The 7 Stages of Grieving

The 7 Stages of Grieving

by

Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

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The 7 Stages of Grieving: Scene 11: Murri Gets a Dress Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Woman delivers a monologue in the style of a stand-up comedy routine. She describes waking up in the morning and, as if for the first time, realizing that she is black. She describes the “special treatment” she receives as a black woman, such as being followed around in department stores and harassed with racial slurs. As the Woman describes a trip to a shopping mall, she recounts the harassment she faces in each location: in the shop, in the elevator, in the parking lot, and even on the road far from the mall when her car breaks down. No one, she says, ever stops to help her when she’s in need. The only times people pay attention to her are when they are suspicious of her.
The Woman chooses a stand-up-style delivery for this scene perhaps in order to blunt the pain of relaying such a frustrating story about the prejudice and dehumanization that she and other members of her community face every day. The Woman is frustrated but unsurprised by the fact that she’s racially profiled in the mall yet ignored on the road after car trouble. By delivering this story from a comedic perspective, the Woman can point out how cruel and arbitrary racism is while maintaining an emotional distance from the difficult things she’s discussing.
Themes
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
The Woman describes arriving home at long last after receiving an escort home from “policem[e]n, firem[e]n, army, [and the] fucken UN.” Once the Woman is back from the shopping mall and wearing her “deadly” beautiful new dress, her Auntie admires her new outfit. The Woman goes to sleep that night with the sounds of the sirens of police cars in her ears and the images of police sniffer dogs in her head. The next morning, when she wakes up, she looks in the mirror again and rejoices in the fact that she is still black. “NUNNA,” she shouts, which is the Gamilaraay word for “me.”
After invoking a fantastical and allegorical scene in which she receives an army escort home (“escort” being a way of sarcastically describing racial profiling and a threatening police presence), the Woman closes the story on a slightly happier note. Even though she acknowledges that there are others just like her who are facing racism, profiling, and violence each day, the Woman knows that the first step in resistance is pride and acceptance of one’s identity. Just loving herself is an act of resistance—and a stepping stone to collective action against the prejudice and racism of a society built on colonialism and white supremacy.
Themes
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
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