Rabbit Proof Fence Letter Essay

Life writing or Indigenous life writing?

Considering Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence as memoir and life writing

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence is described as a ‘memoir’ by the Reading Australia Project. Many people have considered how this text and the form of the memoir belong to the genre, or type of text, known as life writing.

Life writing involves, and goes beyond, biography. It is a special form of creativity that involves using the writer’s memory, research skills and powers of description to tell a story. Life writing embraces the lives of objects and institutions as well as the lives of individuals, families and groups.

Marlene Kadar describes life writing as a ‘genre of documents written out of life or unabashedly out of personal experience of the writer’. Life writing includes texts which are fictional and non-fictional and which are linked by what Kardar describes as a ‘thematic concern of life or self’.

Critic and biographer Hermione Lee argues that life writing gives people different ways to tell their story through such forms as memoir, personal essay, autobiography, diary, journalism, letters, oral testimony and eye witness accounts, blogs, social media such as Twitter or Facebook, and even fiction. Lee argues that the process of life writing occurs when ‘the distinction between autobiography and biography is blurred’.

Max Saunders responded to Lee’s view of life writing by agreeing that the division between autobiography and biography is not so distinct. He observes how a ‘memoir of someone else, by virtue of the fact that you are writing about them because they are important in your life, will be part of your autobiography’.

What is a memoir?

Etymology

‘Memoir’ comes from the Latin memoria, or memory. The word ‘memoir’ dates from the early fifteenth century. It comes from the Anglo French word memorie, meaning a note or something written to be kept in mind. The definition of a memoir as a ‘person’s written account of his or her life’ dates from the 1670s.

Memoir: definition

  • A memoir is a written account in which a person describes past experiences.
  • A memoir is a history or record composed from personal observation and experience of the subject matter.
  • Memoir is closely related to autobiography. In an autobiography the writer is concerned chiefly with themselves as their subject matter.
  • However, a memoir will be more concerned with external events. Writers of memoir have usually closely observed or played roles in the historical events they depict.
  • The main purpose of a memoir is to describe or interpret the events described.

Features of the text

The current edition of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence published by UQP contains:

  • a biography of the author
  • short reviews
  • a title page
  • a page with publishing details
  • a dedication
  • a table of contents
  • acknowledgments
  • a map
  • an introduction
  • eight numbered and titled chapters
  • a glossary of Mardujara words
  • a list of references.

Ask students to compile a list of the elements in their own edition of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence. Then ask them to reflect on what this list of elements reveals about the nature of this text.

  • What does each element help the author to achieve?
  • How might they persuade the reader that this is a true story?

Where to begin?

Many readers of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence will know the story of the girls’ journey from Philip Noyce’s film adaptation. They may be surprised to discover that the memoir starts at a far earlier time in the history of Indigenous Australians than does the film, which begins in the early 1930s.

Before shifting to the experiences of the Mardu people and the journey along the Rabbit-Proof Fence, the memoir depicts Nyungah (also spelled Nyungar and Noongah) society in the period prior to contact with the European colonists of Western Australia. The Nyungah are the Indigenous Australian people who first encountered European colonists following the temporary establishment of a British military outpost at King George’s Sound in 1826. The founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829 and the arrival and expansion of white settlement saw the Nyungah people suffer the loss of family, land, culture and autonomy. Doris Pilkington Garimara imagines and recounts their experience before she shifts to explore the impact of white settlement on the Mardu peoples.

Discussion questions

‘The Nyungah people who once walked tall and proud, now hung their head in sorrow.’ (Chapter 3:  The Decline of Aboriginal Society)

Ask students the following:

  • Discuss the reasons why Doris Pilkington Garimara chose to depict the events that occur prior to the journey of the girls along the Rabbit-Proof Fence.
  • Consider the characterisation of figures such as Kundilla and Yellagonga.
  • How are they depicted and why are they presented in such a manner?
  • What are the world views of Kundilla and Lockyer? How are they contrasted to reveal alternative views of land and culture?

The Introduction

Many readers may be tempted to skip over the Introduction but it is an important element of the text because of the ways it introduces the reader to some of the differences between the cultures and world view of white Australians and Indigenous Australians. The Introduction also reveals the challenges facing the writer in telling this story.

One strategy teachers might employ to engage students with the Introduction and the earlier chapters of the memoir is to use extracts from the audio book version. The memoir is read by Indigenous actor, narrator and director, Rachael Maza. The audio recording is available as a CD or MP3 from the ABC Shops and online (see Referenced works).

In the Introduction, Doris Pilkington Garimara reveals herself to be a literate and numerate historian who is writing stories about members of her family who are not literate or numerate in a Western sense. However, Daisy and Molly are literate and numerate in their own cultures. In the Introduction, the writer reveals she had to ‘synthesise . . . different forms of knowledge about time and place’ in order to tell the story.

Before students begin, ask them to:

  • Imagine you were writing a memoir about the story of your family.
  • Make a list of all the ways you would research their story.
  • Make a list of the challenges and problems you might face in trying to research and tell this story.

Discussion questions:

  • How does the Introduction reveal how Molly and Daisy think differently about time, place and the ways stories are told?
  • From your reading of the Introduction, what were the challenges facing Doris Pilkington Garimara when she attempted to tell this story?
  • How did she seek to overcome these challenges?
  • Describe some elements of the process used by Doris Pilkington Garimara to research and tell the story of her family.

Research: seasonal time

Nganjinanga calendar yamba kari. Yamba nganjin Bamangka juku nyajil-nyajil.
Yinya juku binalbajaku nganjin bama jarra yala.

We don’t have a calendar. Bama story goes by the tree. The tree knows better than we do.

(Peter Fischer, ‘Indigenous Australians’ knowledge of weather and climate‘)

Discuss with students how information about plants and animals and the seasonal calendar assisted Doris Pilkington Garimara to correlate the journey with the western calendar and western ways of thinking about time. Then ask students to research the use of seasonal calendars amongst Indigenous Australian cultures. They might focus on researching the seasonal calendars used by an Indigenous Australian culture whose traditional lands are located close to their school community. Useful information can be found on:

The Larrakia or Gulumoerrgin calendar is another rich online resource for teachers and students exploring the idea of seasonal calendars. Gulumoerrgin is the language for Darwin and the surrounding regions of Cox Peninsula and Gunn Point in the Northern Territory.

Glossary of Mardujara words

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence provides rich opportunities for students to consider the ways Indigenous life writing incorporates Standard Australian English, Aboriginal English and vocabulary from traditional languages such as Mardu Wangka.

Students should discuss the possible reasons for the inclusion of the Glossary of Mardujara words and the use of Nyungah and Mardujara vocabulary throughout the memoir. What is the effect of including such language in the memoir?

Close reading activity: survival guide

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence is often read as a story of survival and resistance. Key to the success of the girls was their knowledge of the land that they had learned from their family.

This activity requires students to read the text closely for evidence of how the girls were able to complete their journey of over 1500 miles in nine weeks.

Ask students to:

  • Construct a manual or guide book which outlines how to survive in the bush while travelling along the Rabbit-Proof Fence.
  • Use evidence from the memoir to show how the girls:
    • concealed themselves from detection by the authorities
    • sourced food and water
    • sourced warmth and shelter
    • worked out their location and the direction in which to travel.

The table below could be used as part of a reading journal that students complete as they read Chapter Eight (which comprises over one third of the memoir):

 StrategyEvidence/QuotationChapter and page reference

Alternative approach

Students might instead prefer to complete this activity by developing another type of text.
(ACELT1773)(ACELY1744)(ACELY1745)(ACELY1746)(ACELY1748)(EN5-6C)(EN5-2A)(EN5-1A)

Task: dialogue

Ask students to compose a dialogue between Doris Pilkington Garimara and her mother Molly in which they discuss how the three girls managed to survive during the journey from Moore River to Jigalong. The discussion should focus on the strategies that the girls used to survive in the bush and to evade detection and capture by the authorities. Students should include information on how the girls managed to acquire food and shelter and use their close reading of the text to inform this discussion.(ACELT1773)(ACELY1744)(ACELY1745)(ACELY1746)(ACELY1748)(EN5-6C)(EN5-2A)(EN5-1A)


Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
as Indigenous life writing

It is worthwhile to allow the voices of Indigenous Australians to explain and define what is meant by Indigenous life writing. Daniel Browning, host of AWAYE! on ABC Radio National, describes it thus:

For a long time writing is something that happened to Aboriginal people. We all understand the power of the written word to turn other human beings into objects without a voice of their own. But more and more Aboriginal people are writing their own life stories. Whatever you like to call it – autobiography, biography, memoir – Indigenous life writing is emerging as a literary genre of its own.

In the same program, Frances Peters-Little, Indigenous Australian academic, musician and filmmaker, says:

Life writing is very quickly, it’s fast becoming one of the most popular ways that, internationally, people are learning about Indigenous peoples’ culture, life, history, life stories . . . autobiography and biography is really the voices of the people themselves who are getting that message across . . .

The nature of Indigenous life writing in Australia

Christine Olsen, screenwriter and producer of the film adaptation, Rabbit-Proof Fence,says this about the book: ‘The book was told very quietly, almost passively . . .’

Frances Peters-Little adds that it is:

. . . far more inclusive in the way Indigenous people talk about their life stories. We don’t say this is a story about me, we say this is a story about me, my people, my land . . . (it is) much more communal, personal and inclusive of our
family ties . . . It doesn’t have to be academic, formal . . . all people with all education levels, gender, goes across, gives more voices to more people to actually speak, have access. The mysterious thing about Indigenous knowledge is totally, you know, broken away . . . You have got that diversity . . . (that) vast variety of Aboriginal life experiences and they are all being expressed from those different views . . . you can have that voice . . .

Ask students to consider how Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence reflects the views expressed by Christine Olsen and Frances Peters-Little about the nature of Indigenous life writing:

  • How is the memoir a quiet and almost passive story?
  • How is it an inclusive piece of life writing?
  • How do we see that it is an academic and formal piece of writing? How does the reader see that it is not always academic and formal?

(ACELA1550)(ACELA1553)(ACELT1635)(ACELT1773)(ACELY1739)(ACELY1746)(ACELY1748)(ACELY1744)(EN5-3B)(EN5-2A)(EN5-7D)(EN5-6C)(EN5-8D)(EN5-1A)

Names and naming: students compose their own life writing

Doris Pilkington Garimara says: ‘Any person who was a member of the Stolen Generations owns their story.‘

Names in Indigenous Australian cultures

Many Indigenous Australians may have more than one name. They may have a European first name and surname. They may have a bush name or traditional name from their own Indigenous language. They may even have a nickname. A nickname is a replacement name for a person or thing, often given in affection or familiarity. Sometimes a nickname will shorten a name.  A nickname might only be used by certain groups of people that you know. The word nickname dates from the fifteenth century Middle English word ekename, meaning an alternative name.

Doris Pilkington Garimara’s mother gave her the first name of Nugi. However, she was renamed Doris after Mary Dunnet, her mother’s employer at Balfour Down’s Station, expressed her belief that Nugi ‘was a stupid name’.

Many members of Indigenous Australian cultures also have a skin name. Some contemporary Aboriginal people will use their skin name in a way that is similar to a surname. Doris Pilkington Garimara uses the skin name (garimara, also spelled karimarra) of her mother as a surname.

Skin names are a feature of the kinship system in some Indigenous Australian cultures. The kinship system is a feature of the way Aboriginal people organise their society and family relationships. It is a complex system that determines people’s roles and how they relate to each other. It includes responsibilities and obligations to each other, in ceremonial business and in relation to the land. The kinship system will decide who an individual may marry, their relationships in ceremonies, their role at funerals and the way they can behave and interact with their kin. For more information, see the Central Land Council website.

In Mardu or Mardujara culture, the kin system consists of four sections or skin names. The number of sections or skin names can vary across different groups of Indigenous Australian peoples.

Section or skin name
(female)
Marries
(male)
Children
 KarimarraPanakaPal.yarri
 PanakaKarimarra Purungu
 Purungu Pal.yarri Panaka


Task

This activity focuses on the significance and meaning of names and naming in people’s lives. Students have the opportunity to complete a piece of life writing and may choose between an activity that draws from their own life experience or one that is based on an interview with a family member or family friend.

This activity does not require students to complete life writing about a member of the Stolen Generations. These stories belong to them and students are rather given the opportunity to share their own stories or those from family members from whom they have sought permission.
(ACELA1550)(ACELA1553)(ACELT1635)(ACELT1773)(ACELY1739)(ACELY1746)(ACELY1748)(EN5-3B)(EN5-2A)(EN5-7A)(EN5-6C)(EN5-8D)(EN5-1A)

Life writing about your names: pre-writing

  • Make a list of all the names people call you by.
  • In a table, identify who calls you by each of these names.
  • Are there any rules or preferences you might possess about who might be allowed to call you by a particular name?
NameWho calls you this name

Activity

Choice 1: Life writing about names

Compose a piece of life writing in which you explore the significance or origin of one or more of your names. This might include:

  • the meaning or symbolism of your first name
  • an explanation of the origin of your family name – or what some people might call surname. You may have more than one family name or surname.
  • an explanation of how you acquired a nickname.

OR

Choice 2: Life writing about names: oral history and interview

Frances Peters-Little says:

Let’s not forget we are an oral history culture, with traditional oral histories, and that is our way of telling stories . . . We should be encouraging more and more
people to collect these oral stories to be recorded now. Go out and grab those stories . . . firsthand primary sources . . .

Let’s remember in terms of schools and academia, and whatever, the way in which the colonised society is dominated in education is because they wrote everything down. Well, now it’s about time we recorded all of our stuff so we can make up for the stories that haven’t been recorded and that has to be done orally.

The written manuscript of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence began when Doris Pilkington Garimara began to record in writing the stories told to her by her mother Molly. Indigenous Australian cultures have a tradition of oral storytelling. This task allows students to experience the collection of oral storytelling.

Students should interview a family member or family friend about the names they have acquired over their lifetime:

  • Ask them to begin by considering the ways their names have changed or been added to over their lifetime. (These changes or additions may be due to marriage, becoming a grandparent or through other connections to people and places.)
  • Please remember that the person who you interview owns their own life story.
  • Explain that you are completing a piece of life writing as part of your school work in English and that the audience will include your teacher.
  • Discuss with the person which of their stories they are happy to share with you orally and those which they feel comfortable being shared in a written form with a wider audience.
  • Use your notes from this interview to complete a piece of life writing about their names. You may write about all their names or just one or two of them.
  • Share a copy of your writing with the person you have interviewed.

(ACELT1633)(ACELT1635)(ACELT1773)(ACELY1742)(EN5-8D)(EN5-7D)(EN5-6C)(EN5-2A)

Activity: describing and classifying Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

In reviews and articles, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence has been described in the following ways:

  • autobiographical novel
  • fictionalised account
  • true account
  • novelised version of history
  • true story
  • novel
  • life writing
  • non-fiction
  • Aboriginal literature
  • true story
  • biography
  • history

The Reading Australia project describes Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence as a memoir.

Allocate one or more of these terms from the list to small groups within the class.

  • First, ask students to provide a brief definition of the term they have been allocated.
  • Students may need to use a dictionary to seek out definitions of some of the terms on this list.
  • Ask students to explain, based on their reading, why the text might be described using this term. Do they agree or disagree with the use of this term? Are there particular parts of the text that merit the use of this term more than others?
  • Having read About the Author, the short biography of Doris Pilkington Garimara, ask them to explain why they believe Reading Australia prefers to use the term ‘memoir’ to describe the text.
  • How might considering this list of terms help students to understand the nature of life writing and Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence?
  • Which elements of the text (have students return to their list of the elements of the memoir) feel more appropriate to or suggest the term they have been allocated?

Discussion

How is the memoir a hybrid text? A hybrid is a mixed thing made of different elements.

Ask students to discuss:

  • Why do you think it suited Doris Pilkington Garimara to use elements of a range of texts in her piece of writing?
  • How might the form and structure of the text reflect her life experience?

(ACELA1553)(ACELT1633)(ACELT1635)(ACELT1636)(ACELY1742)(ACELY1744)(ACELY1745)(EN5-2A)(EN5-8D)(EN5-7D)(EN5-4B)(EN5-1A)

Rabbit Proof Fence Essay Words StudyMode Ap psychology test questions essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Mr Neville Characterization Essay Homework Ap psychology test questions essay.

MAKASSAR Ap psychology test questions essay.

Video SlidePlayer.

Rabbit Proof Fence Australia The Case for Global Film The Ending of The Dark Knight Trilogy Finally Explained.

Research Paper For Leonardo Da Vinci SDVASSIGNMENTRYX WEB FC COM Avisoft recorder comparison essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Media Coursework GCSE English Marked by Document image preview.

Buy essay online safe harbor Example of thesis abstract in english my favourite teacher essay in marathi wikipedia we buy paper money example of a Sadachar Passion for Movies blogger.

No Sugar by Jack Davis English Works.

dawe breakthrough essay isb essay help taalkunde argument essay essay on the decriminalization of cannabis kurt and johan Rabbit proof fence mr neville Carpinteria Rural Friedrich.

rabbit proof fence essay term papers wordsrabbit proof fence essay custom writing blog.

About a boy book report Bitch Flicks.

How to write a commentary essay for english Ap psychology test questions essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Film Study by Victor D on Prezi Rabbit proof Fence Comparison Essay Rubric image .

Walter benjamin kafka essay Gender Roles Essay Writing help Articles Essays Term .

Essay over pollution.

An essay about rabbit proof fence Roger Ebert.

Resume reasons for leaving employment Coaching Meditation Rabbit Proof Fence Trailer.

Movie Feast Capsule Review Rabbit Proof Fence Rabbit Proof Fence shows us one of the blind spots in history At one point Neville states about aboriginals If only they would understand what we are .

Rabbit proof fence essays.

Ap psychology test questions essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Australia The Case for Global Film.

Rabbit Proof Fence Movie Essay Topics Essay for you Coaching Meditation.

Rabbit Proof Fence Australia The Case for Global Film Rabbit proof Fence Comparison Essay Rubric image .

Rabbit Proof Fence Paget English Voluntary Action Orkney.

Rabbit Proof Fence film .

Essay writing Writing about film Part THE RETURN Brought to The Case for Global Film WordPress com Describe a difficult situation essay Kids Under One Roof the rabbit proof fence essay analysis.

Rabbit proof fence essay journey sifakosesi com Rabbit proof fence essay journey sifakosesi com.

Rabbit Proof Fence Essay AcaDemon com.

Rabbit Proof Fence Paget English SlideShare.

Essay on sadachar in sanskrit language SlideShare.

Rabbit proof fence essays SBS.

Rabbit Proof Fence Topics World Australia Char Dev Human .

Document image preview Mynovomoskovsk ru.

English Dr W E Roth and A Meston Dr W E Roth the protector of.

will be proof culture fence rabbit essays could take the.

if rabbit proof fence culture essays best essay For some rabbit proof fence culture essays though Marked by Teachers.

Rabbit proof fence essays belonging College paper Academic .

Rabbit Proof Fence Cheat Sheet Movie News SBS Movies.

Rabbit proof fence essays SBS.

Essay on good friendships Tes Satanic frankfurt school adorno benjamin marcuse lukacs brecht weill eco derrida vampire addiction implant blockages vampire sexual addiction .

Rabbit Proof Fence Movie Essay Topics Essay for you Ap psychology test questions essay.

Passion for Movies Rabbit Proof Fence A Cultural Genocide .

Rabbit Proof Fence IMDb.

Rabbit Proof Fence Film Reviews Films Spirituality Practice.

Ryan hunter dickerson essay SlideShare.

Rabbit Proof Fence Cheat Sheet Movie News SBS Movies Rabbit proof Fence Comparison Essay Rubric image .

Rabbit Proof Fence Movie Essay Topics Essay for you Ap psychology test questions essay.

An essay about rabbit proof fence rabbit proof fence essay term papers wordsrabbit proof fence essay custom writing blog.

Rabbit proof Fence Comparison Essay Rubric Essay for you.

Rabbit Proof Fence .

An essay about rabbit proof fence.

rabbit proof fence film essay Ap psychology test questions essay Crito argument essay topics.

Rabbit Proof Fence Australia Figures Ap psychology test questions essay.

Essay over pollution Bitch Flicks Rabbits are still considered one of Australia s foremost environmental pests .

Racist Attitudes In Rabbit Proof Fence Mynovomoskovsk ru.

Walter benjamin kafka essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Australia The Case for Global Film.

Rabbit proof Fence Comparison Essay Rubric Essay for you Mynovomoskovsk ru.

Rabbit Proof Fence Racism Kidnapping and Forced Education Down .

Rabbit Proof Fence Mr Neville Characterization Essay image The Case for Global Film WordPress com.

Related Post of Rabbit proof fence essays Viola ru.

Rabbit Proof Fence Movie Essay Topics Essay for you Ap psychology test questions essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Quotes by Joanne Boyle on Prezi Ap psychology test questions essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Mr Neville Characterization Essay Homework Clear Writing Language and Grammar.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples.

Amandine Mallen Paris Essay on the rabbit proof fence film Amandine Mallen Paris Essay on the rabbit proof fence film.

Rabbit Proof Fence Australia The Case for Global Film.

Rabbit proof fence essay mr neville Ap psychology test questions essay Rabbit Proof Fence A Cultural Genocide.

Rabbit Proof Fence Film Reviews Films Spirituality Practice.

Document image preview The Case for Global Film WordPress com.

Describe a difficult situation essay Kids Under One Roof the rabbit proof fence essay analysis.

Essay on rabbit proof fence dradgeeport web fc com Rabbit Proof Fence Articles David Campany.

Rabbit Proof Fence Australia Figures .

Racist Attitudes In Rabbit Proof Fence Prezi Avisoft recorder comparison essay.

Ap english language and composition essay sample Roger Ebert.

An investigation into the codes and conventions of Disney animation .

Rabbit proof fence analyse Mynovomoskovsk ru.

Free pledge of allegiance papers essays and research papers The Case for Global Film WordPress com.

Knights templar essay The Case for Global Film WordPress com.

Essay over pollution SlidePlayer.

Essay on rabbit proof fence.

Rabbit proof Fence Comparison Essay Rubric Essay for you SlideShare.

Having touched upon the great effort that went into constructing and maintaining what was in the end a decidedly un Rabbit Proof Fence Roger Ebert.

The .

Rabbit Proof Fence Film Study by Victor D on Prezi SparkLife The Spark.

Rabbit Proof Fence Paget English SlideShare Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence Book Essay Questions image .

Why Clay From Reasons Why Looks So Familiar.

Rabbit proof fence essays .

Rabbit proof fence essay journey sifakosesi com Pleasant River Garden Club Rabbit proof fence essay journey sifakosesi com Pleasant River Garden Club Ap psychology test questions essay.

Rabbit Proof Fence Paget English.

Rabbit Proof Fence IMDb Viola ru.

Rabbit Proof Fence Quotes by Joanne Boyle on Prezi Perspectives On Language And Language .

Rabbit proof fence essays Voluntary Action Orkney.

Write essay for ticket to inauguration Ap psychology test questions essay.

Best images about rabbit proof fence on Pinterest David Ap psychology test questions essay Video.

Racist Attitudes In Rabbit Proof Fence No Sugar by Jack Davis.

Rabbit proof fence movie essay samples Racist Attitudes in the Movie Rabbit Proof Fence Mehdi Hassanian esfahani GS .

Related post for Rabbit proof fence essay mr neville

0 thoughts on “Rabbit Proof Fence Letter Essay”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *