Deadly Unna by Phillip Gwyn is a story about the friendship between two boys set up in a small country town in the 1980’s South Australia. Gary Black (or Blacky) is the protagonist, a fifteen year old boy with many siblings, who develops and matures. He becomes highly aware of racism in the small country town against aboriginal people, as well as many other issues through out the course of the novel. Through out the story he meets a girl named Cathy that he gets smitten by, he looses his friend Dumby because he died in a shoot out down by the bar, so he drastically matures as the novel progress.
Some of the other significant themes dealt with by Deadly Unna are the issues related to life in a small country town and the idea of loss of childhood innocence. Let’s begin when Blacky’s ALF team gets trophies for a specific category e. g. : scored most goals ECT. Dumby was the ‘best man on field’ so he obviously deserved and earned the ‘Best Man on Field’ Trophy. But instead the trophy was awarded to Mark-Arks. Remember when Dumby tried to mug Macca’s bar, he died because he shoot him with a shotgun and the police didn’t even try to solve the case. Basically nobody cared just because Dumby was just another Aborigines kid.
Speaking of Maccas’s bar, all the gonyas sits in the front of the bar. But the Nungas is in the back. Except for one person called Tommy who always says Chug-A-Lug. But he’s only there because he is always drunk and it’s funny for the Gonyas. When the Slogs wrote BOONGS PISS OFF. This really affected Blacky because he became so aware of racism ever since Dumby’s death. Blacky’s loss of childhood innocence begun when Dumby died, one of his best friends that he has ever had just disappeared and now his childhood has basically vanished because everything he knew as a child is now gone.
When Gary wanted to grab some paint and a brush his dad busted him and told Blacky to put the brush and the paint down. But Gary has matured because he as gone through so much that he has lost his childhood. All the Sad stuff that has been going on in his life made him realise that he is not a little kid anymore, especially when Darcy said ‘I dare say they should Blacky, I dare say they should…’ He now sees what racism people have against the Aboriginal population, and now his childhood has passed away. Another example is when Gary gets smitten by Cathy, this is a prime example that he has now matured and moved on to his teenage life.