No Sugar

No Sugar

by

Jack Davis

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No Sugar: Act 1, Scene 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jimmy waits outside the Chief Protector’s Office in Perth. It is now winter, 1932. Jimmy tries to flag Neville down as he goes in to work, but Neville insists they cannot talk until the office opens at 9 am. Jimmy explains that he has to catch an early train, but Neville is not moved.
Over a year has passed since the play began. Jimmy has been in jail for three months. Neville uses excuses about office policy to brush Jimmy off, but he also uses these policies to mask his own personal indifference to Jimmy’s struggle.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Miss Dunn arrives at the office and Jimmy runs into her. He wants to speak to Mr. Neville. Miss Dunn says she’ll check in with Neville, but that Jimmy should sit on the back veranda (which is where the entrance for Aboriginal people is) in the meantime.
Like Neville, Miss Dunn is personally indifferent, when not actively hostile to Australia’s Aboriginal population. She uses public policies (such as segregated entrances and seating)—which are themselves based in racism—to enact her own personally held prejudices.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Neville has Miss Dunn call Sergeant Carrol in Northam. Jimmy interrupts her as she waits for the call to connect. He wants train fare for an 11 am train home. Miss Dunn reports this to Neville, who refuses to answer and makes Jimmy wait, telling Miss Dunn that Jimmy can have a travel voucher if he returns after 2 pm.
Because Miss Dunn and Neville are personally uninterested in Jimmy’s desire to get home, they use their positions of authority to deny him the ability to return to Northam and his family.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Miss Dunn has an overlapping in-person conversation with Jimmy and a phone conversation with the Constable. She tells the Constable that she is calling from the Aborigines Department. The Constable announces to the Sergeant that the “Niggers’ Department” is on the line.
Once again, personal prejudices become intertwined with governmental responsibility. Here “Nigger,” a slur used to denigrate African-Americans, is instead used to refer derogatorily to Aboriginal Australians.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
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Miss Dunn transfers the call to Neville, who announces to Sergeant Carroll that they’ve run into more trouble relocating the Reservation. Although they’ve found a location that has “a water supply and a couple acres of grazing land,” the Council has decided to develop the land into “a recreation park, for boy scouts and picnic parties.” The Sergeant tells Neville that the Council would prefer it if the Aboriginal community was moved to Moore River. The two men hang up.
Although the exact nature of the council is never clarified, it’s likely a Council on South West Australian Aboriginal Affairs. Here it becomes clear that government officials tasked with taking care of Aboriginal communities care more about recreational opportunities for the white townspeople than where Aboriginal families will live.
Themes
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
In Northam, Milly and Gran and arrive at the station. Gran tells the Constable that she demands to speak to the Sergeant. They didn’t collect their rations the day before because they were at the hospital with Cissie, and they want to pick them up now. Meanwhile, in Perth, Jimmy barges into Neville’s office. He cannot wait until 2 pm, like Neville told him to, because he needs to take an 11 am train.
All across Western Australia, the Millimurra-Munday family faces complete and total apathy from the government officials whose jobs are ostensibly to make sure they get the support that they need to survive. Still, the family does its best to take care of itself.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Milly needs blankets for Cissie, but they have not arrived yet. The Sergeant calls Milly by her first name, and Gran corrects him, saying she should be referred to as Mrs. Millimurra, as she was “proper church married.”
Although relatively powerless, Gran insists on respect for her daughter—the one small bit of dignity and authority the pair can claim for themselves.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
The Sergeant suggests that Milly and Gran ask the vicar at a local church for blankets, but the women are not confident he will help them. When they ask after their meat order, the Sergeant announces that meat rations and cooking fat have been discontinued.
The vicar at the local church is likely racist and unwilling to help a group he sees as undeserving. Once again, although rations are supposed to help the Millimurra-Mundays survive, they are given barely enough to get by.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Gran complains that the Sergeant is supposed to be the “native ‘tector.” As she and Milly leave, the Sergeant comments to the Constable “looks like I’m the one needs protectin’.” The men joke that they should have poisoned the women’s flour, or else employed the “Tasmanian solution.”
The Sergeant and Constable allow their own racist attitudes to affect how they do their jobs. Although they are supposed to protect Aboriginal people, they joke about the Tasmanian solution, which was a total government-sanctioned genocide of the island’s native population.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Back in Perth, Neville calls Jimmy into his office and gives him a travel voucher, insisting that the man get on the 11 am train. Jimmy says now he might take a 5 pm train instead. As he leaves, he remarks that in jail people were kinder to him. He says, “Native Protector, couldn’t protect my dog from fleas.”
Hundreds of miles apart, multiple members of the Millimurra-Munday family criticize government officials who are supposed to protect them but instead are doing their best to ignore or get rid of them. Jimmy, however, does his best to complicate Neville’s life, a sort of rebuke for Neville being unkind to him earlier in the morning.
Themes
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon