Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Distinctive Voices

All texts, regardless of form or composition, provide a distinctive voice, which are used to provide a message to the audience. This message can be used to validate, challenge or disprove significant issues of the world. Ray Lawler’s naturalistic play “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll” and the ABC’s television episode “Stand Up” in the series “Redfern now” aim to capture and recreate the diverse and changing nature of the Australian voice. Through the use of various language and filmic techniques, both composers are able to reflect their own voice through their characters, but also the voice of an entire generation.

When analysing and understanding a text it is paramount to understand the context of that text. Summer of the seventeenth doll is a play composed in 1955, which was a period of cultural significance. The 50s were a time of technological, political and social change. In particular, the traditional views and roles of men and women were beginning to be challenged. Women were expected to be married in their early twenties and spend the rest of their lives as housewives, whereas, men were expected to work and provide for their families. However, following the world wars the expectation was that women returned to their life and roles pre-war, which many women didn’t agree with.

Writers give voice to concerns and ideas they have on society through the characters they create. Ray Lawler was aware of this point and has been able to create a voice through language techniques combined with the characterisation of several main characters. This can be seen through the development of the character Emma. Emma Leech, approaching seventy, is the elderly mother of Olive Leech. Emma, being part of the older generation of the 1950s is utilised by Lawler to epitomise the values, beliefs and ideals of the traditional views of Australia. She believes that women should adhere to the conventional way of life, that is, getting married and becoming a housewife. This is...