Jimmy and Sam are locked in adjacent jail cells. The Sergeant and Constable catalogue their belongings, including a harmonica, which they confiscated from Jimmy. Jimmy, however, has a second harmonica and begins to play. Jimmy doesn’t want to hand it over, but Sam insists he does.
Jimmy and Sam represent two ways Aboriginal Australians can deal with racist government officials and policies. Sam does his best to comply, while Jimmy rebels at every possible opportunity.
Jimmy complains that the toilet bucket in his room has a hole in it. When the Constable ignores his complaint, Jimmy throws the bucket against the wall. The Sergeant adds “damage to government property” to the charge sheet.
Adding “damage to government property” is a spiteful gesture, indicative of a personal prejudice—the property is barely damaged and worth almost nothing.
Sam attempts to be quiet and cooperative, while Jimmy continues to harass his captors, reciting poems, swearing at the Sergeant and Constable, and finally singing, “I don’t give a damn for any damn man, / That don’t give a damn for me.”
Throughout the scene Jimmy and Sam use opposite approaches to their imprisonment. Jimmy feels that people who do not respect him because of his race do not deserve his respect in turn.