, and freedom, and regularly smoke marijuana. The hippies don't have real names, and they are constructed as drifters, travelling and moving whenever the mood seizes them. The values and ideologies of the hippies create their cultural identity, however their attitudes and actions are hypocritical, and position the reader to question the validity of the hippies' cultural identity. The members of the cult are constructed as surreal, surrounded by a blue haze. The reader sees them through the point of view of Connie, and the odd characters are almost satirised. Astley uses the cult to make another attack on institutionalised religion, suggesting that they are no better than the Father Madigans or Father Rassinis of the world, as they place their absolute faith in the intangible. Their inability to act in an emergency, such as when Connie saves the drowned man, highlights the ineffectiveness of their beliefs. The cult members' representation of cultural identity is informed through their value systems and ideologies, and is used by Astley to comment on the ineffectiveness of having faith solely in the divine, and no faith in self. In Thea Astley's it's raining in mango, the author has revealed several representations of cultural identity. She has revealed the cultural identities created by the mainstream society of the text, and then offered alternatives to these assumptions through the story of the Laffey family and other surrounding characters. The value systems and ideologies of these characters are what create the cultural identities for these groups. ...read more.

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