No Sugar

No Sugar Summary and Analysis of Part 4


Billy goes to the Superintendent's Office, still handcuffed. David, Cissie, and Topsy all follow him shouting "Black crow!" Billy tells Neal what happened, as the Matron comes in. Billy tells them where he found them and where they were headed on the train. He asks to be let go from the handcuffs, but there is no key to free him.

Act 3. Scene 1. At the Government Well Aboriginal Reserve in Northam, Joe and Mary look at the ruined camp. Everything has been burned. Joe pulls out the burnt remains of David's bike and throws it on the ground.

Scene 2. Joe and Mary go into town in Northam, carrying a billy can, swag, and a rabbit trap. Suddenly, Carrol approaches and asks Joe what he's doing in Northam. Joe tells him that they're living there and asks why Government Well is burned. Carrol tells him they were just following orders and that he cannot provide natives with rations anymore. As Joe leaves, Carrol says, "Just make yourself scarce and don't go campin' anywhere you're not s'posed to be—and that includes Government Well."

Scene 3. Carrol enters the police station and picks up the phone to call Neville, who takes the call in his office. Carrol tells Neville that Joe and Mary are in town and Neville tells him that "The Council's still adamant that no natives remain in the Northam area." Carrol asks what warrants he can use to apprehend the Aborigines, and Neville tells him that Mary's a minor and Joe is guilty of running away with her. He tells Carrol to pick them up that day, to arrest Joe and send Mary on a train.

Miss Dunn comes in and tells Neville that the Western Australian Historical Association wants him to present at their next meeting, an offer that interests him immensely. He then tells Constable Kerr that they have to pick up Joe and Mary.

Scene 4. On the street, Carrol and the Constable approach Joe and ask where Mary is, before arresting him. Joe complains that they've been living in Northam for almost two months without complaint, and that the arrest is sudden. The Constable brings Joe back to imprison him, and Joe asks Carrol to tell Mary where he is.

Scene 5. We see Neville at the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, giving a talk. He talks about how much he has done on behalf of the Aborigines. He suggests that the Aborigines ought to be grateful for the work of the colonizers.

Act 4. Scene 1. Sister Eileen, Cissie, and Topsy are sitting outside the Sunday School. Sister Eileen tells the story of the birth of Jesus from memory. She talks about King Herod's jealousy of Jesus, as David approaches the group, followed by Billy. Billy asks David where he's going and belts him on the legs with his whip when David says he's going swimming instead of going to Sunday School. Cissie and Topsy direct Sister Eileen's attention to Billy's abuse.

Cissie jumps up and grabs a stone to try to defend David. Sister Eileen sends Billy away, and brings David into the group. She tells the children of the story of Joseph and Mary's flight from Nazareth, and then teaches the children a hymn, "There is a happy land," that they will sing for Neville.

Scene 2. Matron visits Neal's office, while Billy and Mary, who is very pregnant, wait outside. Before she leaves, Matron tells Neal that Mary is unwell and pregnant, and he promises he will not touch her. Mary comes into Neal's office, and asks to stay with Joe's mother and father, but Neal insists that she work at the hospital. "I'm not gunna work in the hospital," she says. He calls in Billy, threatening to have her whipped, but she stays strong and insists that she will not work in the hospital, before cursing him. Neal grows angry, lays her down, and beats her.

Scene 3. Milly sorts clothes at the house, while Sam, Jimmy, and Gran sit nearby. Mary approaches and sits down, weak. The group gathers around her and look at the welts from her whipping. Gran gets some medicinal herbs, and they want to take her to the hospital, but Mary refuses to go to the hospital, and insists that she will have the baby in the house.

Suddenly, David and Cissie run on with a letter from Joe. The letter says that he only has eight weeks left in jail, and that he will marry Mary when he gets out, and will ask Neville himself.


Joe returns to Government Well only to find that it has been completely destroyed, much to his chagrin. He looks at the remnants of the camp—David's bike, the rabbit traps, and little else—and bemoans the fact that the white authorities lied to them about looking after their old home. The violence of postcolonial Australia exists not only in the displacement of the Aborigines, but in the destruction of everything they once called home and once valued.

The oppression that the Aborigines face in the play has to do with the fact that the white authorities dictate every choice they make in life, as well as the fact that they are under such tight surveillance. When Joe and Mary escape from the Reserve to try and create an independent life, it does not take long for the authorities to locate them. A quick phone call from Carrol to Neville ensures that Mary and Joe will be captured and punished for simply wanting to be together. It is this strict surveillance that makes Aboriginal life so difficult and limited.

A dark irony endures: the discrepancy between the good works that the white colonizers imagine they are doing for Aborigines, and the actual corrupt mistreatment of Aborigines under the law. In a speech given to the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, Neville endorses the work of the white colonizers in Australia, and marvels at the fact that they have managed to protect and help the Aborigines in the region. This hollow speech strikes a chilling note, as we have seen that the Aborigines in Neville's care have very little to be grateful for, having been pushed out of their homes, and forced to live under threat of violence, rape, strict surveillance, and exploitation.

Indeed, Neville is lauded by the city as the savior of the Aborigine people, and Sister Eileen, the Sunday School teacher, teaches her children to sing a hymn in his honor. Though he has brought nothing but destruction and hardship to the Aborigines, even the children are expected to celebrate him. In this, we see that education is one of the chief ways that the colonizers ensure their power over the Indigenous population, by indoctrinating the children into a belief system through educational practices.

Mary, after facing so many horrible obstacles, maintains a defiant spirit upon her return to Moore River. When she is brought to Neal's office, he insists on keeping her at the hospital, but she is indignant and refuses, insisting that she will live with Joe's family. She bites back at his controlling demeanor, eventually cursing at him heartily, which incites him to beat her with a whip, mercilessly. This scene is devastating, staging the abuse of an ill and pregnant woman by a man demanding that she give herself to him sexually, and it puts into stark perspective Neal's deep-seated evil.