Indigenous in Jackie French’s Perspective as a White Author: Unsettling Narratives in Australian Children’s Book

  • Anandayu Suri Ardini Universitas Islam Indonesia

Abstract

How Australian children perceived the image of Indigenous from their readings is highly influenced by the authors. As many Australian children’s books are written by White authors, it is important to reveal whether their past and cultural background manifest in the image they built for Indigeneity. This study aims to reveal how Jackie French, a white Australian children’s book author, portrayed Indigenous characters and environment in her novels and to find out whether French creates a shift of the images as a form of her tendency to the major culture in Australia. The data were significant textual units from Nanberry Black Brother White novel and were analyzed using Bradford's post-colonial theory of unsettling narrative. The result of this study shows that French deliver a varying degree of Eurocentric mindset in portraying indigenous characters and characterization. It implies that French, as a White-Australian writer still possibly has a colonial mentality who, deliberately or not, positions the Indigenous characters as Others through the focalization of both Non-Indigenous and Indigenous characters themselves. For instance, in Nanberry Black Brother White, it appears that French try to justify whiteness as more civilized and a better race through Nanberry’s point of view as an Indigenous child character. It implies that the process of depicting Nanberry, the representation of Aborigines, in the novel is actually a justification for establishing an Eurocentric mindset through the character’s narratives, and therefore creates unsettling narratives.

References

Ashcroft, B. (1998). Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies. England: Psychology Press.

____________. (1989). The Empire Writes Back. London: Routledge.

Babb, Y. M., Mcburnie, J., Miller, K. K., May, Y., Mcburnie, J., & Tracking, K. K. M. (2017). Tracking the environment in Australian children ’ s literature : the Children ’ s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards 1955-2014 Tracking the environment in Australian children ’ s literature : the Awards 1955-2014. Environmental Education Research, 4622(May), 0. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2017.1326020

Bradford, C., Mallan, K., & Stephens, J. (n.d.). New world orders and the dystopian turn : transforming visions of territoriality and belonging in recent Australian children ’ s fiction. October 2014, 37–41. https://doi.org/10.1080/14443050802294091

Bradford, C. (2007). Unsettling Narratives: Postcolonial Readings of Children’s Literature. Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

____________. (2001). Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children’s Literature. Australia: Melbourne University Press.

____________. (2000). “Saved by the Word: Textuality and Colonization in Nineteenth-century Australian Texts for Children,” Voices of the Other: Children’s Literature and the Postcolonial Context. (Edit. Roderick McGillis). Hal. 89-110.

____________. (1996). “Centre and Edges: Postcolonial Literary Theory and Australian Picture Books,” Writing the Australian Child: Texts and Contexts in Fiction for Children. (Edit. Clare Bradford). Hal. 92-110.

Brewster, A., & Brewster, A. (2008). Humour and the defamiliarization of whiteness in the short fiction of Australian indigenous writer Alf Taylor Australian indigenous writer Alf Taylor. October 2014, 37–41. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449850802410564

Broome, R. (2001). Aboriginal Australians: Black Responses to White Dominance 1788-2001. Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Clear, C. (2001). “The Portrayal of Aboriginal Life in Australian Children’s Books,” Australian Children’s Literature: Finding a Voice. (Edit. Michael Stone).

Cowan, J. G. (1992). The Elements of the Aborigine Tradition. USA: Element, Inc.

Coates, K. S. (2004). A Global History of Indigenous People: Struggle and Survival. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

French, J. (2011). Nanberry Black Brother White. Australia: Angus and Robertson.

Hall, M. (2018). The Whiteness of the Bomb : Nuclear Weaponry , Race and the Nation in Australian Indigenous Poetics The Whiteness of the Bomb : Nuclear Weaponry , Race and the Nation in Australian Indigenous Poetics. 2856. https://doi.org/10.1080/20512856.2018.1546649

Hancock, J. (1993). “Aboriginal Voices in The Fat and Juicy Place,” Australian Children’s Literature: Finding a Voice. (Edit. Michael Stone). 27 March, 1993, page 69-78.

Hunt, P., and Sands, K. (n.d) “The View from the Centre: British Empire and Post-Empire Children’s Literature,” Voices of the Other: Children’s Literature and the Postcolonial Context. (Edit. Roderick McGillis). page. 39-54.

McGillis, R. (2000). Voices of the Other: Children’s Literature in the Postcolonial Context. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.

Oakley, M. (1985). Our Society and Others. Sydney: McGraw Hills.

Sambell, K. (2003). “The Quest for the Perfect Planet: the British Secondary World as Utopia and Dystopia, 1945-1999,” Utopian and Dystopian: Writing for Children and Young Adults. (Edit. Carrie Hints dan Elaine Ostry). page. 179-195.

Saxby, M., & Saxby, M. (2016). Researching Australian children’s literature. 9670(June). https://doi.org/10.1080/00049670.2004.10721615

Saxby, M. (1998). Offered to Children: A History of Australian Children’s Literature 1841-1941. Australia: Scholastic.

Stephens, J. (n.d.) “Continuity, Fissure, or Dysfunction: From Settler Society to Multicultural Society in Australian Fiction,” Voices of the Other: Children’s Literature and the Postcolonial Context. (Edit. Roderick McGillis). page. 55-70.
Published
2020-12-29
How to Cite
ARDINI, Anandayu Suri. Indigenous in Jackie French’s Perspective as a White Author: Unsettling Narratives in Australian Children’s Book. J-Lalite: Journal of English Studies, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, p. 149-160, dec. 2020. ISSN 2723-357X. Available at: <http://jos.unsoed.ac.id/index.php/jes/article/view/3571>. Date accessed: 25 feb. 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.20884/1.jes.2020.1.2.3571.
Section
Articles