The adults have dominance over their children, whereas children attempt to strive for more freedom.
The powerless non-white is oppressed by the white.
Jasper has no power to argue for himself and can only bear all criticism on him as a scapegoat. He also has no power in front of the police who is able to hurt him cruelly.
The social background – Corrigan is a profoundly racist community (racism/prejudice based on races is deeply rooted in townspeople’s mind).In 1960s Corrigan, people with skin colour other than white are frequently targeted with racial discrimination by townspeople, such as Warwick Trend, who conducts cruel bully on Jeffrey’s father. Charlie’s friendship with Jeffrey and Jasper reinforces that people need to put an effort to be understanding and empathetic in order to overcome their prejudice.
Both Jasper and his dead Aboriginal mother, Rosie, are discriminated against. As a scapegoat, Jasper is routinely blamed for others inappropriate behaviours or even crimes. Despite of his own experience, he also instinctive accuses ‘Mad’ Jack Lionel for killing Laura Wishart based on his bias knowledge about Jack. In this way, Perkins informs audiences that misunderstandings and prejudice are largely based on one’s education and surrounding environment.
Although some whites are willing to fight against racism such as Wesley and the Lus’ neighbours, Corrigan is still a racist community where discrimination and harassment based on race are mostly tolerated. This is explicitly expressed when Mrs Findlay bullies Mrs Lu, among the others present in the hall, including the police sergeant, few of them recognise that this is inappropriate and are willing to stand up for Mrs Lu to punish Mrs Findlay.
“You should consider yourself lucky that you’ve got a mother that cares about you so much. A lot of people never get that. (implies Jasper)”
Charlie discovers Ruth’s betrayal to Wes by having as affair with the Sergeant and eventually, he accepts that even his own mother can have a different pursuit and aspiration. At the night when Ruth leaves, Charlie understands and shows empathy to her mother’s dislike of the simple life in Corrigan, and fully respects her decision to move away into the city.
At the start of the film, when Ruth punishes Charlie to dig a huge hole in their backyard without a clear reason, for being disobeying her order to stay on the street. At that time, Charlie could not understand Ruth’s request and considers it as ridiculous. As the story unfolds, Charlie gradually learns that Ruth does care about Charlie’s safety although her ways of education may be impropriated and less respectful, which is likely due to her unawareness of how fast Charlie is growing up.
Over the course of the film, Charlie progressively learns that people can never escape their fears entirely, and in contrast, it is the capability to live with fear makes heroes great. As Charlie argues with Jeffrey, Batman is the greatest superhero because he “does not possess any superpower”, which means he is mortal, allowing him to be injured and killed. In fact, it is human beings’ instinctive fear to death and their ability to overcome fear make them “greater them normal”, giving them the opportunity for feats of courage and bravery.
Jasper behaves as a hero in Charlie’s eyes, who is able to, or at least seems to be calm, casual and skilful in dealing with Laura’s dead body, whereas Charlie is depicted as being terrified and slightly effeminate. When Charlie eventually sees Jasper cries as Eliza reads her sister’s letter to him, he realises that even heroes seem fearless are not completely brave as them look like.
After undergoing the prevalent racism from townspeople, Jeffrey decides to stay as home at the New Year’s Eve, “honing [his] skills to keep the streets safe” just as a Kungfu master, which in fact his intention is to protect his parents from the other bullies in the town.
When Wes helps Jeffrey’s family to defend them from a group of local racists, Charlie realises that his father is braver than he originally thought.
Charlie’s changing attitudes towards Jasper and Jack Lionel. (staring to be empathetic)
Teenagers learn to understand and be empathy to other’s experience and decisions.
At the night when Laura died, Charlie first sneaks out of his room and starts an adventure with Jasper. Charlie’s action of squeezing through the tiny window symbolises his reborn and the beginning of turning adulthood.
Charlie, who is attracted by literature and bad at sport, tries to fit into the friendship group with other children in the town, which is one of the main reasons behind hid motive to join Jasper. He attempts to prove he is as brave and courageous as others by finding out the truth of Laura’s death.
Eliza is Charlie’s first crush, and their awkward and inappropriate behaviours are shown through their conversation and Charlie’s promise to accompany Eliza at the firework.
Charlie is the only one at the town hall who expresses his indignant for Mrs Lu’s injustice treatment when Mrs Findlay spills hot water onto the later. He also continues asking and questing his father for why the police says and does nothing to punish Mrs Findlay for her racist behaviour.
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