Essay about Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

Submitted By Raylene-Zhang
Words: 1415
Pages: 6

How does the use of the distinctive voice emphasise the ways that individuals respond to significant aspects of life? In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text and one other related text of your choosing.
Composers use distinctive voice to emphasise significant aspect of life through the presentation of realistic or hyperbolic characters. Summer of the Seventeenth Doll by Ray Lawler shows realistic characters rebelling and accepting idea of marriage and change, while Summer Heights High directed by Chris Lilley emphasises social status and change through a stereotypical private school girl. It is through distinctive voice that shows different ideas towards significant aspects of life. The doll displays the Australian society in the 1950s where marriage is important but the characters within voice their opinion to rebel against the social norm leading to the change in their lives and the summers. Summer Heights High presents similar quality as Ja’mie goes against her social status by going to a public school and faces a change in environment and change in status, which she must adapt to.
People respond to life’s special events in different ways making each person unique and display a distinctive voice against people within the norm. Lawler presents two conflicting perspectives on marriage within Summer of the Seventeenth Doll through the use of distinctive voices. Pearl’s view on marriage represents the status quo, while Olive perspective challenges the status quo. The play is set in the 1950s, during that time period marriage is very important, but within the play Olive rejects the social standard “You think haven’t sized up against what all those married women have?... Even waitin’ for Roo to come back is more excitin’ than their little lot” the rhetorical question is asked in confidence yet in a defensive tone against Pearl’s and the society’s views on the role of women. Olive values personal freedom and independence, while rejecting the boredom and routine that she believes marriage represents, whilst also refusing to “grow up”. She wears her young “crisp green-and-white summer dress that she displays with a brash self-mockery” displaying her childishness and that she is not mature enough to acknowledge marriage. On the other hand Pearl being a woman who has already fulfilled the status quo believes that she has the right to change and amend Olive. Pearl names the summers as “cheap and underhanded” like prostitution, which is “wrong” and a “nasty mess”. The derogatory naming shows her pride as the norm of society, her supercilious rights, her dogmatic opinion and the hidden authorial voice given by Lawler. Olive is told to “grow up” and look at reality outside of the house and the dream. Summer Heights High is similar to Summer of the Seventeenth Doll as also it presents a double sided argument but on the aspect of education.
Similarly, the background and education of a certain person will affect their point of view and create a unique voice. In Summer Heights High, Ja’mie acted by Chris Lilley transfers from a prestigious private girl’s school to a public co-ed school. Ja’mie describes Summer Heights High as the “Boganist School in the world” undermining her education from the “most expensive private school” and her previous statement “that private school students end up as better quality citizens”. Through her use of Australia vernacular, colloquialism and black humour it shows a hyperbolic view of the rich and prestigious society which Ja’mie represents. Lilley’s hyperbolic portrayal of Ja’mie is idiotic and out-of-place showing that money has no impact on the ‘quality’ student, therefore, critiquing individuals who believe that private schools are the only way to achieve and ‘cultivated society’ and hinting the audience that social status is not important in society as it has no impact on the ‘quality’ of the person. On the contrary, the principal speaks to the audience claiming that “kids