Dougy Book Essays

Gracey (9780702226106)[1] is a young adult novel written by AustralianauthorJames Moloney and first published in 1994 by University of Queensland Press. By 2013 the National Library of Australia listed 24 editions of the novel in a variety of formats including book, audio book, braille and e-book.[2] It is the second book in the Gracey trilogy, the first being Dougy (1993) and the third Angela (1998) In 1995 it was an Honour Book in the category of Older Readers in the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards.[3] It is also part of the Kerry White collection of Australian children's books.[4]

James Moloney wrote about his reasons for writing Gracey:

After Dougy, I didn't intend to keep the story going.... For young black kids in their late teens and early twenties, there were few opportunities - for jobs, for esteem in the community, for access to the things that most young men want such as a car, a bit of money in the pocket, a bit of excitement. This leads into a cycle of helplessness and then hopelessness, often getting them into trouble with the law for mainly petty offences.

I thought Raymond might go the same way ... Gracey had gone off to a boarding school and started to wonder whether she would lose her identity. The idea for the bones ...makes an interesting concept - that a modern Australian town is built over the bones of those killed so that it could be built.[5]

Plot summary[edit]

Gracey and her white friend named Bob are spending their last holidays in Cunningham with her mother and brothers Dougy and Raymond . They attend Hamilton College in America and are visiting Cunningham where Graceys family have moved. Gracey is uncomfortable and embarrassed by her family while Bob is enjoying the visit.

While playing in some trenches Dougy comes across some bones which appear to him to be human. At Gracey's suggestion he Gracey and Bob take them to the police where the bones are taken away from him. The police investigate and discover more bones.

Back in Brisbane Gracey's English teacher gives Gracey a few books on aboriginal history and deaths. Gracey is at first disinterested as she wants is to fit in and be a "white girl". but further research reveals the origin of the bones Dougy found. Gracey returns to Cunningham when her mother dies and a series of violent and tragic incidents cause Gracey to reassess her outlook. The story is narrated by Gracey and Dougy.[6]


  • Interpersonal relationships : Gracey prefers her white friend Angela and is embarrassed by her black family and their seeming hopelessness. She lacks a closeness with her brothers Dougy and Raymond, her mother and their community [6]
  • Identity : Gracey feels more at home with her white friends and the community in Brisbane. She doesn't want to be black living in Cunningham although events bring about a change in her attitudes [6]
  • Racial issues : the issues facing an Aboriginal person and their struggles in a white dominated community [6] race

The Gracey Trilogy[edit]

The Gracey Trilogy includes:


External links[edit]

Dougy tells the story of an aboriginal boy and his family. It tells us of the aboriginal population in a QLD country town and the prejudiced attitudes of the white community there. There are deep racial tensions between the two sides and they are fuelled when Dougy's sister, Gracey, earns a scholarship to a 'white' boarding college in Brisbane because of her sporting abilities (she is a state running champion). The whites in the town feel the blacks are given everything by the government while they have to struggle on their own. They are resentful towards the blacks in town and during the narrative a 'war' breaks out when they blame an aboriginal man for a crime he did not commit. The white community uses this as an excuse to act on the hatred they feel towards the black community and violence results. Dougy is a spectator and a participant in the events of the novel and through him we see how the aboriginal community is treated by the white sector of society, how the aboriginal people perceive themselves and how racial tensions, when allowed to go unchecked, can have devastating consequences.

 Pre 1788 when whites arrived � 500 nations of Aboriginal (kooris) people inhabited Australia

 By the 1850s � many were on the point of extinction, some were extinct, many tribal groups were totally destroyed (e.g. Port Phillip � 10,000 were reduced to 2000 in 18 years)

 Aboriginies lived in tribes

- own culture, religion, cultural practices, beliefs, tribal law, authority
- when whites appeared the hunter-gatherer economy and close connection with the land were undermined by white contact and destruction
- they lost their land to the powerful whites
- they tried to cling onto their own traditions and practices

 Second half of the 19th Century
- The remaining aboriginies in Eastern colonies were rounded up and kept on reserves. Christian missionaries helped them there.

 Assimilation
- Whites wanted to �Europeanise� the aboriginies � make them accept their culture and way of life
- The reserves enabled them to enforce the policy of assimilation onto the aboriginies
- Aboriginies needed permits to move around
- Children became wards of the state and some were taken away from their families
- Aboriginies could not: vote, control their financial affairs
- Reserves still existed until the late 1980s in some states, most notably Queensland

 �Protection�

- individual states controlled them
- different systems in each state
- Under the acts which existed aboriginies were regarded as outcasts and inferior beings who needed to be supervised in their private lives by government officials.

 Today

- few traditional aboriginal cultures, social practices and languages remain
- due to being raised in a �European� world, most aboriginal children have little knowledge of their heritage and traditional culture but there have been efforts made by Aboriginal welfare groups to educate children of their culture

 Lies and Truth

- Many whites created lies about the aboriginies because they didn�t understand and were afraid of what they didn�t know. Lies gave the whites total control over Aboriginal land. Whites assumed that the Aboriginies gave up their land and had no rights to it because they allegedly didn�t fight for it. They saw them as �savages�, even though it was the white population that first showed aggression.

 White views
- Many whites adopted views such as: aboriginals must be assimilated, they have no rights, they must �think white, look white and act white�

 Statistics � in comparison to the white population of Australia
- Education � very few aboriginal people ever attend and complete school (although the number has risen in some states in the last decade)
- Health � more inclined to be ill due to living conditions
- Unemployment � very high in comparison
- Imprisonment � many jailed, both male and female

 Reaction to one another
- As white domination occurred, aboriginals came to hate the whites � driven off land, lack of food, introduction of disease, ruined the land, run off sacred sites and gathering sites, violence

Chapter 1

1. �she don�t usually laugh when Dad is drinking� � Why not?
2. How many people are there in Dougy�s family? Describe each one in a sentence.
3. After reading the first paragraph, how do we know the family is aboriginal?
4. What is Dougy�s opinion of his sister?
5. Why would Raymond �steal a swig out of Johnny Warren�s beer�?
6. Why would Mum want Raymond to stay away from Johnny?
7. What is the Moodagudda?
8. Why do you think Mum does not believe the story of the Moodagudda?
9. How do we know Cooper is a violent person?
10. Why do you think the children did not know any other aboriginal stories to tell Mr Brookes?
11. How does Dougy know the Moodagudda is real?


Think of a story you can remember your parents or grandparents telling you when you were a child. Write what the story was about. (it could be a fairy tale, a myth, a legend, a story about them coming to Australia)

Chapter 2

1. What evidence is there in the first paragraph to indicate that Dougy has a low self esteem?
2. How did �Sesame Street� get its name?
3. What does the reader notice about Dougy�s town when reading this chapter?
4. What is Gracey good at?
5. What does Mr Jenkins want Gracey to do (9)? Who did Mr Jenkins say would be able to assist her with the costs?
6. How did the school students on the bus react when they learned Gracey would be competing in the championships?
7. �the next morning all the fun was washed out of the white kids� � Why had their attitudes changed?
8. Why do you think Brett acted differently?
9. Who wrote a letter to the P and C? What did the letter say?
10. In what way does Mr Jenkins think the white adults behave like children?
11. �you�ve got to BE hard as well� � What does this mean?
12. In what ways is Mr Jenkins a good coach?


Imagine you are Craig�s father. Write the letter that you sent to the P and C regarding why the funding should not be given to Gracey. (minimum � page)

Chapter 1 and 2 � True or False

State whether the following statements about chapter 1 and 2 of the novel are true or false

1. Dougy is older than Gracey
2. Johnny Warren is a bad influence on Raymond
3. Dougy�s father is a dentist
4. Dougy has a low self esteem
5. Mr Cunningham is Gracey�s running coach
6. Gracey and Dougy go to different schools
7. The Moodagudda is a spirit that lives in the sky
8. Mr Brookes asked Dougy to tell him aboriginal stories
9. Melissa Brodie goes to school in Cunningham
10. Dougy never watched Gracey train
11. Paddy O�Shea thought it was a bad idea for Gracey to go to Brisbane
12. The white kids on the bus were not happy for Gracey when they first heard the news about her going to Brisbane
13. Cooper wrote a letter to the P and C asking them not to give Gracey money
14. Brett�s father is the town police officer
15. The previous police officers in the town had been pleasant to the aboriginals

Chapter 3

1. What was the �amazing thing� Dougy saw when he woke up? Why was it amazing?
2. �hundreds of fantastic things in the world that I�ll never know about� � Why does Dougy think he will never know about them?
3. In what ways was Steve �a good bloke�?
4. Why did Dougy feel like he �stood out�?
5. Why does the taxi driver ask to see Mum�s money before driving them anywhere?
6. How do we know Raymond enjoyed being on Lang Park?
7. How do we know that Merv is racist?
8. Why do you think Dougy doesn�t have a plan for his life?
9. Fill in the blanks

Word list

State, trial, Brisbane, aboriginal, scared, Bandaroo, family, Gracey, their, football, Sydney, thought, Lang, Ron

The ________ took a train to _________ so __________ could compete in the ________ Championships. They stayed at the _________ Hostel and another _________ person named Steve took them to ______ rooms. Raymond was a ___________ fan and enjoyed going to ______ Park. ______ Kendall was going to get him a ________ with a club in _________. At the end of this chapter Dougy confessed that the ________ of leaving his small town __________ him.


What is one place or landmark that you would like to visit? Write about that place and why it would be special to visit there.



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