Rainbow’s End

Table of contents, evidence bank, essay 1: how does rainbow’s end explore ideas about the “other”, essay 2: “a real home is where there are people looking out for each other.” how does rainbow’s end reveal the importance of home, essay 3: “the dream sequences in rainbow’s end are the characters’ only escape from the depressing reality of life.” discuss..

  • Essay 4: ‘Errol’s attempt to be “a knight in shining armour” highlights the complexity of being a man in a patriarchal society.’ Discuss.
  • Essay 5: “Rainbow’s End tells a tragic tale about the loss of culture and identity.” Do you agree?
  • Essay 6: “Gladys and Dolly are torn between the world of white Australians and their Indigenous Australian heritage.” Discuss.
  • Essay 7: “It is through storytelling that our ideas about the individual and collective human experience are challenged.” Discuss.
  • Essay 8: “Rainbow’s End is a bitter condemnation of colonisation.” Discuss.
  • Essay 9: “The play suggests that characters have little control over their lives.” Discuss.
  • Essay 10: “Why do we have to prove we can live like whitefellas, before we get the same opportunities?” How does Rainbow’s End explore injustice?

Rainbow ’ s End , a play by Jane Harrison, welcomes its audience into a household comprising three Indigenous women as they struggle to realise their dreams in the 1950s backdrop of Australian racial segregation. Harrison constructs a poignant bildungsroman around one of the women, Dolly, as she struggles to retain agency over herself and her dreams; her dreams are further analogised to the overarching theme of the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty. “Othering” is predominantly used in a racial context, utilised by the socially dominant group in order to mark the characteristics and customs of minority groups as separate from accepted social norms, thus effectively segregating them. Harrison clearly portrays these three women, Dolly, Gladys, and Nan Dear, as the “other”, in which both their Indigenous and feminine status deem them inferior to that of the patriarchal structure of white colonies. Harrison imbues this message through the racial and social status discrimination faced by the three women, as well as other members of society reducing them to stereotypes, effectively disempowering them and deeming them inferior. Rainbow ’ s End thus explores how prejudice is faced by these women at the hands of a predominantly white and male society. However, Harrison also offers some optimism to the reader through signifying the importance of family ties and determination in challenging these biases.

Themes of racial discrimination hang like a heavy cloud over the play from the beginning to the end, cementing this form of “othering” as a central theme throughout. The process of “othering” involves deeming the lifestyles and practices of minority groups as different from the social norm, thus considering them to be inferior. Harrison highlights various examples of racial discrimination faced by the three women. When Dolly applies to work at the bank, the Bank Manager argues that Dolly may not “fit in” at the bank, supposedly because of her skin colour. He continues on to question her “reliability” and capability to be suited to the work, implying his belief that Indigenous Australians were not able to carry out the same tasks and effectiveness as white people. By assuming that Dolly was incompetent because of her skin colour, the Bank Manager effectively “others” her before even giving her a chance. In a similar way, the government inspector’s connection that white sheets should be meant for white people is another form of othering Nan and Gladys, emphasising his negative prejudice towards them simply because of their darker-toned skin. This negative prejudice does not merely segregate them within society and serve as a barrier for entry, but additionally limits their future prospects. Harrison uses the example of Leon and his anger-filled lashing out against his perception of his otherness. He chooses to express his anger towards the limitations of his life with alcoholism and sexual violence, but this only effectively exacerbates his otherness in society, creating an endless cycle of discrimination that Harrison aims to impose onto readers. As such, Harrison explores the idea of the “other” through racial discrimination faced by the Indigenous characters in the play.

Apart from racial discrimination, Harrison also leans into the process of “othering” through the differences in social status and gender status of characters. First, Dolly faced humiliation at the hands of Nancy Woolthorpe, who announced that Dolly’s gown was made from the Woolthorpe’ discarded curtains, effectively othering Dolly and exacerbating the negative prejudice of her Indigenous background and lower social status. Harrison highlights how bullying and exclusion are two techniques used by dominant social groups to segregate the “other”, which is what Nancy leans into within this example. In a similar vein, Errol also implies the otherness of Dolly’s family and their lifestyle when he urges her to move with him to an apartment in the city, which supposedly has a “real stove” and a “new-fangled Kelvinator”. Whether consciously or subconsciously, Errol looks down on Dolly and her social status, and despite wanting to help her due to his infatuation, he cannot shake the prejudices within him.

Lastly, Harrison explores how gender stereotypes are used to disempower the “other” and reduce them to stereotypes. Errol parrots his father’s notion of his mother having “funny ideas” about getting a job, reinforcing the patriarchal notion of the domestic role of women and their lack of power in such a society. This suppression thus leads to his mother and women in similar positions to become trapped by patriarchal ideologies in unfulfilling domestic lives. Furthermore, Errol continues to endorse male gender stereotypes by becoming a “knight in shining armour” for Dolly, attempting to rescue her from poverty and creating a “better life” in the city. However, by doing so, he stereotypes her as a damsel in distress, effectively categorising her and her family as the inferior other, who are helpless to escape their own situation. Similarly, the Rent Collector is shown to look at Dolly’s “heavily pregnant” body in “disdain”, betraying his sexist assumptions that a woman should be responsible for a man’s aggressive or offensive sexual behaviour. Thus, Harrison highlights the patriarchal values within such a society that were used to discriminate and create the notion of the “other”, which deems women inferior and unable to escape their fate.

Throughout Rainbow ’s End , Harrison creates a bleak atmosphere exploring the process of othering through racial discrimination, as well as that of social status and gender. However, she also manifests to the reader some optimism for the future through signifying the importance of family ties and determination in challenging these biases. For example, Gladys embraces her otherness and fights for her dispossessed people by publicly confronting race and class discrimination. Harrison’s choice to end the play with the happy ending between Dolly and Errol is also indicative of her belief that reconciliation may be achieved, and that the process of othering may eventually subside.

“Home is where the heart is.” Jane Harrison’s play, Rainbow ’ s End , is a stirring and poignant exploration of the significance of home. Set against the background of 1950s Australia, where racial segregation of whites and Indigenous Australians runs rampant, Harrison closely focuses on the familial relationships between three Indigenous women and how they navigate the cruel oppression of colonial sovereignty. As a physical location, home is manifested in the contrast between the dilapidated yet comforting home of the Dears family and the modern but superficial houses belonging to the Woolthorpes. Harrison additionally explores the Indigenous understanding of home through community relationships and kinship groups. The idea of a home is tested through the harsh criticisms wrought about by the ill treatment of Indigenous individuals by the white government. Finally, Harrison ends with a sense of optimism and manifests to the reader that home can simply be where you are happy, imbuing within them the searching question about what constitutes a true home.

Home is initially illustrated through the rundown yet comfortable humpy that the Dear family lives in. Despite a devastating flood, Nan, Gladys and Dolly are shown to clean and repair their home, with Dolly finding linoleum for the floor and Gladys retrieving a “crappy old bookcase” for their new encyclopedias. Their determination to maintain a homely environment is characteristic of their domestic pride, reflecting the importance they place in their physical manifestation of a home. When the government inspector visits, he remarks on the whiteness of their sheets and compliments Nan’s masterful crocheting of her “pillow shams”. Nan and Gladys are also shown to be resourceful and efficient as they chop wood, make clothing, and use native plants for meals; as a result, their home is made as warm and homely as possible. Harrison contrasts this idea of a physical home to the houses inhabited by the Woolthorpes. These houses are superficial in comparison, filled with “new-fangled” consumer goods and a “big fake Christmas tree”, implying the superficial nature of their household and family values. Furthermore, Errol’s father’s insistence on being referred to as “sir” implies emotional distance within their familial relationship, indicating that there is little to no air of homeliness in their cold houses. Harrison is subtle in her criticism of the seeming importance placed on such types of houses, but this is revealed through the contrast of positive and negative connotations applied to them respectively. Thus, Harrison illustrates how it is not about the physical manifestation of a house, it is the warmth inside that is important in making a house into a home.

Despite Harrison’s glowing descriptions of the Dears’ home, it also reveals the unsuitability of homes provided to First Nations communities in Australia. Home may also refer to areas deemed “suitable” for “Aboriginal housing”, which include the flood plains or the tip. While the Dear family transforms their humpy into a comfortable home, it still manifests as a symbol of the appalling state of Indigenous housing and exposes the complete lack of concern for Indigenous communities by the white governments. Even genuine attempts at helping, such as the new developments at Rumbalara, are unsuitable and unacceptable. The government forces Indigenous Australian families to move into “small, white, featureless” concrete houses, which Gladys coins “concrete humpies”. Through the white, boring slabs of concrete walls, Harrison subtly creates the metaphorical representation of uncaring and inflexible white council members who utterly failed in providing appropriate housing for Indigenous communities. This notion is hammered home with the 1954 royal tour, in which a descendant of a British monarch is enthusiastically welcomed into a colonial land in which Indigenous Australians were forcefully dispossessed. In order to spare the Queen some embarrassment, the dilapidated dwellings provided to Indigenous peoples are hidden from view. Hence, Harrison explores how the notion of home can be weaponised and used as a tool of oppression from white governments unto Indigenous groups.

However, in the face of hardships and neglect, the Dear family continues to find strength in their loving family relationships, which Harrison manifests as one of the most important attributes of a home. The beautifully handmade ballgown the Nan makes for Dolly is a symbol of her love for her granddaughter, and her reassurance towards Dolly about her traumatic sexual assault helps to support her in learning to love her child. These strong values of trust and mutual support cement the foundations of a “real home”; their commitment to keeping a place at their dinner table for Papa Dear, who had not returned for three months, additionally highlights their dedication to home and family. Moreover, despite some elements of tension between Nan and Gladys over Dolly, they demonstrate mutual love and support. Nan is exceedingly proud of Gladys’ challenge to the government councillors, exclaiming, “My Gladys! Did you hear her?” while almost “hugging the radio”. The relationship between Gladys and Dolly is slightly more tense, but Dolly never once doubts her mother’s love for her. While the Dear family relationships strengthen through their various tests and hardships, Harrison once again draws a stark contrast with that of Errol’s family, in which there is little room for warmth under a conservative patriarch. The Dears’ idea of family is not only restricted to their nuclear family unit but extends to their community, thus demonstrating the Indigenous understanding of home and family as encompassing the whole community. As a result, Harrison creates a fairytale ending in which the importance of home is exhibited through the safety net of close familial relationships and extended into the community, imploring readers to find the same comfort in their social networks.

Rainbow ’ s End is thus a striking and poignant play about families and homes being a central aspect to the lives of characters, demonstrated best through the Dear family, while using the Woolthorpe family as a foil. Harrison is careful in her optimism regarding the future situations regarding government support and initiative towards Indigenous housing, but she is staunch in upholding the willpower and determination of the Dear family in creating a homely environment regardless of their circumstances, thus serving as a metaphor for the strength of the Indigenous community. Finally, Harrison highlights how the physical manifestation of a home is not as important as how its inhabitants live in it, allowing readers to reflect on their own lives and household relationships and create change as they move on.

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

What is at the end of your rainbow?

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

It’s a New Year. How are things going with your new goals and resolutions so far? Did you make any new ones or did you lightly walk into 2018 wondering if anything would be different this year?

The picture featured in the blog today is where I take my walks with my dog if it is too wet to walk around the farm. This particular morning was especially challenging to “get out the door” with all the things on my to do list. I’m so glad I made the effort so I could receive the gift waiting just for me. What a beautiful sight . . .  rainbow stretching over the family farm and the Home Place.

What is at the end of your rainbow? At the beginning of new year, we talk a lot about vision boards and how important it is to envision why you are working your game plan. When you know the WHY, the how is much easier to see.

The Home Place is where my grandparents raised a family in the middle of very tough economic times and managed to flourish in so many ways. This precious cottage represents many prayers prayed, laughter heard and meals prepared. One of the things at the end of my rainbow is restoring it back as a guest house so others can be nourished and renewed.

A plan has been written and work has begun on this project. There are many days that the work seems to be overwhelming and hard to see the end. I am grateful for all the reminders like the rainbow over the Home Place that continue to encourage me to take the next step.

When we continue to the next step, the staircase will be revealed along the way. John C. Maxwell says it best “it is not decision making but decision managing that is the key”. Anyone can make decisions, but it is the day to day managing of the mindset to see what is at the end of the rainbow that keeps us going.

So, what is at the end of your rainbow? Take time to walk, think, plan and create. I love how Mary Kay Ash said it, “whatever the mind conceives and believes, you can achieve.”

Until next Friday . . .

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'Rainbow's End' Study Guide

"Rainbow's End" is set in the 1950s and follows the Dear Family’s story—a lineage of Victorian Koori women which includes the grandmother Nan, mother Gladys, and daughter Dolly—depicting the dynamics of home, aspirations, and experiences faced by Indigenous communities in Australia.

The narrative underscores the women's solidarity and resilience, with Dolly at the center, as she navigates her way through coming-of-age experiences. Living in marginal conditions near a rural town, their residence, 'The Flats,' embodies the segregation from the white community while hinting at the systemic neglect and hardship the family endures.

Encounter with Errol, a white encyclopedia salesman, shapes Dolly’s coming-of-age journey. Misdirected to 'The Flats,' Errol's affection for Dolly burgeons, reflected in his ongoing visits under the pretense of encyclopedia deliveries. The relationship blossoms with unspoken emotions and cautious flirtations.

A local ball introduces a turning point, revealing both the racial tensions and the aspirations for a better life amongst the First Nations people. While Dolly shows courage and creativity in attending the ball—fashioning a dress from curtains—she experiences humiliation from white attendees, which echoes the broader societal attitudes towards her community.

The narrative complicates further when family bonds are tested against Dolly's attraction to Errol and the stark reality of her community's struggles. An assault on Dolly by one of her cousins at the ball thoroughly challenges Dolly’s faith in her community and herself. Hereafter, a climactic natural disaster—the flooding of 'The Flats'—conveys the pressing need for change and safer living conditions for Indigenous families.

As the family seeks refuge, Nan's skepticism of Errol's intentions and the tensions of interracial relations are nuanced through her protective nature, rooted in historical prejudice. Yet, it’s the community—the very victim of recurrent floods—that takes charge in rallying for justice and improved housing.

The play culminates with the uniting of both personal storyline and community activism. Dolly's personal growth is highlighted as she welcomes a new life by giving birth and eventually opens up to Errol's marriage proposal. This decision syncs with her mother, Gladys, who delivers a potent speech about Indigenous empowerment, touching upon individuals' rights to live with dignity—a central theme of the narrative. The return of Papa Dear marks a full circle, signifying the interminable strength of family and community ties.

"Rainbow’s End" creates a tapestry of struggle and love, as the Dear family, exposed to societal injustices, remain steadfast in their hopes for a brighter future. Moreover, it mirrors the broader Indigenous activism for equal rights and mirrors the growth of an individual—the resilient Dolly—amidst the backdrop of a society navigating through post-colonial tensions and aspirations for reconciliation.

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Study guide to develop your understanding of the text.

Characters in 'Rainbow's End'

Born by the Murray River as her birth certificate states, Nan Dear is steeped in her Aboriginal heritage and connections to her traditional lands. Her identity is closely tied to the Murray River and the land from which she was displaced, specifically from Cummeragunja, marking a bitter and forcible removal from her home. This dislocation is a source of deep-seated resentment and shapes her worldview. Despite the trials she has faced, Nan Dear is characterised by a deep sense of duty and pragmatism. She is concerned with everyday survival and the practical needs of her family—working to put food on the table and keeping her family safe.

As the matriarch, Nan Dear's relationships with her daughter, Gladys, and granddaughter, Dolly, are a mix of affection and stern guidance. She is quick to offer wisdom to Dolly, such as reminding her of the importance of knowing family connections to avoid unwitting relationships with close relatives. Nan Dear's knowledge of family history is implied to be extensive, though she may feign ignorance when it suits her, suggesting a complicated relationship with the past.

Her cultural beliefs surface subtly through her reluctance to embrace the visiting monarchy, mocking the idea of needing white gloves for a royal visit and declaring, "She's not my queen". This resistance to the monarch's visit and the detachment she expresses towards Gladys' interest in royalty reveals an underlying rejection of colonial authority and a preference for the Aboriginal ways of life.

Nan Dear's resilience is not just a personal trait but serves as symbolic of her community's endurance. Statements like "Born [by the Murray River] and by crikey I'm gunna go back and die there" demonstrate her strong will to return to her roots despite the adversity faced. This return, for her, is associated with embracing the simplicity and beauty of her origins, like having a feed of swan eggs before she passes, signifying a connection to her birthplace.

Her experience of displacement is steeped in historical injustices, as evidenced by her bitter recollection of being forced to leave Cummeragunja. This comment on forced relocation exposes the reality of Aboriginal displacement and the loss of home and culture.

These observations offer a critical perspective on the consequences of colonial policies for Aboriginal people.

Nan Dear is a fiercely independent individual whose character lends gravity and authenticity to the narrative of "Rainbow's End." Her dialogue is delivered with an undercurrent of knowing defiance, revealing a woman shaped by adversity yet undiminished in spirit. She represents a generation of Aboriginal people who, despite systematic disenfranchisement, maintained their dignity and cultural identity. Through her words and actions, Nan Dear confronts the audience with the realities of her community's history, while also displaying an unwavering resolve to withstand and challenge these realities.

Gladys Banks

Gladys Banks represents the aspirations and challenges of an Aboriginal woman in 1950s Australia. This multi-dimensional character is caught between her cultural heritage and the desire for progress and recognition within the broader, often unfriendly, society.

As the daughter of Nan Dear and mother to Dolly, Gladys mediates between the old ways and new possibilities that her daughter may have. A scene in the play that captures her ambitions and protective instincts as a mother is her confrontation with the bank manager where she presents her daughter Dolly for a teller's position. Proudly asserting "She's just completed her Leaving Certificate—the first in the family—with real good grades… 'N' top of her class in algebra," Gladys is met not with recognition but indifference, with the bank manager pouring himself tea but pointedly ignoring her. The scene captures the societal barriers that Gladys and her daughter face, as well as Gladys's determination to push against them.

Gladys's agency is further highlighted in her firm stance on her daughter's autonomy and social life. Despite Nan Dear's apprehensions, Gladys declares decisively, "I’ll make the decisions regarding Dolores thank you. She’s going to the ball. And Errol Fisher is walking her home." This reveals her resolve and the assertion of her role as a parent, as well as the modernising viewpoint she holds compared to Nan Dear, who is more rooted in traditionalist concerns. Moreover, Gladys's readiness to confront and challenge Nan Dear's objections demonstrates her strong will as she endeavors to protect her children's rights to forge their own paths.

Gladys's complexity extends into her views on housing and respect. When discussing the Queen's visit and the humiliation of having their poor living conditions concealed behind hessian curtains, Gladys expresses upset not just over the cosmetic cover-ups but the deeper issue of decent housing and respect for her community. This highlights her awareness of the broader socio-political context and her aspiration for improved conditions for her people. Yet, she also values the autonomy they possess in their current living situation, preferring the freedom they enjoy at the shanty on the river to the restrictions experienced in more controlled environments like Cummeragunja, an Aboriginal settlement she and Nan Dear remember with claustrophobia.

Gladys Banks embodies the transition between tradition and progress, acting as both a nurturer and a pioneer. Her interactions with others showcase her resolve to advance her family's status despite the systemic challenges imposed by a world that often disregards their aspirations and dignity.

Dolly Banks

Dolly Banks is a crucial character in Jane Harrison's play "Rainbow's End," capturing the experiences of a young Aboriginal woman during the 1950s, a time rife with changes and challenges for her community. The daughter of Gladys Banks and the granddaughter of Nan Dear, Dolly is a character who embodies the bridge between the prior generation's traditional views and the new generation's aspirations.

Throughout the play, Dolly asserts her desires and individuality in a society that would typically dismiss them. In one scene, she interacts with Errol, a character symbolising the broader society's views, displaying her self-assured yet personable character. When Errol calls her "Miss Banks," she promptly corrects him, saying, "Dolly. We’re not too fussed about fancy titles," indicating both her lack of pretense. Errol complements her name, but once he learns her full name is Dolores, Dolly momentarily moves away, reflecting a subtle consciousness of boundaries and self-respect as she navigates her interactions with a non-Aboriginal man.

Dolly's aspirations and accomplishments are a point of pride for her mother, Gladys, who notes that Dolly is the first in the family to complete her Leaving Certificate, a testament to her intelligence and drive. The circumstances in which this achievement is presented, however, bring to light the stark realities of racial prejudices they confront. Gladys holds a photo of Dolly, which prompts the bank manager to acknowledge Dolly's physical appearance but does not immediately understand the reason for Gladys's visit. The scene showcases Dolly through her mother's eyes—as capable and promising—and reveals the obstacles that she would face in achieving her potential in a society that does not readily afford opportunities to Aboriginal people.

Dolly's character arc within the play reveals the nuanced complexities of identity, as she must balance the expectations of her cultural heritage with her own personal ambitions in a society that often sees her and her community as lesser. Her actions and decisions throughout the play demonstrate the younger generation's determination to both honour their heritage and pursue a future they define for themselves. Through Dolly, Harrison presents themes of cultural identity, generational change, and the possibilities that lie ahead for Aboriginal women in a changing world.

Errol Fisher

Errol Fisher emerges in Jane Harrison's "Rainbow's End" as a significant, though less central, character, who embodies the intersection of the Aboriginal community's life and the broader Australian society during the 1950s. Portrayed initially as somewhat awkward and uncertain, he is introduced to the audience as he nearly falls off his bike upon encountering Dolly, signaling an immediate spark of attraction that complicates his interactions with the family.

This initial interaction with Dolly sets the stage for Errol's character development. The exchange with Gladys further illustrates his social position and perspective. When he tentatively approaches Gladys as she is chopping wood, mistaking her for a man, he immediately demonstrates cultural ignorance and nervousness. Apologising and stating his name, "Sorry er ma’am. My name is Errol Fisher," he provides a contrast to the women's more assertive presence. This contrast is emblematic of the interplay between white Australians and Aboriginal people at the time—a dynamic of presumed authority and misunderstanding from the former, contrasted with an under-recognised competence and resilience from the latter.

Errol's intentions are primarily associated with business—selling encyclopedias as revealed in his conversation with Gladys—yet this transactional engagement serves as a backdrop to more complex intercultural exchanges. Gladys and Errol mention the encyclopedias simultaneously, indicating their previous interactions and the economic realities pressing on Gladys, who states, "We… I… won’t be needing them any more. All the shillings go into the meter box now," highlighting not only financial struggles but also the prioritisation of practical necessities over educational luxuries.

His interactions with Dolly in the play are coloured with romantic interest, albeit fraught with the implications of such a relationship in a racially divided society. He compliments her name and attempts to bridge their cultural gap, however awkwardly. Since Errol also represents other characters in the play, his role is fundamental in bringing out the perspectives and reactions of Nan Dear, Gladys, and Dolly and propelling their narratives forward. Errol's presence and character serve as a mirror that reflects and refracts the complexities of identity and interpersonal relationships within the stratified, mid-20th century Australia Australian society.

The Bank Manager

Harrison uses the The Bank Manager to showcase the systemic barriers faced by the Aboriginal community in terms of employment and societal inclusion. His interaction with Gladys Banks in her attempt to secure a job for her daughter, Dolly, is telling of the racially prejudiced attitudes of the time. Gladys, with determination, engages the Bank Manager and puts forward Dolly's qualifications for a teller's position: "But she’s just completed her Leaving Certificate—the first in the family." Despite the qualifications presented, the Bank Manager dismisses the notion, indicating a lack of openness to hiring an Aboriginal person.

The Bank Manager focuses on Dolly's appearance rather than her capabilities when he says, "Yes. Very pretty face," after examining a photograph of her. This superficial assessment underscores the racial objectification and segregation of Aboriginal people. His concern regarding how Dolly would "fit in" at the bank delineates the invisible boundaries placed by a society reluctant to accept Aboriginal individuals into professional roles. "In a job such as this reliability is important," he states, questioning how Dolly would commute to work, despite evidence of her punctuality and capability presented by Gladys.

The role of the Bank Manager, while not overly complex, provides a window into both the institutionalised racism of the period and the socioeconomic status of Aboriginal families. His patronising attitude when offering a tin money bank to Gladys, likening it to "jam tins," reflects a condescension towards her and her family's means of saving money, which is deeply ingrained in the Bank Manager’s and wider society’s view of Aboriginal people.

The character subtly represents the gatekeeping that denies Aboriginal people equal opportunities, serving as a juxtaposition to Gladys’s and Dolly's aspirations for advancement. Through this interaction, Harrison critiques the wider Australian society's views on race and the illusory concept of a fair, meritocratic system, thereby reinforcing the themes of racism and discrimination that are central to the play's message.

The Inspector

In the play "Rainbow's End," the inspector is a minor but telling character that presents a snapshot of the authority and surveillance that Aboriginal people endured in 1950s Australia. He appears in a scene where Nan and Gladys are inside the humpy, anxiously straightening everything, which sets a tone of tension and unease. The inspector serves as a symbol of the government oversight and control that loomed over the lives of the characters.

Paying a visit to evaluate their living conditions, the inspector enters with a superficially pleasant demeanor that thinly veils the oppressive power dynamics at play. He greets the efforts of Nan and Gladys with an offhand compliment, "I say crocheted pillow shams. Such beautiful work!" which Gladys attributes to her mother's handiwork. His interaction is polite yet distant, making notes while seemingly ignoring the weight of his presence and authority in the humpy.

As the scene unfolds, it becomes clear that his visit is not a casual or friendly one, but an inspection that could have severe implications for the family. The anxiety Nan and Gladys display is indicative of their vulnerability to the whims of the inspector and, by extension, the colonial power structure. When the inspector inquires after a Mr. Banks, his question underscores the traditional views of family structure and the expectation of a male head of household, hinting at patriarchal values as well.

The inspector's questions and his mode of taking notes encapsulate the intrusion of government into personal spaces and lives. This scrutiny implies potential consequences if living conditions or behaviors do not meet certain standards, though these criteria are not made explicit. This scene heightens the awareness of the audience to the systematic and normalised regulations that govern the lives of Aboriginal characters in the play, bringing the broader context of racial disparity and control into focus through the actions and attitudes of the inspector.

Jungi, a police officer, is a character that represents law enforcement and state power. The actor who plays Errol Fisher also portrays Jungi, indicating that the play presents this character as another facet of the same societal system that Errol represents—this time, the forceful side of authority.

In the scene involving Jungi, Gladys becomes alert to a noise outside, and a moment of tension ensues as a flash of lightning reveals Dolly standing statue-like in the dark. Here, Jungi's role as an enforcer is made evident when he prevents entry into the humpy, stating, "You can’t go in there. We’re evacuating."

He stands as a figure of disruption and control, directly impacting the lives of the family. His straightforward action and interaction with Dolly reflect the blunt reality of police intervention in the lives of Aboriginal families, namely the exercise of authority that often came with little explanation or regard for the personal agency of those affected. This moment emphasises the oppressive atmospheres that the characters navigate regularly, with Dolly looking down in shame yet still willing to defy his command and push past. This defiance is a testament to her spirit, mirrored by the obstinacy of Nan and Gladys, who remain insistent upon their own ways in the face of systemic and personal challenges.

Jungi's presence in "Rainbow's End," while brief, is significant in that it provides an authoritative force that the main characters must react against, revealing their resilience and determination to maintain autonomy. His portrayal in the play allows audiences to feel the palpable weight of government involvement in the everyday lives of the Aboriginal community and gives insight into the broader socio-political landscape of the time.

Papa Dear, as depicted in Jane Harrison's "Rainbow's End," is a paternal figure whose presence is felt throughout the narrative despite being physically absent for much of the play. His character is crafted through the recollections and expectations of the other characters, particularly Nan Dear and Gladys. Papa Dear's role is largely communicated through anecdotes and his influence on the family's structure and values.

Mentioned by Nan Dear as "busy doing good work. God’s work and hard work," Papa Dear is portrayed as a figure devoted to the betterment of the Aboriginal community. His dedication to activism and community work is further highlighted when Gladys recalls that he is "in Western Australia. Touring the communities there," and has been featured "in the newspaper and all," suggesting his actions and efforts are recognised and appreciated beyond their immediate surroundings.

Papa Dear's dream visitations reinforce his endearing place within the family, despite his absence. In an imagined scene, he is seen wearing "an old-fashioned hat and coat," hinting at a sense of nostalgia and timelessness associated with him. His brief entrance to kiss Gladys on the top of the head showcases a symbolic and loving connection with his family, despite his lack of direct intervention in their current struggles.

The character of Papa Dear is particularly important to Dolly during a vulnerable moment when she reflects on her family tree, considering naming her unborn child Reg or Regina, "after Papa Dear." This indicates an enduring legacy and respect for him within the family, especially for his commitment to their people.

While Papa Dear does not have a speaking role or much direct action, his presence resonates with the family and the audience, capturing the spirit of a generation of Aboriginal individuals who strived to improve conditions for their communities. Through the memories shared and the respect expressed by the characters, Papa Dear stands as a symbol of resilience, hope, and the ongoing struggle for activism and recognition within the Aboriginal community of the time.

Themes in 'Rainbow's End'

Public spaces.

Within "Rainbow's End," the infrastructure of the town and the public spaces the characters interact with are instrumental in the narrative, as they reveal the societal structures and racial segregation of the era.

The bank manager's office, for instance, is a setting where economic transactions occur, but also where social boundaries and racial discrimination are evident. As Gladys Banks boldly introduces her daughter Dolly to the Bank Manager, hoping for employment opportunities, the scene encapsulates the societal barriers that Aboriginal people face. The dialogue, "I don’t think so…" tersely dismisses Gladys's proposition, laying bare the bank's role not only as a financial institution but also as a gatekeeper of social mobility and acceptance.

Another critical setting is the Rodney Shire Council meeting, where the town's decision-makers discuss issues pertinent to the Aboriginal community. The meeting's overheard conversation is relayed through a voice-over on the radio, which Nan Dear dismisses as "rubbish." The voice-over reveals a lack of care for the displaced Aboriginal residents; "We bulldozed the shanties but they’re creeping back" reflects an attitude of erasure and containment rather than one of support and inclusion.

Public spaces are not just physical locations; they're reflection points where the personal experiences of discrimination, hopes, and frustrations of the Aboriginal characters clash with the prevailing societal views. The town hall acts as a symbol of local governance and power, where decisions affecting the lives of the characters are made. Through these settings, Harrison paints a broader picture of the societal forces and cultural landscapes that shape the lives of the Aboriginal protagonists, emphasising the disparity between the reality of marginalised communities and the rhetoric of public officials. Each of these spaces—the office, the council chamber, and the humpy—come together to construct a complex image of 1950s Australian society, highlighting the distances and differences that must be navigated by the characters.

The Rumbalara housing development is one such space that signifies the government's attempt to address Aboriginal housing issues. As a voice-over describes, "From riverbank humpy to white house is quite a step. It will shortly become reality for the Aboriginal residents of the tin and canvas shanties," it is a transformative space that is meant to signify progress. However, this movement from traditional humpies marks a profound shift in lifestyle and self-perception for the characters, offering both the promise of modern living and the potential erosion of cherished connections to culture and land.

These government-initiated changes resonate with the characters in different and complex ways. For Nan and Gladys, holding their humble possessions as the sound of bulldozers echo in the background, the loss of their humpy represents more than just a physical displacement; it's a symbolic upheaval of their connection to their past and their hopes for the future.

These social spaces also extend to the dance hall, a locale of negotiation between private desires and public performance. It is here that the crossing of cultural boundaries is made most explicit, whether through the acts of courtship or socialisation, offering a glimpse into the burgeoning desires and expectations of characters like Dolly as they interact with non-Aboriginal characters like Errol.

The play invites the audience to consider the impact of these spaces on Aboriginal lives, as they represent not just physical structures but broader efforts at societal integration and cultural assimilation. Through this, Harrison questions the true meaning of community and the cost of 'advancement' during a pivotal era in Australian history.

Social mobility and economic challenges

The theme of social mobility and economic challenges in "Rainbow's End" underscores the obstacles to progress faced by the Aboriginal characters, mapped against their aspirations for better opportunities. Their socioeconomic status is bound up with the racial discrimination they face, as depicted in their living conditions and in the imperfect avenues available for upward mobility.

Gladys, representing the struggle for social mobility, voices the collective ambition and frustration of her community, declaring the need for self-determination and education as prerequisites for economic advancement. She articulates a list of demands that reflect both personal and communal quests for progress: "'We demand the right to make our own decisions and not be at the whim of government at the mercy of Protection Boards at the vagary of landlords and property owners’". This quote encapsulates the desire for autonomy and the removal of systemic economic constraints.

Moreover, Gladys' subsequent call for educational opportunities speaks to the core of the theme, highlighting the belief in education as a path to socioeconomic improvement: "'We want jobs in town for our sons and daughters. We want them to go to universities'". This not only points to the pursuit of employment but also expresses a drive for higher education and upward social movement, defying the narrative imposed by the dominant culture that questions their capacity to learn and succeed: "'They say we can’t learn but we can. We can do anything once we set our minds to it eh?'". This assertion of capability and determination directly confronts the racist stereotypes that serve as barriers to social mobility and economic self-sufficiency.

These statements demonstrate a clear understanding of the socioeconomic prison constructed through both direct racial discrimination and systemic economic oppression that the Aboriginal characters face. Their fight for equality aligns with their demand to be regarded and treated as equals, not only by governmental and social institutions but also within the context of everyday interactions: "'We the undersigned demand to be the equal of anyone. And we will fight for that right. And keep fighting. Until we are treated right. By our neighbours and employers. By the Shire by the Crown...'". This ongoing struggle for economic parity and social justice emphasises that these challenges are not individual but collective, faced by the entire community.

Jane Harrison reveals the deep-seated economic challenges and social barriers that Aboriginal people must navigate, yet also showcases their undying resilience and the tangible hope for a more equitable future.

Symbols in 'Rainbow's End'

The river and flood.

The river and flood in "Rainbow's End" reflect the characters' ongoing combat with both the forces of nature and the pressures of societal discrimination.

The play begins with an evocative description of a flood, a natural disaster that the family must endure and recover from. The depiction of the flood is immediate and visceral: "She wails like a banshee. Rain, thunder, darkness. Time passes... The waters rise". This passage not only sets the scene for the ensuing challenge but also metaphors the unpredictable disruption that natural forces can have on life, akin to the societal upheavals faced by Aboriginal people.

Post-flood, the characters' resilience is laid bare as Gladys stands outside the humpy, "the water has drained away but the devastation has been wrought." What remains is "saturated and muddy," a testament to their shattered domesticity and a broader reflection of their shaken but unbroken spirit. As Nan Dear leads Dolly, "shell-shocked" and bedraggled, out of the humpy, she offers not just physical sustenance in the form of "a cup of billy tea," but also emotional support, symboliing the continuity of care and survival instinct rooted deep within their family and culture.

The river is synonymous with life and sustenance, much as it is with peril and uncertainty. The flood thus becomes a motif for the hardships imposed upon the characters, where the perseverance in the aftermath mirrors the larger struggle against the inundating forces of racial prejudice and social exclusion. This symbolic event reinforces the theme that while the family is continually subjected to forces beyond their control—be it nature's whims or institutionalised racism—their resilience fortifies their bond, as they adapt, endure, and continue their journey against the odds.

The humpy is not merely a physical structure; it is a potent symbol of the Aboriginal family’s resilience, connection to their land, and their socioeconomic status. Described as a "rough dwelling; a bush hut made from found materials", the humpy stands as a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the family in improvising their home from what is available to them.

This detail is significant as it emphasises how the protagonists make do with limited resources, a direct result of economic deprivation and systemic exclusion.

The humpy is more than a symbol of economic challenge, though; it is also a space of cultural significance. It is here that Nan Dear, Gladys, and Dolly share intimate family moments, resist the intrusion of the Inspector sent by the government to report on their living conditions, and maintain their cultural practices.

When the family is eventually forced to leave their humpy for the prefabricated houses in the Rumbalara housing estate, they experience a loss that is as much cultural as it is material: "From riverbank humpy to white house is quite a step.” This enforced relocation resonates with echoes of past dispossession and is representative of the broader colonial impact on Aboriginal lives and lands.

It is within and around this humble structure that some of the play's most significant confrontations with the harsh realities of their world occur, making it a central motif throughout the narrative. The humpy, with its connotations of makeshift necessity and adaptation, represents the intersection of the family's defiant perseverance and the adverse conditions imposed upon them by a society that frequently sees them as living on the periphery.

The White Gloves and the Dress

The white gloves and the dress in "Rainbow's End" serve as symbols of social aspirations and the pressures of conforming to an idealised standard within an environment dominated by colonial values. These items, connected to the pivotal event of the Queen's visit, carry significant weight in the characters' lives as markers of cultural assimilation and social mobility.

Gladys’s pursuit of respectability and acceptance in the broader Australian society is embodied by her desire to present herself and Dolly in a certain way during the Queen’s visit. On a deeper level, the white gloves represent a veneer of civility and refinement imposed by a society that judges individuals based on adherence to European standards of appearance and etiquette.

At times, these symbols act as a foil to the characters' Aboriginal identity and their quest for equality and acceptance. Gladys, after a long walk redirected due to the presence of hessian screens meant to hide their shanties, arrives home exhausted. The state of her attire, as she "holding a very wilted bunch of flowers comes inside the humpy and plonks down in the only chair," speaks volumes of her futile attempts to mold herself into the image of societal expectations. The wilted flowers she holds, perhaps once intended as a gift for the Queen or as a symbol of participation in the day's regal events, signify the decay of her hopes under the weight of racial and economic realities.

Similarly, her discomfort with the borrowed shoes alludes to the futility and discomfort that comes from trying to fit into a societal mold that was never intended for them: "Oh my feet! Remind me never to borrow Aunty’s shoes again". The equating of discomfort with the shoes symbolises the larger narrative of Aboriginal peoples donning cultural facets that are not their own, causing a sense of displacement and unease.

In "Rainbow's End," then, the white gloves and the dress—and by extension, the wilted flowers and borrowed shoes—are not just articles of clothing or accessories. They are laden with the subtext of cultural aspirations entwined with the characters’ struggles to assert their identity and worth within a societal framework that often excludes and marginalises them.

The Bulldozers

In "Rainbow's End," the bulldozers symbolise the forceful imposition of government policies on the lives of Aboriginal people and the erasure of their traditional ways of living.

The sound of bulldozers marks a moment of transformation and loss for the family as they watch their home, the humpy, disappear — a manifestation of intrusive governmental intervention that disregards the significance of the humpy as a cultural and historical sanctuary for the characters: "From riverbank humpy to white house is quite a step. It will shortly become reality for the Aboriginal residents of the tin and canvas shanties". This illustrates the government initiative to 'solve' Aboriginal housing, though it's deeply conflicting for the characters who are being uprooted from their ancestral connection to the land.

The authority of the bulldozers and the physical uprooting of the community are starkly depicted as Nan and Gladys "hold their humble possessions as the sound of the bulldozers is heard". The deafening sound resonates with finality, signaling the end of an era for the family's traditional dwelling and compelling a move to the prefabricated houses that represent conformity and forced modernisation. Despite the government’s portrayal of this move as a "vigorous attempt yet to solve Aboriginal housing," the use of the bulldozer as a symbol in the play points to a history of such 'solutions' often being forms of cultural dispossession and control.

The bulldozer signifies the physical destruction of the humpy, but it also represents destruction of the family's autonomy and the erasure of cultural practices that have allowed the Aboriginal community to maintain a sense of identity despite ongoing colonisation. In "Rainbow's End," this symbol is a powerful reminder of the characters' resilience against the mechanically indifferent forces that disrupt their lives, as well as the resilience necessary to adapt to new environments and challenges, albeit begrudgingly and with loss.

The Spirit Tree (Biyala)

In Jane Harrison's "Rainbow's End," the biyala or spirit tree serves as a symbol of cultural identity and connection to ancestral traditions.

This symbolism is introduced through Nan Dear, as she clarifies the concept of the family tree for Dolly. When Dolly mentions constructing her family tree for a school project, Nan Dear responds with a cultural interpretation, acknowledging the biyala: "Tree? You mean the biyala? Spirit tree branches hanging low over the river?". This inquiry demonstrates not only Nan Dear's deep cultural awareness but also her desire to impart this knowledge onto her granddaughter.

Nan Dear's reference to the biyala contrasts with Dolly's Western-style family tree diagram — a linear, rational approach to ancestry. The biyala represents a more organic, interconnected understanding of familial and cultural associations. In this way, the spirit tree becomes a motif of the Aboriginal connection to nature and community as opposed to the more individualistic Western notion of lineage.

The image of the spirit tree, with its branches hanging over the river, also suggests protection and a sense of belonging. It represents the idea of ancestry as not just a list of names but as a living entity that offers shade and continuity for the present and future generations. By including the motif of the biyala, Harrison conveys the characters' strong attachment to their heritage, notwithstanding the omnipresent pressures of assimilation and the impact of colonialism on their lives.

Harrison uses the biyala as a vehicle to explore the complexity of Aboriginal cultural identity, the significance of place and belonging, and the characters' connection to a landscape that holds both their history and their spirits.

Setting in 'Rainbow's End'

The setting in "Rainbow’s End" by Jane Harrison reflects the socioeconomic and racial divides of the era, while also serving as a catalyst for character development and thematics.

The Dear family’s modest dwelling at ‘The Flats’ near Shepparton is vital to understanding the characters’ external and internal landscapes. Located by the riverbank and described as a “humpy," this setting is both “clean and homely” and also representative of the family's resilience and pride amidst poverty and social marginalisation.

At a ball in the town hall, a place where the community's racial prejudices and disparities come to the forefront. Dolly's attendance wearing a dress made from old house curtains, later revealed to be discarded to “the town bloody tip,” contrasts with the town's material affluence. Nancy’s mockery of Dolly’s attire ("Love your dress Dolly... When it was our sunroom curtains") highlights the socioeconomic rift between the Aboriginal and white communities.

The geographical separation of 'The Flats' from the rest of the community by a railway accentuates this difference, mapping the Dear family's story onto a broader narrative of systemic inequality and exclusion.

The river – adjacent to the family's dwelling – serves both as a place of reflection and the reveal of a community's vulnerabilities. The swelling of the river highlights the natural hazards that the poorly sheltered Indigenous settlement must withstand.

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The Rainbow

By d.h. lawrence.

  • The Rainbow Summary

The Rainbow follows the intergenerational development of the Brangwens—a family of farmers living near Ilkeston in the East Midland region of England—from the 1840s to the early twentieth century. Through the Bragnwen’s, Lawrence traces the broader social, cultural, and technological changes happening in England at the same time.

The novel begins on the Brangwen’s Marsh Farm and first follows Tom Brangwen as he courts and marries a Polish widow named Lydia. The marriage between Tom and Lydia is marked by the feeling that “they were so foreign to each other,” as Tom struggles to make sense of the life that Lydia lived before immigrating to England. Still, he grows close to Anna, the daughter she had from her previous marriage. While much of the start of the novel is dedicated to depicting the anger shared between Tom and Lydia, they proceed to have two of their own children: Tom and Fred.

In the third chapter, the focus of the novel shifts to Anna. She is described as being a fiercely independent and hearty young girl who adores her step-father and feels distant from her mother. As Anna ages, she remains headstrong and solitary until she meets William, the nephew of Tom. Despite Tom’s disapproval, the two begin a courtship and marry in a big ceremony at the Brangwen’s farm.

Although Will and Anna share an idyllic honeymoon in their cottage, their relationship quickly sours and soon they are fighting like Tom and Lydia before them. In this way, Lawrence demonstrates that the ideals of perfect love and actual relationships are two very different things. His commitment to portraying the difficulties of life and love makes The Rainbow a work of realism.

Despite the animosity between them, Will and Anna go on to have a family of nine children (one of whom dies in childbirth). Their eldest, Ursula, becomes the protagonist of the third and final generation depicted in the novel. Like her mother, Ursula is a fiercely independent child. Indeed, through the many similarities shared between the generations of the Brangwen family, Lawrence demonstrates that our personalities are shaped to a large extent by our families and the way in which we are raised.

Yet, Ursula is in some ways quite different from her forebearers. She is a distinctly modern woman, who desires “to take her place in the world” (381). She is the first Brangwen woman to find work outside of the home, she participates in the suffragette movement, and she has a lesbian relationship with one of her teachers. Through Ursula, Lawrence demonstrates both the progress that has been made for women’s rights and the incredible difficulty that women still face in a “tyrannical man-world” (381).

As a young woman, Ursula engages in a relationship with the son of her parents' friends, Anton Skrebensky. Anton is a soldier who, in his fervent support of the state, is a representation of British colonialism. Over several years, Ursula and Anton share a passionate romance filled with scenes so steamy that the novel was deemed a scandal and banned in Britain for a decade. Yet unlike her mother and grandmother, Ursula prioritizes her personal freedom and rejects proposals from both Anton and from another man named Anthony.

As the novel draws to a conclusion, Ursula fears that she is pregnant with Anton’s child. In a state of panic, she writes to Anton, now stationed in India, and finally agrees to marry him. He reveals that he has married another woman, causing Ursula to fall into a state of depression. The novel then ends on an optimistic note as Ursula sees a rainbow forming and is granted a renewed hope in “new growth, rising to the light and the wind and the clean rain of heaven” (459). Many of the themes and characters in The Rainbow are developed further in the sequel to the novel, Women in Love , which was published in 1920.

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The Rainbow Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Rainbow is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

How can I contribute with the analysis of The Rainbow?

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What is the central theme of the passage

Rage against the machine is the main theme. The times are changing for extended members of the Brangwen clan. The canal cut into their property to connect the collieries is a symbolic slashing of tradition and convention. The days of bucolic...

What is the theme of the passage

Study Guide for The Rainbow

The Rainbow study guide contains a biography of D.H. Lawrence, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About The Rainbow
  • Character List

Essays for The Rainbow

The Rainbow essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence.

  • Gender in The Rainbow
  • Mind Over Matter: A Close Reading of Character Contrasts in The Rainbow

Wikipedia Entries for The Rainbow

  • Introduction

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

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Nan Dear, as stipulated by her birth certificate, was born beside the Murray River and takes immense pride in her rich Aboriginal heritage and ancestral lands. Her identity is intimately entwined with the Murray River and the place she was unceremoniously uprooted from, specifically Cummeragunja. This brutal eviction leaves an undercurrent of bitterness that influences her outlook on life. Despite the challenges she’s faced, Nan Dear is defined by an unwavering sense of responsibility and practicality, focusing primarily on providing for her family and ensuring their safety.

Being the family’s elder, her interactions with her daughter, Gladys, and granddaughter, Dolly, oscillate between care and rigid discipline. She often imparts wisdom to Dolly, like emphasizing the significance of familial ties to prevent inadvertent relationships with kin. Nan Dear’s grasp of her lineage is vast, although she might pretend otherwise when expedient, hinting at a complex rapport with her past.

Her cultural convictions subtly emerge, most notably in her scoffing at the idea of needing white gloves for a royal visit and her declaration of, “She’s not my queen.” This aversion to the royal visit and the indifference towards Gladys’s fascination with the monarchy reflect her underlying dismissal of colonial hegemony and a lean towards Aboriginal customs.

Nan Dear embodies resilience, a quality that goes beyond being personal and becomes representative of her community’s fortitude. Her resolution to return to her roots regardless of hardship is evident in expressions like “Born [by the Murray River] and by crikey I’m gunna go back and die there.” This determination to reunite with her birthplace, symbolized by the simple joy of consuming swan eggs before she passes, reveals a heartfelt bond with her origins.

Her experience of displacement is deeply embedded in historical infractions, as underscored by her acrid memories of compulsory expulsion from Cummeragunja. This account highlights the reality of forced relocations of Aboriginal people and the subsequent loss of home and culture. It lends a critical viewpoint on the aftermath of colonial policies on Aboriginal communities.

In conclusion, Nan Dear, with her fierce independence, instills depth and veracity into the narrative of “Rainbow’s End.” Her dialogue is laced with a subtle defiance, unveiling a character sculpted by hardships yet unfaltering in spirit. She personifies a generation of Aboriginal individuals who, despite systemic oppression, upheld their cultural identity with dignity. She confronts the audience with the stark truth about her community’s standing by recollecting past experiences, showcasing an undeterred resolve to withstand and challenge these realities.

Gladys Banks

In Jane Harrison’s “Rainbow’s End,” the character of Gladys Banks emerges as a powerful symbol of the dreams and dilemmas of an Aboriginal woman during the 1950s in Australia. This multifaceted character finds herself torn between her cultural ancestry and a yearning for advancement and validation within a wider society that’s often hostile. Being Nan Dear’s daughter and Dolly’s mother, Gladys finds herself bridging gaps between old customs and her daughter’s potential for new opportunities. A particular scene that pinpoints her ambitions and protective motherly instincts is when she approaches the bank manager, presenting Dolly for a teller’s position. Despite her pride in declaring, “She’s just completed her Leaving Certificate—the first in the family—with real good grades… ‘N’ top of her class in algebra,” Gladys is met with disdain, portrayed by the bank manager’s indifference. This episode signifies the roadblocks that Gladys and Dolly confront and Gladys’s resolution to fight against them.

The spotlight further shines on Gladys’s potency when she asserts her daughter’s independence and social life. Contrary to Nan Dear’s concern, she firmly states, “I’ll make the decisions regarding Dolores thank you. She’s going to the ball. And Errol Fisher is walking her home”. Her command unveils her determination, her role as a decision-maker, and her progressive stance compared to Nan Dear’s traditionalist viewpoint. Furthermore, Gladys’s preparedness to counter Nan Dear’s reservations exhibits her grit in shielding her children’s freedom to carve their destinies.

Gladys’s complexity unravels further in her opinions on living conditions and respect. Discussing the Queen’s tour and the embarrassment of screening their impoverished homes behind hessian drapes, Gladys voices discomfort concerning not just the superficial attempts to mask their poverty but also the deeper issue of suitable housing and respect for her community. Her concern reflects an understanding of the larger socio-political scenario and her hopes for enhanced conditions for her community. However, she cherishes the liberty they have at the riverbank shanty over the limitations of more regulated habitats like Cummeragunja, an Aboriginal settlement that fills her and Nan Dear with a sense of suffocation.

In totality, Gladys Banks encapsulates the intersection between tradition and advancement. She simultaneously assumes the roles of nurturer and trailblazer. Her interactions exhibit her unwavering commitment to elevate her family’s stature in the face of societal obstacles that often overlook their aspirations and dignity.

Dolly Banks

Dolly Banks surfaces as a central figure in Jane Harrison’s “Rainbow’s End”, personifying the journey of a young Aboriginal girl during the transformative period of the 1950s. As Gladys Banks’s daughter and Nan Dear’s granddaughter, Dolly is an emblem of the link between age-old conventions of the previous generation and the aspirations of the forthcoming one.

Throughout the narrative, Dolly carves out her individuality and desires in a society geared to overlook them. A notable interaction unfolds between Dolly and Errol, an epitome of society’s general perspectives. Upon being addressed as “Miss Banks,” Dolly is quick to rectify it as “Dolly,” affirming her down-to-earth nature and her inherent strength. The aftermath of Errol complimenting her name and learning that her full name is Dolores witnesses Dolly tactfully distancing herself, manifesting her boundary awareness and self-regard as she manages her encounter with a non-Aboriginal man.

Gladys often acknowledges Dolly’s achievements and dreams with pride, emphasizing Dolly being the first in their family to earn her Leaving Certificate, a testament to her intellectual prowess and determination. However, the circumstances under which this attainment is brought up highlights the harsh racial biases they encounter. Armed with Dolly’s picture, Gladys has to deal with the bank manager acknowledging Dolly’s looks without grasping Gladys’s purpose of visit. The episode offers a glimpse into Dolly through Gladys’s perspective—full of potential, yet constrained by a society reluctant to offer opportune circumstances to Aboriginal people.

Dolly’s character progression in the play divulges the elaborate intricacies of identity, balancing cultural expectations with her personal ambitions in a world that usually marginalizes her and her community. Her consistent decisions and actions throughout the play epitomize the younger generation’s resoluteness to pay homage to their roots while forging their chosen future. Through Dolly, Harrison expounds on themes of cultural selfhood, generational transformation, and the promise of future prospects for Aboriginal women in an evolving societal landscape.

Errol Fisher 

In Jane Harrison’s “Rainbow’s End,” Errol Fisher steps onto the scene as a pivotal, albeit less prominent, character. He encapsulates the overlap of the Aboriginal community’s experiences and wider Australian society in the 1950s. Instilled with a sense of awkwardness and uncertainty, he marks his entrance by nearly tumbling off his bicycle upon meeting Dolly, an indication of an immediate affection that adds complexity to his bond with the family.

Errol’s character progression begins unfolding with his interaction with Dolly. His conversation with Gladys subsequently highlights his societal role and viewpoint. His hesitancy is evident when he mistakes lumber-chopping Gladys for a man, thereby exposing his cultural unawareness and anxiety. His swift apology and introduction, “Sorry er ma’am. My name is Errol Fisher,” establish a stark contrast to the women’s bold demeanor. This contrast signifies the prevailing dynamics between white Australians and Aboriginal people—an assumption of superiority and misunderstanding from the former side and overlooked proficiency and fortitude from the latter.

Errol’s primary motive circles around his business endeavors—selling encyclopedias—as disclosed in his chat with Gladys. Still, this commercial engagement also layers over intricate cross-cultural interactions. Gladys and Errol’s synchronised reference to the encyclopedias suggests prior discussions and the financial pressures facing Gladys, who admits, “We… I… won’t be needing them any more. All the shillings go into the meter box now,” accentuating not just economical burdens but also the priority of basic needs over educational indulgences.

His subsequent interactions with Dolly hint at a romantic inference, albeit tangled with the societal implications of such an alliance amidst racial divisions. He compliments her name and endeavors to bridge the cultural divide, regardless of his clumsy approach. Since Errol also embodies other characters, he plays a crucial part in eliciting responses from Nan Dear, Gladys, and Dolly while driving their narratives. Errol’s presence, therefore, offers a refractive lens to examine the complexities of identity and relationships within the layered social structure of mid-20th-century Australia.

The Bank Manager

In Jane Harrison’s “Rainbow’s End,” the Bank Manager epitomizes structural hindrances faced by the Aboriginal community concerning employment and societal acceptance. His interaction with Gladys Banks, who is lobbying for a job for her daughter Dolly, reveals the racially biased mindset at the time. Attempting to underline Dolly’s qualifications for a teller’s position, Gladys states, “But she’s just completed her Leaving Certificate—the first in the family.” Despite these credentials, the Bank Manager dismisses this proposal, indicating resistance to employ an Aboriginal individual.

The audience observes the Bank Manager prioritizing Dolly’s appearance over her skills when he comments, “Yes. Very pretty face,” while studying a photo of her. This shallow appraisal highlights the racial objectification and discrimination faced by Aboriginal people. His query about how Dolly would adapt at the bank subtly points out the invisible barriers imposed by a society uncomfortable with accepting Aboriginal people in professional roles. Despite Gladys confirming Dolly’s punctuality and competency, his statement, “In a job such as this reliability is important,” questions Dolly’s means of commuting to work.

While the character of the Bank Manager isn’t profoundly intricate, it offers insight into the institutionalised racism of the era and the socioeconomic standing of Aboriginal families. His patronising gesture of presenting a tin money bank to Gladys, compared to “jam tins,” mirrors his condescension towards her family’s savings methods, a mindset that aligns with the broader societal perceptions of Aboriginal people.

This character subtly stands for the gatekeeping that obstructs equal opportunities for Aboriginal individuals, creating a stark contrast against the professional aspirations of Gladys and Dolly. This interaction culminates in the play’s critique of Australian society’s racial perceptions and the hollow notion of a fair, merit-centered framework, thereby accentuating central themes of racism and discrimination echoed in the play’s narrative.

The Inspector The character of the inspector, though minor in Jane Harrison’s “Rainbow’s End,” symbolically encapsulates the surveillance and authority that Aboriginal individuals encountered in 1950s Australia. He comes into the picture when Nan and Gladys are anxiously tidying up their home, setting an atmosphere of apprehension. The inspector embodies the governmental supervision that persistently shadows the lives of the characters.

His visit to assess their living standard is marked by a seemingly congenial veneer that thinly disguises the intrusive power dynamics. Responding to Nan and Gladys’s efforts with a casual compliment on the “crocheted pillow shams,” credited to Nan’s craftsmanship, he maintains a polite yet aloof interaction, taking notes while apparently disregarding the significant influence of his authority within their home.

The exchange of this scene goes on to reveal the true intent of his visit—an inspection that holds severe repercussions for the family. The unease displayed by Nan and Gladys underscores their vulnerability to the inspector’s discretionary power, and by extension, the colonial authority structures. His query regarding a Mr. Banks casts light on conventional impressions of family units and the expectation of a male patriarch, subtly reflecting patriarchal norms.

With his meticulously noted inquiries, the inspector exemplifies governmental intrusion into personal lives and spaces. This implies potential undesirable outcomes should the living conditions or behaviors fail to meet preset, albeit unspoken, standards. This incidence sharpens the audience’s understanding of the systematized rules governing the Aboriginal characters’ lives in the play, spotlighting the broader backdrop of racial inequality and control through the inspector’s attitudes and actions.

Jungi Jungi, a police officer in Jane Harrison’s “Rainbow’s End,” serves as a symbol of legal enforcement and state authority. The actor representing Errol Fisher also plays Jungi, suggesting that the character represents another aspect of the same societal structure embodied by Errol—specifically, a more confrontational side of authority.

In the scene where Jungi appears, Gladys is alerted to a noise outside, leading to a tense moment as a lightning flash reveals Dolly standing still in the darkness. Jungi’s role as a law enforcer becomes apparent when he forbids entry into the family’s dwelling, stating, “You can’t go in there. We’re evacuating.” He emerges as an agent of disruption and regulation, directly affecting the family’s life. His straightforward actions and dialogue with Dolly mirror the harsh reality of police interference in Aboriginal families’ lives – the display of power often comes devoid of ample explanation or consideration for the personal autonomy of those impacted. This scene highlights the oppressive circumstances that the characters continually navigate, with Dolly casting her gaze down in disgrace, yet displaying the strength to defy his directive and force her way past.

Despite his fleeting presence, Jungi’s role in “Rainbow’s End” is meaningful as it provides an authoritative force for the main characters to counter, revealing their resilience and determination to sustain independence. His portrayal offers audiences a feel of the heavy-handed governmental intrusion into the daily routines of the Aboriginal community, shedding light on the broader socio-political context of the era.

Within Jane Harrison’s “Rainbow’s End,” Papa Dear looms as a fatherly figure whose influence prevails in the narrative, despite his physical absence for most of the play. His characterization gets crafted via the memories and expectations of the other characters, primarily Nan Dear and Gladys. His role is largely depicted through stories and his sway on familial structure and values.

Portrayed by Nan Dear as a man “busy doing good work. God’s work and hard work,” Papa Dear is painted as an individual dedicated to the upliftment of the Aboriginal community. His commitment to activism and communal service is further highlighted when Gladys recounts his travels, stating that he’s “in Western Australia. Touring the communities there,” and has also featured “in the newspaper and all,” suggesting his efforts are recognized and valued beyond their immediate circles.

His dream appearances fortify his fond relevance to the family in spite of his absence. In a conjured scene, he’s shown wearing “an old-fashioned hat and coat,” suggesting a sense of nostalgia and timelessness linked to his persona. His brief act of kissing Gladys on the head demonstrates a symbolic and affectionate bond with his family, downsizing his lack of direct involvement in their ongoing challenges.

When Dolly contemplates her family tree during a vulnerable moment, she considers naming her unborn child Reg or Regina, “after Papa Dear.” This reflects a continuing legacy and admiration for him within the family, particularly his dedication to their people.

While Papa Dear does not have much dialogue or direct involvement in “Rainbow’s End,” his existence vibrates through the family and the audience, portraying the spirit of a generation of Aboriginal folks who aspired better conditions for their communities. Through the shared memories and the respect exhibited by the characters, Papa Dear stands as a beacon of resilience, hope, and the continuing effort for activism and acknowledgment within the Aboriginal community of the era.

Rainbows (Amazing Sights of the Sky)

What is at the End of a Rainbow?

Did you know that the answer to the riddle “What is at the end of a rainbow?” is the letter “W”? The answer is incorrect, because this question is not asking what color is at the end of a rainbow, but rather what the letter is at the end of the word “rainbow”.

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What is at the end of a rainbow

Leprechaun’s gold

A legend states that the leprechaun’s gold sits at the end of a rainbow. This magical creature has the ability to grant wishes when captured. This fairy-tale creature is a smart, wily fellow, so keeping an eye out for him will ensure you get a lot of the gold he holds. It is said that capturing a leprechaun will grant you three wishes.

In mythology, leprechauns are a mischievous, naughty group of folk creatures who were known to hide their booty from Viking raids. However, the legend is not entirely true. While they were mistrusted by humans, leprechauns buried their stolen gold in a pot underground. Regardless of the truth of this legend, the fact that a rainbow always ends in a pot of gold has remained a part of folklore.

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

Irish fables are filled with stories about greedy leprechauns hiding their gold. Despite the fact that the leprechaun’s gold isn’t always hidden at the end of a rainbow, the Irish took the warning to heart and learned that there’s no way to predict whether or not you’ll find it at the end of a rainbow. In addition to the pot of gold, many Irish people believe that the leprechauns hid their gold in a pot of mud, which he staked with his hat.

Supernumerary rainbows

The formation of rainbows can be explained in simple terms. Rainbows are produced when light waves collide with each other and bend. The resulting bands of light have different wavelengths, red being longer than blue and yellow. Light is refracted in the atmosphere, separating them into the rainbow’s primary colors. The colors of the rainbow are a result of this interference. Despite their name, supernumerary rainbows are not visible to the naked eye.

Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism

A supernumerary rainbow is formed when falling water droplets have nearly the same size. The droplets are usually less than one millimetre in diameter, and sunlight will reflect inside the raindrops. When the raindrops collide, they create an eerie rainbow. One photographer, John Bailey, has a knack for capturing bizarre weather phenomena. One of his latest photos of a lightning strike hitting the Jersey Shore, was shared on Instagram.

While this phenomenon may not be completely understood by geometric optics, it is considered an evidence of the wave nature of light. Earlier in 1804 Thomas Young had theorized the wave nature of light, which explained the phenomenon of supernumerary rainbows. In a subsequent paper, he explained the origin of supernumerary rainbows by revealing that they are created by interference between two light rays. So what is the cause of supernumerary rainbows?

Tertiary rainbows

There are two types of rainbows, quaternary and tertiary. Quaternary rainbows and tertiary rainbows are closer to the sun, but they are not the same. A tertiary rainbow appears when the sun is not in the sky for more than a few minutes. While quaternary rainbows are far more common, they are a bit more rare.

The conditions for the appearance of a tertiary rainbow were first predicted by U.S. Naval Academy meteorologist Raymond Lee. A triple rainbow can form when the sun breaks through dark thunderclouds and uniformly sized raindrops. The third and fourth types of rainbows are even more rare, and scientists have even been able to detect a quaternary rainbow in the lab. Those types of rainbows are far more rare, but the conditions that create them are relatively similar.

For this rainbow to form, the conditions must be perfect. The sun must be 40 degrees from the earth and have favourable conditions. Because of this, a photographer must have a great deal of contrast to capture the rainbow. The images must be high-quality to capture the full arc of a tertiary rainbow. A photographer can barely detect a tertiary rainbow, but image processing can reveal the arc of a rainbow.

Moreover, a tertiary rainbow appears when the sunlight reflects inside a raindrop. In a tertiary rainbow, light from the sun is refracted through a range of wavelengths of visible light. When it shines out in the sky, this rainbow appears as a multi-colored arc. However, the sun’s glare and extrinsic background can interfere with the rainbow.

Twinned rainbows

The phenomenon of twinned rainbows at the end of rainbows is quite a rare occurrence. They occur when two rainbow arcs split from one base. Scientists have studied the nature of these rainbows and the physics behind them. While scientists have had a hard time explaining why these rainbows appear, they have now found the secret to their peculiar optics. Researchers have studied a number of simulations and studied the dual nature of light and the effects on rainbows.

Rainbows: Nature and Culture (Earth)

While a primary rainbow has only one distinct colour, twinned rainbows are caused by two different reflections of light. This is because the reflected light comes from two different angles. The light rays that are reflected in a secondary rainbow will have reversed colors, and they appear much higher and lighter than the primary rainbow. Although rare, the beauty of twin rainbows cannot be denied.

Interestingly, the size of the raindrops can lead to the formation of multiple rainbows. A twinned rainbow can be seen in both natural and artificial light. While most rainbows are circular, there are times when multiple arcs form. The full circle rainbow is very rare, occurring only at low altitudes, where there are obstructions that prevent it from forming. If a rainbow has a full circle, it will have a primary and secondary rainbows that break off from the main one.

Reflection rainbows

Rainbows are created when rays of light from a raindrop intersect, either directly or indirectly. In a raindrop, light bounces around three times, sometimes four times, before exiting. These third-order rainbows are so faint that they cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can be photographed by a camera. The photo must then be enhanced to achieve a high-quality result and be published in an academic journal.

The main difference between a primary and secondary rainbow is that the secondary is not an exact mirror image of the primary rainbow, and it is usually displaced from it depending on its altitude. Despite this difference, a reflected rainbow can still be seen. Here are some common reflection rainbows. The primary rainbow is usually the brighter of the two and can be seen over a large body of water. Reflection rainbows can even be seen in tiny puddles.

In some rainbows, the light inside the raindrop interferes with the reflected light, creating a supernumerary arc. This phenomenon was explained by Thomas Young in 1804. His theories about the physical nature of light have benefited from his work. Young interpreted light as a wave in 1804.

Secondary rainbows

What causes secondary rainbows at the end of a raindrop? The second and final part of a rainbow is produced when sunlight is reflected twice inside raindrops. The rays of light from this secondary rainbow are more bent than those of the primary rainbow, so they appear nearer the sun. The colors in this secondary rainbow are also in reverse order. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides a great example of this phenomenon.

Another example of secondary rainbows at the end of a raindrop is the moon. Scientists believe that moons can produce rainbows, and they have been found on Titan, the moon of Saturn. The moon is cloudy and wet, so raindrops in the atmosphere of this world would produce rainbows as well. The sun’s light reflects off the cloud’s surface and the rays from the sun’s rays refract and reflect. The result is a rainbow of differing amplitude.

The center of a rainbow is at the angle between the rays of light and the shadow of the observer’s head. This angle is 180 deg. The light ray then falls outward, creating a secondary bow. This second bow has a lower intensity than the primary bow, but is bent through an angle of 51deg from the antisolar point. The secondary rainbow is inherently dim, so it may not be visible even if the primary rainbow is very bright.

Rainbows, Mirages, and Sundogs

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An Ultimate Guide to Rainbow's End by Jane Harrison

An Ultimate Guide to Rainbow's End by Jane Harrison

Jane Harrison’s 2007 play ‘Rainbow’s End’ invites its audience into the household of three Indigenous women as they struggle to realise their dreams in an era of racial segregation and dispossession.  Set in the 1950s, Harrison backdrops the fight for housing rights and the Queen’s first visit to Australia to remind its audiences how little has changed since the establishment of Rumbalara. Alongside this political backdrop, Harrison constructs a coming of age story where Dolly’s personal struggle to retain control and agency over herself and her dreams serves as a representation of the story’s parallel political struggle for Indigenous sovereignty.

The play follows the Dears family, who live in a humpy on a riverbank near Shepparton, Victoria. Early on, Nan Dear explains that the government “forced [them] to leave Cummeragunja. Our home” (p. 15), and that this settlement is a result of displacement. 

When Errol Fisher, a white boy who has come from Melbourne to sell encyclopaedias, stumbles upon the settlement, a romance forms between him and Dolly. While she is aware of the near impossibility of their relationship, Nan Dear is even more sceptical of Errol and warns Dolly to “watch who [she’s] mixing with” as it’s “hard to tell a good man from a bad,” (p. 41). We later learn that her mistrust is born out of personal experience with sexual assault, and the result of her witnessing Ester’s abusive relationship with her white husband. 

At the Miss Shepparton Ball, a fight  ensues between Errol and Dolly’s cousins, and after their escape she experiences further pressure from Errol himself, who attempts to convince her to go live together in Melbourne. Dolly scorns at his promise of a “better life” and makes it clear that she would not leave her family behind. As he grabs her arm in one last attempt to convince her, Dolly breaks free and runs off, only to have her agency even more brutally taken away from her later in the night when she is sexually assaulted at the hands of her cousin. 

In the final act the three women have moved into Rumbalara, yet find the housing bleak and ‘unloveable.’ It is also revealed that Dolly is pregnant with the child of her assailant. Meanwhile, Gladys pursues her own dreams and employs Errol’s help to learn how to read .

In the final scene, at a general meeting to discuss Aboriginal housing rights, Gladys accepts her daughter’s choice to become a nurse despite previous efforts to get her a banking job. Nan Dear also clears up her misunderstandings with Errol and encourages Dolly to give him a second chance after seeing his transformation of character. Finally, Gladys delivers a powerful speech in her father’s absence, in which she demands better housing conditions, the right for Aboriginal people to make their own decisions, and an end to segregation. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the play’s central themes is family. The text explores culture-specific understandings of family and contrasts how family is viewed and valued differently across Aboriginal and Anglo-Saxon culture. Whereas for Nan Dear it is shocking that Dolly’s family tree is not expected to include ‘cousins,’ for Anglo-Saxons in the 1950s like Errol, family seems to be a transient unit which one grows up from in order to form their own family, rather than a community which spans across generations. More broadly, family is explored paradoxically as a source of support and entrapment, especially when it becomes clear that wishes and dreams can clash with family expectations and individuals are forced to make difficult choices between themselves and their families. Furthermore, despite family being an unbreakable bond, Harrison does not shy away from critiquing the darker abuses of power (namely between men and women) that continue to plague families from both Aboriginal and white communities. 

Harrison’s play intertwines the dreams and hopes of individual characters with the playwright’s own hopes and dreams for the future of Australia and Indigenous rights. In the microcosm of the family unit, dreams are created, contested, and oftentimes crushed by reality. Gladys’ dream for better Aboriginal housing and her hope to see this realised through the construction of Rumbalara is shattered upon realisation that Rumbalara is not a good enough solution. Dolly’s dreams especially seem to be constantly under threat, whether due to societal barriers or pressures from within her family. It appears that Nan Dear’s cynicism and pessimism, fuelled by past trauma, become a hindrance to the realisation of Dolly’s dreams. This cynicism is treated with empathy by the playwright, yet simultaneously aims to prompt the audience to question how the hopelessness and distrust that comes with generational and personal trauma can prevent progress towards a better future. 

Racism and Segregation

Harrison explores racism in the 1950s as taking numerous forms; throughout the play we witness harmful racist attitudes of paternalism , assimilation and segregation . 

The first, paternalism, describes an infantilising view of Indigenous people as incapable of looking after themselves and thus needing the protection of white people or the government; we see this in the way the Aboriginal community in ‘Rainbow’s End’ is constantly surveilled by white authorities (such as the Inspector) and in the memories of Cummeragunja alluded to by Nan Dear, where the Aboriginal Protection Act of 1909 had placed the Aboriginal community under strict control with the excuse of ‘protecting’ and taking care of them. Errol’s desires to protect Dolly and give her a ‘better life’ may also be interpreted as a reflection of paternalistic attitudes, with the exchange meant to symbolise how paternalism takes away the agency of Indigenous people like Dolly. 

The playwright also exposes the indignant and traumatic consequences of assimilation. The Rent Collector and Inspector are perhaps the most obvious embodiments of assimilationist values, and are both represented as threats to the Dears family; specifically, they always appear as a threat to the children (first Dolly, and then Dolly’s child), as the playwright alludes to the history of the Stolen Generation, one of the greatest consequences of assimilation policies between the 1800s-1970s. Gladys’ rhetorical question, “why do we have to prove we can live like whitefellas, before we get the same opportunities?,” further illustrates how assimilation forced Indigenous people to leave behind their culture to reap the scarce rewards offered by white Australian society. 

At the same time, Australian society continued to be highly segregated, something which Harrison focuses on through the experiences of Nan Dear, who is served last at the butcher, or through Errol and Dolly’s relationship, which Dolly “knows cannot work” (p. 55). The hessian fence also appears as a symbol of segregation, preventing the Queen from seeing the humpies of the Aboriginal settlement. Furthermore, Harrison also critiques the scapegoating of Indigenous people for the living conditions imposed upon them through segregationist policies; this is best seen through Gladys’ sarcastic remark “as if we chose to live on a floodplain” (p. 120). 


Sovereignty also takes the centre stage within the play’s thematic realm. Set in the only commonwealth nation which to this day lacks a formal treaty with its First Nations peoples, Rainbow's End arguably seems to emphasise continuity rather than change. The play continuously alludes to the bitter irony of Indigenous people being treated like foreigners on their own lands, seen when Gladys objects “I’m not an interloper - I belong here - this is my land!” (p. 120). Through the voice of the radio broadcaster, who proclaims Centennial Park to be the “birthplace of the nation” (p. 15), the playwright exposes the pervasiveness of the myth of terra nullius, the false and racist belief that civilisation in Australia did not exist prior to British colonisation. From the regular inspections the Aboriginal settlement is subjected to, to its eventual bulldozing by the end of the play, it is clear that both the characters and the land are at “the whim of government, at the mercy of Protection Boards, at the vagary of landlords and property owners'' (p. 48). Gladys’ tautology here perhaps speaks best to the numerous institutions that Harrison condemns as robbing the agency and independence of First Nations peoples. 

Gender and sovereignty

While we often think of sovereignty as associated with political rights, Harrison also navigates the theme of sovereignty in relation to Indigenous women’s bodies. An intersectional analysis is pertinent as female characters suffer the intersecting consequences of being mistreated both on account of their gender identity and race. Harrison exposes Australian society as governed by misogyny as well as racism, resulting in a culture which produced relentless violence against Indigenous women such as Nan Dear, Ester, and Dolly. In their experiences of abuse, these women are denied autonomy over their own bodies, in two cases by white men. Nonetheless, Harrison elucidates that violence against women can also be indiscriminate, as Dolly is assaulted by her own cousin – in all of these circumstances, the author exhibits the violence of the patriarchy. Even when sexual assault is not present, such as the scene in which Errol grabs Dolly’s arm, the tense stichomythia of their dialogue and the stormy sound design aim to emphasise Dolly’s loss of agency and autonomy as she attempts to wrestle back control. Thus, in exploring intersections of race and gender, Harrison navigates the theme of sovereignty at a personal level, condemning the way it has been denied to Indigenous women.

Innocence and Coming of Age 

Given that one of the protagonists (if not the protagonist) is seventeen year old Dolly, we may also consider ‘Rainbow’s End’ to be a coming of age story. One of Dolly’s central struggles is to be treated like a ‘woman,’ and to not have her family (especially Nan Dear) hide matters from her. Towards the end of the play, she wins this privilege yet the stage directions suggest it has come at a cost, the loss of innocence: “DOLLY smiles – she’s finally a woman in NAN’s eyes. But her smile is tinged with sadness” (p. ??) It thus appears that the playwright critiques the way in which the rite of passage into womanhood is associated with pain rather than joy, as the parallels between Dolly and Nan Dear suggest that they represent a common reality. 

Overall, ‘Rainbow’s End’ offers an opportunity to reflect on what it means to dream about the future as a First Nations person in Australia, and on the difficulties of fighting for that future. We hope this study guide has helped you better understand the most prominent themes of the play, and how Jane Harrison has chosen to represent this national struggle within the microsetting of a family. 

Important Stylistic Features

As outlined in the VCAA guidelines, an A+ text response essay needs to:

  • Demonstrates a close and perceptive reading of the text, exploring complexities of its concepts and construction 
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the topic, using an appropriate strategy for dealing with it, and exploring its complexity from the basis of the text 
  • Develops a cogent, controlled and well-substantiated discussion using precise and expressive language
A thorough understanding of the play’s construction, including its use of setting, lighting, sound, will aid the development of arguments and improve the quality of your essays. It is also common amongst mid-level responses that metalanguage is not correctly used or lacks range. The list below provides a brief definition of different stylistic features, with examples included illustrating how particular devices can be analysed to convey meaning.

Setting creates a sense of place, so it is important to reflect on how Harrison’s sets reflect or emphasise ideas about land, history and heritage. 

  • Rough countryside dwellings are juxtaposed against white, pristine and yet ‘unloveable’ spaces as audiences are invited to temporarily occupy the oppressive places that Indigenous people struggled to make home. 
  • A key (and tragic) turning point in Dolly's life is set against the backdrop of a dramatic, thundering storm , reflecting the characters' turbulent struggle and loss of innocence.

‍ Lighting is also employed strategically throughout, both for dramatic purposes and importantly, to signify the characters’ ‘dream sequences.’

  • The dreamy lighting of the 'dream' sequences signifies their distance and detachment from reality - these are hopes that are often unrealisable within the limits of the play and the characters' societies, yet they bring joy to those who dream them. 

‍ Sound features heavily in the play, both in diegetic and non-diegetic forms. Diegetic sounds such as loud and rough noises, or rain and thunder, intensify scenes of conflict and the inner psychological turmoil of the characters. In contrast, non-diegetic sound such as the use of the song ‘Que sera, sera’ prompts reflection on the thematic aspects of the play, as the lyrics suggest the terrifying yet hopeful notion that the future is uncertain, and that we are not always in control. 

The following excerpt and analysis demonstrates how sound, setting and lighting can all combine to create a powerful narrative effect and climax. 

Stage direction [Dolly]: She wails like a banshee. Rain, thunder, darkness. Time passes. The waters rise. END OF ACT ONE. 

  • Use of sound to create animal imagery and portray the attack on Dolly as barbaric and inhumane
  • The setting of the storm and river emphasise and reflect Dolly’s predicament as she feels like she is drowning and powerless. 
  • The dark lighting obscures the indecent act from the audience and emphasises the horror of the scene

Character Transformation

‍ Character Transformation: In the final scene, Gladys takes back her agency – in her father’s absence she takes a stand on the stage to speak about  sovereignty, better housing conditions, and an end to segregation. Her “demand” represents the culmination of her transformation from the beginning of the play, where a dream sequence had represented her kneeling gracefully in front of the queen. The speech is also directed at us, the audience, transcending the barriers of time to remind us of the ongoing relevance of Gladys’ words as we watch the performance from lands whose sovereignty have yet to be ceded. 

‍ Dialogue: Early on, Nan Dear explains that the government “forced [them] to leave Cummeragunja. Our home” (p. 15), alluding to the Soldier Settlement Scheme which forced Aboriginal people to move after their lands were given to returning white soldiers after World War Two. Whilst she later declares that “least here we do things our way” (p. 22), these dialogues suggest that the freedom espoused by this place comes at a cost – the trauma of displacement and the daily struggle of living in a hostile and stigmatised landscape. This is why Gladys clings to the promise of Rumbalara, an Aboriginal housing project in development.  

Symbolism is also employed by Harrison within the lines of dialogue, and a number of important symbols should be noted for analysis. 

Hessian Fence

The first is the hessian fence which separates the ‘humpies’ from the main roads during the Queen’s visit. The fence symbolises segregation and a willed blindness to the shameful conditions enforced upon Aboriginal people by white settlers. Gladys refers to it metaphorically as being like “a bandaid over a sore,” suggesting the avoidance of white authorities to address the housing situation. 

Colour White

The colour white is also used symbolically, and white objects such as the gloves that Gladys wears, Dolly’s shoes, the Ajax cleaning agent, skin whitening cream and the white walls of the Rumbalara housing all serve as reminders of white hegemony within Australian society. In other words, whiteness is always presented as superior and desirable, as ‘cleaner’ and more dignified. Harrison symbolically employs these white objects to criticise assimilation policies and attitudes which promoted the idea that Indigenous and non-white people should aspire to be more like white (Anglo-Saxon) people.


Another symbol to consider is the encyclopedias , which represent white epistemologies (ways of knowing). They are written by Anglo-Saxons and contain the body of knowledge accumulated by white people, which is again presented as objectively superior. It is because of this reason that Gladys believes her daughter will be more academically successful if she reads the encyclopedias, as she acknowledges that these are the forms of knowledge valued by white institutions. It may also be said that the encyclopedias are symbolic of Gladys’ dreams to see her daughter achieve an education and succeed in society. Nonetheless, through Nan Dear’s ironic comment “Encyclops boy and he knows nothing!” (p. 55) Harrison challenges the superiority of white epistemologies and exposes how Indigenous knowledge (especially of the land) has been undervalued and ignored.

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Essay On Texts & Human Experiences – Rainbow’s End


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An Off-Beat Essay: What Do You Hope to Find over the Rainbow?

Jordan Molen , Contributor | January 27, 2016

Jordan Molen

Jordan Molen

“Somewhere over the rainbow” a classic ballad written by Harold Arlen, for an even more timeless movie “The Wizard of Oz.” For Dorothy over the rainbow was an emerald city filled with color changing ponies, talking apples trees, and her beloved pooch to tag along. However, that isn’t what Dorothy really wanted, after battling wicked witches, flying monkeys, and her own fears she realized how valuable Kansas was. Could it be that were searching for what’s over our own rainbows when they might be right in front of us?

I have my own idea of what’s over my rainbow, I envision myself maybe up in the mountains of Colorado, or promenading the beaches of Puerto Rico and traveling to places I’ve only imagined in my wildest dreams. Drinking a cup of Seattle’s best while traveling around Washington, taste the best barbecue in Tennessee, or even bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. Over my rainbow is a life of leisure and adventure. I was brought up to be practical, I’ve been told to work diligently in school only to choose a job that’s realistic. Be a part of all the best High School Programs so hopefully a college might notice me. I’ve been told to get a job as soon as I turn sixteen, save money, and learn how to manage it. I’ve been told to not take to many risks, don’t back talk your elders, and don’t be a hero. What ever happened to “you can be whatever you want to be?” If this were true I’d be the next Molly Shannon of Saturday Night Live, living in my non-existent penthouse with my Leonardo DiCapresce boyfriend. Obviously, these are unrealistic goals. However, my goals to travel, establish a solid career, and begin a family of my own are not unrealistic goals. No matter how much I’d love to live anywhere other than small town, rural Indiana, over my rainbow is an Indiana University where I can be immersed in education that’s going to take me to the places I’m meant to be.

This is my point specifically, we as teens on the verge of adulthood and making life decisions that will affect us from this moment on is this. We spend so much of our time daydreaming about what we could be, and the things we could do but what it takes to get there are things that we can do here at home. I’m a believer that dreams come true, but there’s always a starting point, and I can’t think of any other place than my Indiana home. Here I can get the education that’s going to take me on a series of adventures—not only the adventures I imagine myself on, but also all of the milestones in my life I still have yet to discover some being graduating, getting married, and having children. These are the ultimate goals we all are working towards in the end, and there’s no better place to start the journey to those things than right here in Indiana. After all… “There’s no place like home.”

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Essay On Rainbow – 10 Lines, Short and Long Essay

Essay On Rainbow – 10 Lines, Short and Long Essay

Key Points to Remember When Writing Essay on Rainbow

What is rainbow, 5 lines on rainbow in english for children, 10 lines on rainbow, a paragraph on rainbow, short essay on rainbow in english, long essay on rainbow for children, amazing facts about rainbow for children, what will your child learn from rainbow essay, faq’s.

Essay writing is a profound way for learners to express their understanding and perspectives on various subjects. It hones their  critical thinking , enhances linguistic skills, and fosters creativity. The topic in focus today is the rainbow essay in English. Delving into this subject presents the beauty and science behind rainbows and exemplifies how nature can be both simple and complex. The essay on rainbow for children and students is specifically tailored to elucidate this captivating phenomenon in a comprehensive yet easily graspable manner for young minds. As children embark on this enlightening journey, they will appreciate the magnificence of a rainbow, feel the joy of learning, and recognise the power and benefits of well-articulated expression.

Crafting an insightful and engaging essay on any topic requires careful consideration of its various facets. When students, especially those in the early stages of their academic journey, decide to write a rainbow essay, there are specific aspects they should bear in mind. These elements add depth to their writing and make their essay resonate more with the readers. Here are some crucial points for writing rainbow essay for classes 1, 2, and 3:

  • Understanding the Basics:  Before delving deep, ensure you know the fundamental principles behind the formation of a rainbow. This foundational knowledge will act as the bedrock for your essay.
  • Cultural and Mythological References:  Rainbows have been significant in various cultures worldwide. Mentioning some of these can make the essay more interesting and informative.
  • Simple Language:  Use straightforward and clear language for a rainbow essay. Young readers or listeners must grasp the concept effortlessly.
  • Include Personal Observations:  Have you ever witnessed a rainbow? Share your personal experience or feelings about it. This personal touch can make your essay more relatable and vivid.
  • Visual Aids:  If possible, include a drawing or illustration of a rainbow. Visuals can reinforce understanding and make the essay more engaging.
  • Conclude with a Takeaway:  End the essay with a thought-provoking statement or a  fact about rainbows  that readers can ponder, ensuring your essay leaves a lasting impression.

At its core, a rainbow is a breathtaking visual spectacle, a semicircular spectrum of colours that one can sometimes see in the sky when sunlight interacts with raindrops. But there’s much more to this natural wonder than what meets the eye. Let’s dive deeper into understanding the essence of a rainbow.

A rainbow results from a series of physical processes: refraction (bending of light), reflection, and dispersion (spreading out) of light within water droplets in the atmosphere (1) . This interaction between light and droplets produces a spectrum of colours in the sky. The sequence of colours in a typical rainbow is violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red, often remembered by the acronym VIBGYOR.

Introducing young minds to the marvels of nature can be a delightful experience. The rainbow, a symphony of colours in the sky, is one of those phenomena that never fails to capture children’s imagination. While detailed essays provide an in-depth understanding, just a few lines can sometimes spark curiosity and wonder in young hearts. Specially designed for young learners, here are 5 lines about rainbows suitable for kindergarten students and those in the early years of school.

1. A rainbow is a beautiful curve of colours in the sky.

2. It appears when sunlight shines through raindrops.

3. Rainbows have seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

4. We often see a rainbow after a rain shower when the sun comes out.

5. It looks like a colourful bridge in the sky.

These few lines on Rainbow for Kindergarten offer a concise yet enchanting glimpse into the world of rainbows, ensuring young learners remain captivated and inspired to explore more.

The beauty of nature is vast and varied, with the rainbow standing out as one of its most magical displays. Often, children are left gazing skywards, captivated by this burst of colours following a drizzle. An essay for kids can provide a deeper understanding while nurturing their natural curiosity. While comprehensive essays elucidate the topic further, a few lines can sometimes vividly paint the picture and convey the essential details. Here are a few lines about the rainbow that encapsulate its wonder in ten brief points.

1. A rainbow is a mesmerising display of colours in the sky.

2. It forms when sunlight interacts with raindrops in the atmosphere.

3. The colours of a rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

4. The scientific processes behind its formation are refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light.

5. Rainbows are often seen when the sun shines after a brief spell of rain.

6. A double rainbow can sometimes be spotted, with the outer one having colours in reverse.

7. Sir  Isaac Newton  was the scientist who first identified the seven colours of the rainbow.

8. Rainbows have inspired numerous myths, legends, and stories across cultures.

9. Some people believe that a pot of gold can be found at the end of a rainbow.

10. Rainbows symbolise hope, beauty, and the wonders of nature.

Writing a paragraph about rainbows is like opening the door to a magical world of colours and wonder. We can describe how rainbows appear after rain and are made of different colours. We can also talk about stories about rainbows, like finding a pot of gold at the end. Writing this paragraph is our chance to share the beauty of rainbows with others!

Rainbows are a mesmerising meteorological phenomenon that often captivates observers with their brilliant hues stretching across the sky. They result from a delicate dance between sunlight and water droplets in the air. When sunlight passes through these droplets, it refracts or bends and then reflects off the inner surface of the raindrop. As the light exits the droplet, it refracts again at a different angle. This series of refraction and reflection disperses the light into its various colours, presenting us with the stunning spectrum visible as a rainbow, encompassing the familiar sequence of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Rainbows in Culture and Mythology

Beyond their scientific explanation, rainbows hold profound symbolic meaning in various cultures and mythologies worldwide. For many, they symbolise hope and promise, often representing a bridge between the earthly realm and the divine. In numerous legends and myths, the appearance of a rainbow has been interpreted as a sign of blessings, peace, or a forthcoming change. Rainbows’ beauty and ethereal nature have given them a revered place in literature, art, and popular culture, constantly reminding them of the magic in our natural world.

Rainbows, with their fleeting beauty and breathtaking array of colours, have always held a special place in the hearts of many. Writing a short essay about rainbows is like painting a picture with words. This essay aims to both educate and inspire budding young writers.

A rainbow emerges when sunlight interacts with rain droplets in the atmosphere. This interaction leads to reflection, refraction, and dispersion processes, resulting in a spectrum of colours visible to the naked eye: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The exact appearance of a rainbow depends on the size of the rain droplets and the angle of sunlight.

Beyond the science of its creation, rainbows have been significant in numerous cultures and religions. They are seen as symbols of hope, promises, and new beginnings. After a storm or a bout of rain, a rainbow serves as a gentle reminder that even after the darkest times, beauty and light are waiting to emerge. Literature and art, too, have celebrated this natural phenomenon, using it as a metaphor for hope, diversity, and unity.

Understanding the rainbow’s intricacies offers a balance between natural wonders and scientific insights for young learners. This long essay for class 3 and above classes dives deep into the phenomenon of rainbows, ensuring a comprehensive understanding for students, enriching their knowledge, and nurturing their enthusiasm for writing rainbow essays.

The rainbow, a multi-coloured arc in the sky, has intrigued and inspired generations of observers. Its beauty, blended with the science behind its formation, makes it a captivating subject for academic exploration.

Rainbow Types

While the traditional arc-shaped rainbow is the most commonly recognised, there are several types of rainbows based on their formation and appearance:

1. Primary Rainbow: The brightest and most vivid rainbow type displays the VIBGYOR colour spectrum  (3) .

2. Secondary Rainbow:  Formed outside the primary arc, it is fainter with colours reversed.

3. Double Rainbow:  A phenomenon where primary and secondary rainbows appear simultaneously.

4. Supernumerary Rainbows:  Faint rainbows appear inside the primary rainbow with pastel-like bands.

5. Twinned Rainbow:  A rare occurrence where two separate arcs originate from the same base.

6. Monochrome Rainbows:  These rainbows appear as a single colour, often in conditions like fog, and lack the diverse spectrum of a traditional rainbow.

How Are Rainbows Formed?

The formation of a rainbow is a blend of art and science, weaving together various physical processes. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

1. Light Refraction:  When sunlight enters a raindrop, it slows down, bending as it passes into this denser medium.

2. Dispersion:  Due to varying wavelengths, light further splits into constituent colours inside the droplet. This spreading out of light is called dispersion.

3. Internal Reflection:  The dispersed light reflects off the inner surface of the raindrop.

4. Exit and Second Refraction:  As the light exits the droplet, it refracts again, further separating the colours. This process makes the different colours visible to observers on the ground.

Significance of 7 Different Colours of Rainbow

Each hue in the rainbow’s spectrum holds particular significance, both scientifically and culturally:

  • Red:  The outermost colour of the rainbow, it signifies passion, love, and energy in various cultures.
  • Orange:  A blend of red and yellow, orange represents creativity, warmth, and enthusiasm.
  • Yellow:  Situated in the middle of the spectrum, it is often associated with joy, happiness, and the sun’s energy.
  • Green:  Bridging the warm and cool colours, green symbolises life, growth, and nature.
  • Blue:  Representing calm and serenity, blue often finds associations with the sky and sea.
  • Indigo:  This deeper shade of blue hints at the mysteries of the universe and the depth of human introspection.
  • Violet:  The innermost colour, violet, is often linked with royalty, luxury, and spirituality.

The natural world is filled with wonders; among them, the rainbow is a standout spectacle. Its mesmerising bands of colours have been a source of fascination for both the young and old alike. But beyond its aesthetic allure, the rainbow is also a treasure trove of intriguing facts and mysteries. For the budding young minds eager to discover more, here’s a compilation of fantastic tidbits about this celestial marvel. Let’s dive into these fascinating facts that make the rainbow even more magical for children!

  • Circular Rainbows:  While we often see a semicircular arc, rainbows are full circles. It’s just that the ground obstructs the bottom half.
  • No Two People See the Same Rainbow:  It’s a personalised view! The rainbow you see depends on the raindrops reflecting and refracting the light to your eyes.
  • Moonbows:  Rainbows don’t just appear in daylight. Under the right conditions, moonlight can produce “moonbows”, albeit fainter and often colourless due to our eyes’ nighttime sensitivity.
  • Red Is Always Outermost:  In a primary rainbow, red is always on the outer edge, while violet sits on the innermost part.
  • Rainbow Temperature:  Cool fact: Rainbows can give a hint about the temperature. If the half-circle is high in the sky, it’s often nearing noon and warm; if it’s low, it might be morning or late afternoon, implying cooler temperatures.
  • More than Seven Colours:  Our eyes typically pick up seven colours in a rainbow, but there are countless shades in between, making the actual number much higher.
  • Double Rainbows: Have you ever seen a fainter arc outside a primary rainbow? That’s a secondary rainbow, with its colours reversed (Violet to Red)  (4) .
  • Alexander’s Dark Band: The area of the sky between a primary and secondary rainbow looks darker. This phenomenon is known as “Alexander’s Dark Band” (5) .
  • Rainbows Aren’t Just from Rain:  While rain is the most common medium, rainbows can also be formed from other water sources, such as mist, spray, and fog.
  • Rainbows in Mythology:  Throughout history, different cultures have revered rainbows. Norse mythology saw it as a bridge between the gods and Earth, while Greek mythology considered it the path made by the messenger Iris between Earth and Heaven.

The world of essays isn’t merely an avenue for children to improve their writing skills or to get good grades; it’s also a portal to knowledge, understanding, and broadened horizons. The act of writing or even reading an essay can be transformative. So, when your child delves into an essay about a natural wonder like the rainbow, what profound learnings can they derive from it? Let’s explore this.

1. Science Meets Art:  The rainbow is a marriage of scientific processes and nature’s artistry. Children will understand the intertwining of reflection, refraction, and dispersion, which makes a rainbow possible. This can nurture a deep-seated appreciation for how science is always at play around us.

2. Cultural Connections:  Rainbows have been part of mythologies, stories, and art across cultures and civilisations. This essay helps children see how different cultures perceive the same phenomenon, fostering an appreciation for global diversity.

3. Language Skills:  Crafting or reading a well-structured essay will inevitably sharpen a child’s linguistic abilities. They’ll learn to structure their thoughts, employ descriptive language, and use varied sentence constructs.

4. Critical Thinking:  Understanding the various types of rainbows, their formations, and the conditions that lead to their emergence prompts children to think critically. It trains them to analyse situations and outcomes.

5. Aesthetic Appreciation:  Beyond science and culture, children will learn to value the sheer beauty of the world around them. They’ll begin to see the wonder in everyday natural occurrences, nurturing a lifelong appreciation for the environment.

6. Symbolism and Interpretation:  Rainbows often symbolise hope, diversity, and new beginnings. Recognising these symbolisms helps children develop deeper interpretative skills, not just in nature but also in literature, art, and life scenarios.

7. Holistic Knowledge:  The essay won’t just be about light and droplets; it’s also about history, geography, weather patterns, and even human psychology. It provides a holistic view, showing children how interconnected knowledge domains are.

1. When does the rainbow appear?

A rainbow typically appears when raindrops are in the air and sunlight shines from behind at a low angle. The sunlight gets refracted, or bent, as it enters a water droplet. The light reflects off the inside surface of the droplet, and as it exits, it turns again. This process can result in a spectrum of colours appearing in the sky (2) . The most common time to see a rainbow is after a rain shower in the late afternoon or early morning when the sun is low in the sky.

2. What is a monochrome rainbow?

A monochrome rainbow, as the name suggests, is a rainbow that displays only a single colour. These rainbows typically arise under certain conditions, such as when the rain droplets are of a particular size. For example, a blue or green monochrome rainbow can be seen during a fine drizzle where the droplets are smaller. Fog bows appear in fog (comprising tiny water droplets), often white or blueish, and can be considered a monochrome rainbow. The colour of the monochrome rainbow largely depends on the droplets’ size and the incoming sunlight’s angle.

With their ethereal beauty and the science behind their formation, rainbows have been a constant source of intrigue and inspiration across ages and cultures. This essay’s journey, beginning with the fundamental definitions and advancing to complex phenomena and cultural interpretations, provides an understanding of this celestial marvel and showcases how intertwined nature, science, and culture can be. For children and students, essays like these don’t merely serve academic purposes; they instil a sense of wonder, curiosity, and a deep appreciation for the world around them. Whether you’re gazing at the sky after a rain shower or diving into the depths of essays like these, there’s always a rainbow of knowledge and beauty waiting to be discovered.


1. Rainbow; National Geographic; https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/rainbow/

2. What Causes a Rainbow?; SciJinks; https://scijinks.gov/rainbow/

3. rainbow; Britannica; https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/rainbow/400160

4. What is a double rainbow?; Met Office; https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/optical-effects/rainbows/double-rainbows

5. Alexander’s band; Institute of Physics; https://spark.iop.org/alexanders-band

Also Read: Top 5 Rainbow Songs for Children

what's at the end of your rainbow essay


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Critic’s Pick

‘Gasoline Rainbow’ Review: We’re on a Ride to Nowhere

This semi-fictional tale of a road trip for weirdos is full of joy.

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A group of teens walk along an empty dirt road, wheat fields, windmills and telephone poles beside them.

By Alissa Wilkinson

The thesis of “Gasoline Rainbow,” the latest cinematic fantasia from the brothers Bill and Turner Ross, is articulated in its first moments, in voice-over set atop a sunset. “Sometimes when I look at night, I see that light over the hills, and I just wonder what it’s like … to be there,” a youthful voice says wistfully. The speaker wants to know if they’re alone in being who they are — a “weirdo,” as they put it. “I want to be out,” they continue. “I want to be myself, I want to be accepted. I want to be loved for who I am.”

Technically we’ve not yet met this person, but that doesn’t matter: We know them. The misfit outsider is a familiar character in movies and literature, and often possesses some wisdom that people trapped in the more conventional daily grind can’t see. There’s a tiny bit of the prophet in every outsider — and, of course, all prophets are outsiders.

“Gasoline Rainbow” is a technically fictional tale of five such misfits who get in a car and go on a journey toward the Pacific Coast. I say “technically,” because like much of the Rosses’ work, there’s not much separation between reality and make-believe. Their previous film, for instance, the 2020 sorta-documentary “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets” sets up a scenario — the final night at a Vegas dive bar, on the eve of the 2016 presidential election — and populates it with real drinkers, who have a real rager on camera. But the bar itself wasn’t technically closing, it wasn’t in Vegas and these people weren’t regulars there. What, you might ask yourself, are you watching?

You are watching people figure out how to live at the end of the world, how to relate to one another and find joy in the middle of loss and uncertainty. Whether or not the scenario is staged, the human heart of it is absolutely real. “Gasoline Rainbow” is a little like “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets,” in that the five teenagers at its center, playing versions of themselves, are looking for a “party at the end of the world” that they’ve heard about. But mostly they are there to be with one another, and it’s obvious their real personalities are part of the story.

The five travelers — Tony Aburto, Micah Bunch, Nichole Dukes, Nathaly Garcia, Makai Garza — are all friends in Wiley, Ore. (a town which, incidentally, doesn’t exist). They’re seeking “one last fun adventure we can all do together” before they have to return home and get real jobs. These are kids who didn’t like school and didn’t like home life. In another movie, they’d be delinquents running from the law.

But “Gasoline Rainbow” isn’t that movie. There’s an uncommon sweetness to this film, which is less about running away from something and more about discovering the road of life is littered with goodness, if you know where to look. There’s a loose, languorous quality to “Gasoline Rainbow,” which the Rosses shot using a mostly improvised format, a collaboration between actors and filmmakers. It feels like a home movie, or a documentary — a capture of a slice of life in which there’s no plot other than whatever happens on the road ahead.

That road is full of people who also feel like weirdos. There are burnouts and stoners who generously share tips and directions with the kids. There are skaters they chat with on the street who share their own stories and make sure the kids are safe and OK. Not every encounter is well and good — at one point, the tires on their van are stolen, leaving them to figure out how to keep going. But as viewers, we soon settle into the sense that these teenagers are going to be just fine.

Along the way they talk about what haunts them back home: soured relationships, preoccupied parents, loss, deportation, the general sense that life’s sameness is stifling. But almost everyone they encounter is older than them, and offers mentorship of one kind or another. At one point, before visiting some older family friends of one of the teens, another expresses worry about hanging out with “old people” who are “30 or 40.”

“Maybe they’re hippies,” another says. It’s a tiny window to the whole point of “Gasoline Rainbow,” which is this: Every generation has had its outsiders. There’s always been a group of people who didn’t feel like they really belonged. The lucky ones found one another and, decades later, are ready to pave over the bumps as best they can for those who are coming up behind. That’s the joy at the heart of this movie — the sense that for every square peg jammed into the wrong-shaped hole, there’s a whole bucket of similar shaped pegs waiting for them.

The teens do make it to the party at the end of the world, but, as you might predict, it’s not quite what they expected. It never had to be. The destination, as most of us discover eventually, is almost beside the point.

Gasoline Rainbow Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes. In theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson is a Times movie critic. She’s been writing about movies since 2005. More about Alissa Wilkinson

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what's at the end of your rainbow essay

"Andor" (and Disney+ Shows)

There seems to be a trend back towards physical media (at least I hope so), partially due to the realization over the last year or so that no one owns anything that's digital. As companies like Max cull their catalogs, people are going to want to have their favorite films and shows on Blu-ray. And streaming services simply don't offer the same thrill for collectors. Understanding this, Disney has been releasing some of their hit shows in collectible steelbook editions, dropping FOUR today: "Andor," "Falcon & The Winter Soldier," "Obi-Wan," and "Moon Knight." While I enjoy some of what Oscar Isaac is attempting in "Moon Knight," the real keeper of this quartet is "Andor," the best " Star Wars " show to date (and probably the best Disney+ original overall). Being able to hold that season in your hands with excellent steelbook artwork is a real gift to fans of quality TV.

Buy it here  

Special Features DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK Ferrix Part 1: Imperial Occupation – Tony Gilroy , Kathleen Kennedy and Diego Luna discuss the series' origins. Aldhani: Rebel Heist – Join the shoot in Scotland with character spotlights, rebel training, stunts, a VFX breakdown and more. Coruscant: Whispers of Rebellion – Explore the stories of ISB agent Dedra, Senator Mon Mothma and spymaster Luthen Rael. Narkina 5: One Way Out – Uncover the Empire's penal system and the prison's stark look, get to know Kino Loy, and view VFX breakdowns. Ferrix Part 2: Fight the Empire – Tony Gilroy, Diego Luna, cast and crew reveal the making of the season finale.

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

" The Beekeeper "

I know this movie is defiantly silly, but I think that's one of the reasons I like it. David Ayer knows exactly how to use Jason Statham in action terms (unlike a lot of his recent collaborators) and the " Fury " director also imbues this '90s-esqe action flick with a dark sense of humor. Add in just enough moral indignation and you have the recipe for a solid piece of escapist action. Statham plays a John Wick-esque retired assassin who basically murders his way through a system of corrupt con men who have made millions defrauding old people. What makes "Beekeeper" fun, outside of some pretty sharp fight choreography, is how Ayer and company play Statham's natural stoicism off everyone around him. Jeremy Irons and Josh Hutcherson , among others, chew scenery while Statham silently kicks ass. Believe me, it's a winning formula. Note: Shame on WB for not including a single special feature on the physical release for a film that did surprisingly well at the box office.

Special Features Nothing

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" The Departed "

The truth is that winning multiple Oscars can warp a film's legacy. Largely because it was the movie that finally got Martin Scorsese his flowers (Oscars for Best Director and his first Best Picture), people have written off "The Departed" as overrated. Nonsense. This is a great movie, one of the best of the '00s, a flick that bursts with life in every single frame. Not only does it contain some of the best work of Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon 's career, it would appear that it's also the last great Jack Nicholson turn. WB has finally released the film in 4K, available in a standard edition or a collectible steelbook, both with a solid selection of special features.

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" Dogfight " (Criterion)

Nancy Savoca 's 1991 coming-of-age drama is a true gem, a film that deserved a much bigger audience when it was released but has been appreciated more with each decade since its release. The final act in that increased reputation is the induction of this great work into the Criterion Collection with a sharp 2K restoration and new special features. The film stars River Phoenix (who I miss every day) and Lili Taylor as teenagers flirting with love (after an awkward set-up involving a contest to bring the ugliest date) before he heads off to Vietnam. Heartfelt and heartbreaking, it's a true beauty, and Criterion has gathered many of the key players for new interviews. 

Special Features New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Nancy Savoca, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack Audio commentary featuring Savoca and producer Richard Guay New interview with Savoca and actor Lili Taylor conducted by filmmaker Mary Harron New interviews with cinematographer Bobby Bukowski , production designer Lester W. Cohen, script supervisor Mary Cybulski , music supervisor Jeffrey Kimball , supervising sound editor Tim Squyres , and editor John Tintori Trailer English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing PLUS: An essay by film critic Christina Newland

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

" Drive-Away Dolls "

There are going to be books written about the incredibly different paths taken by Joel and Ethan Coen after they stopped making movies together, and how their individual interests can now be seen more clearly in their collaborations. Yes, the sample size is small for now, but it's fascinating to consider how Joel Coen's " The Tragedy of Macbeth " reflects on the more serious side of their oeuvre and Ethan Coen's "Drive-Away Dolls" has the quirky, almost surreal sense of humor of projects like " Raising Arizona " or " The Big Lebowski ." Sadly, it's nowhere near as good as either, as the film can't quite find the right rhythm for its jokes to land, despite the best efforts of a great ensemble. Maybe that was Joel's responsibility. But it's still worth a look for Coen completists.

Special Features THE DRIVE-AWAY GANG – Sit down with the cast and filmmakers of DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS as they discuss their roles, getting into character, and the exciting cameo appearances. DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS: AN ETHAN AND TRICIA PROJECT – Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke discuss what inspired them to write this story, why they waited 20 years to bring it to life, and what it was like working together on a project from start to finish for the first time. ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

" Fallen Leaves "

Aki Kaurismäki is a true master, one of our best living filmmakers. The Finnish director of " Le Havre " and " The Other Side of Hope " delivered one of his most acclaimed films in 2023 with the charming "Fallen Leaves," a film that might seem too slight for outsized acclaim but its charm is in that gentle simplicity. Alma Poysti plays Ansa, a single woman in Helsinki who works at a supermarket. She meets a man named Holappa ( Jussi Vatanen ) who struggles similarly with his job and a lonely life. Somehow completely deadpan while also being deeply heartfelt, "Fallen Leaves" is a sweet, sincere piece of character-driven filmmaking. It has no great moral message beyond appreciating the beauty of ordinary life, in all its unpredictability.

Special Features Q&A with Alma Pöysti & Jussi Vatanen Trailer An illustrated booklet featuring "The World According to Aki Kaurismäki" and credits

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

"The Kingdom Trilogy"

Despite some of the problematic things he's said (and arguably done to some of his leading ladies on set given the stories about "Dancer in the Dark"), I do hope Lars von Trier makes another film. Now suffering from Parkinson's Disease, Von Trier has been a visionary and brilliant artist, delivering incredible films like " Melancholia ," " Dogville ," and " Breaking the Waves ," among many others. Even his missteps are fascinating. However, if the final act of "Riget" (or "The Kingdom"), which premiered last year, is his last word, it's a powerful one. (More on how much I love it here .) Mubi has now collected all three chapters of this breakthrough series into one gorgeous box set, complete with commentary and a dense companion booklet.

Special Features Selected episode commentary by Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel and Molly Stensgård In Lars von Trier's Kingdom - Documentary Behind the Scenes - Interviews with Lars von Trier and cast TV commercial for the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet - Directed by Lars von Trier The Kingdom Trilogy - A Companion' - 28-page booklet English subtitles

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

"La Haine" (Criterion)

I can vividly remember seeing Mathieu Kassovitz 's "La Haine" in London for the first time almost thirty years ago. It's such a powerful gut punch of a film, a movie that felt like nothing else that was coming out of French cinema at the time (at least not that my 20-year-old eyes had seen). It's also the first time I remember seeing Vincent Cassel , as charismatic as actors come right from such a young age. Kassovitz won Best Director at Cannes for this great film, which has now been given a detailed 4K restoration that was supervised by the D.P. and approved by the director. All the previous special features are available too, including deleted scenes, a commentary, and a 10th anniversary documentary.

Special Features New 4K digital master, supervised by director of photography Pierre Aïm and approved by director Mathieu Kassovitz, with 2.0 and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features Audio commentary by Kassovitz Introduction by actor Jodie Foster Ten Years of “La haine,” a documentary featuring cast and crew members Featurette on the film’s banlieue setting Production footage Deleted and extended scenes, with afterwords by Kassovitz Behind-the-scenes photos Trailers PLUS: An essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau and a 2006 appreciation by filmmaker Costa-Gavras

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

" Lisa Frankenstein "

The directorial debut of Zelda Williams , working from a script by Diablo Cody , is unapologetic about its greatest influence and it's not Mary Shelley . Set in 1989, this dark horror/comedy is clearly inspired by the early work of Tim Burton , echoing projects like " Beetlejuice ," " Frankenweenie ," and, especially, " Edward Scissorhands ." Here, the goth girl who falls for the impossible, silent outsider is played by the charming Kathryn Newton , who mistakenly resurrects a Victorian-era fella played by Cole Sprouse . It starts off promisingly, but Williams loses the tone about halfway through, unable to balance a film that moves wildly from teen comedy to romance to mutilation. However, it's not a total disaster, and one could easily see Williams nailing that tonal balance the next time. Fans will be happy with a loaded Blu-ray from Universal that includes commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, and more.

Special Features FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR ZELDA WILLIAMS DELETED SCENES Get Me Out of Hell! Knock Knock Music Lovers Incredible Friend Breaking News GAG REEL RESURRECTING THE 1980's – Set in 1989, LISA FRANKENSTEIN is a loving tribute to the wacky, tacky, yet totally awesome 80s. Every department of production embraced the stylized world Diablo Cody created in her script and brought their A-game to making this colorful world a reality. AN ELECTRIC CONNECTION – While it's no easy feat to turn a 19th century dead guy into the perfect boyfriend, this piece explores Lisa and her charming Creature and what makes their relationship work. Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, and filmmakers explore how Lisa and Creature really need each other to truly thrive, why Creature is the "perfect man," and Lisa's choice at the end of the film. A DARK COMEDY DUO – Well-known for her ability to subvert genres, Diablo Cody delves into the inspiration behind LISA FRANKENSTEIN, what made her want to give the Frankenstein story a youthful, modern twist full of both horror and hilarity, and why Zelda Williams was the perfect choice to bring her story to life.

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

"The Ocean's Trilogy"

There was almost nothing cooler in film in the 2000s than the three Steven Soderbergh flicks about Danny Ocean and his crew. They've finally been given the 4K treatment by Warner Brothers, released in either a single box or individual steelbooks, all with excellent new artwork. 2001's " Ocean's Eleven " started it all, collecting as many cool actors as they could into one film, including George Clooney , Matt Damon, Brad Pitt , and Julia Roberts . 2004's " Ocean's Twelve " is the most divisive of the bunch, a meta commentary on its very existence. 2007's " Ocean's Thirteen " is the underrated capper to the trilogy, a fun, playful reminder that Soderbergh is the master of this kind of thing (and so many other kinds of things too). 

Special Features Various from previous editions, especially the original Blu-ray 3-film collection from 2014

what's at the end of your rainbow essay

" Picnic at Hanging Rock " (Criterion)

Peter Weir recently announced his retirement from filmmaking, which wasn't too surprising given his age but a bit disappointing given we all kind of hoped he had one more masterpiece in him. The occasion will likely allow for a bit of career reappraisal, which should bring more eyes to his phenomenal 1975 adaptation of the 1967 novel of the same name. Weir's film takes the true story of the disappearance of a group of schoolgirls in 1900 to cast a true spell, feeling both dreamlike and dangerous at the same time. It's a perfect choice for a 4K Criterion upgrade, and this one was supervised by Weir himself. It's a dense collection of special features too, including Weir's 1971 debut, "Homesdale."  

Special Features New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Peter Weir and director of photography Russell Boyd , with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features Interview with Weir Program on the making of the film, featuring interviews with executive producer Patricia Lovell, producers Hal McElroy and Jim McElroy, and cast members Introduction by film scholar David Thomson , author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film On-set documentary hosted by Lovell and featuring interviews with Weir, actor Rachel Roberts , and source-novel author Joan Lindsay Homesdale (1971), a black comedy by Weir Trailer English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing PLUS: An essay by author Megan Abbott and an excerpt from film scholar Marek Haltof’s 1996 book Peter Weir: When Cultures Collide

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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  1. What's At the End of Your Rainbow? St. Patrick's Day Writing Activity

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    what's at the end of your rainbow essay


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  1. Rainbow's End

    Essay Analysis: How to Analyse Rainbow's End in 3 Steps Step 1: Choose Your Example The best way to choose an example is to choose a technique.. Remember you must include stylistic devices (how images and words are arranged in a text in order to produce meaning) and aesthetic features (elements that prompt a critical response from the reader) in your essays to gain the most marks.

  2. Rainbow's End Study Guides & Sample Essays

    Essay 2: "A real home is where there are people looking out for each other.". How does Rainbow's End reveal the importance of home? Essay 3: "The dream sequences in Rainbow's End are the characters' only escape from the depressing reality of life.". Discuss. Essay 4: 'Errol's attempt to be "a knight in shining armour ...

  3. Is There a 'Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow'?

    The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that as far back as the 17 th century the Irish would say a person "was as likely to find a pot of gold as to find the end of a rainbow.". A colorful ...

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    A plan has been written and work has begun on this project. There are many days that the work seems to be overwhelming and hard to see the end. I am grateful for all the reminders like the rainbow over the Home Place that continue to encourage me to take the next step. When we continue to the next step, the staircase will be revealed along the way.

  5. 'Rainbow's End' Study Guide

    The Inspector. In the play "Rainbow's End," the inspector is a minor but telling character that presents a snapshot of the authority and surveillance that Aboriginal people endured in 1950s Australia. He appears in a scene where Nan and Gladys are inside the humpy, anxiously straightening everything, which sets a tone of tension and unease.

  6. The Rainbow Summary

    Essays for The Rainbow. The Rainbow essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence. Gender in The Rainbow; Mind Over Matter: A Close Reading of Character Contrasts in The Rainbow

  7. Rainbow's End by Jane Harrison

    Social Mobility and Economic Challenges. "Rainbow's End" by Jane Harrison tactfully illuminates the theme of Social Mobility and Economic Challenges by emphasizing the hurdles faced by the Aboriginal characters in their pursuit of better opportunities. Their socioeconomic status is intertwined with racial discrimination, reflecting in ...

  8. The Rainbow Themes

    Discussion of themes and motifs in D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow. eNotes critical analyses help you gain a deeper understanding of The Rainbow so you can excel on your essay or test.

  9. At The End of The Rainbow

    At The End of The Rainbow. You and a friend have decided to try and follow a rainbow to see if the end holds a pot of gold. But when you finally reach the end, you find something much more valuable than a pot of gold—and it changes your life. Write this scene. Brian A. Klems.

  10. Rainbow's End

    Establishing the context of the play 'Rainbow's End". Below you will find some introductory reading to establish your understanding of the historical, social and cultural context the indigenous experienced in Australia in the 1950s. Open the two documents below, and as you are reading complete the 'Connect, Extend, Challenge' document to help ...

  11. 7 Ways Rainbow Thinking Can Change Your Life

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    Since a rainbow is a circle you'll never reach the end or the bottom. Rainbows seem to move when you do, because the light that forms the bow is always at a specific distance and angle from you ...

  13. Rain Bows End Essay

    Evaluate this statement with reference to 'Rainbow's End'. Jane Harrison's contemporary Indigenous play Rainbow's End (2005) draw upon the power of story to reveal anomalous experiences of Indigenous Australians during the 1950s. Exposing the inherent struggles of the everyday 'unsung heroes'.

  14. Rainbow's End by Jane Harrison

    Errol Fisher. In Jane Harrison's "Rainbow's End," Errol Fisher steps onto the scene as a pivotal, albeit less prominent, character. He encapsulates the overlap of the Aboriginal community's experiences and wider Australian society in the 1950s. Instilled with a sense of awkwardness and uncertainty, he marks his entrance by nearly ...

  15. What Is At The End Of A Rainbow?

    Leprechaun's gold. A legend states that the leprechaun's gold sits at the end of a rainbow. This magical creature has the ability to grant wishes when captured. This fairy-tale creature is a smart, wily fellow, so keeping an eye out for him will ensure you get a lot of the gold he holds. It is said that capturing a leprechaun will grant you ...

  16. The Rainbow Essays and Criticism

    Essays and criticism on D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow - Essays and Criticism. ... "I'm against you, and all your cold, dead things." By the end of the novel, Ursula is alone, having rejected ...

  17. A Comprehensive Guide to 'Rainbow's End' by Jane Harrison

    Overall, 'Rainbow's End' offers an opportunity to reflect on what it means to dream about the future as a First Nations person in Australia, and on the difficulties of fighting for that future. We hope this study guide has helped you better understand the most prominent themes of the play, and how Jane Harrison has chosen to represent ...

  18. Rainbow's End

    Guidelines on successful essay writing. Essay topics, a sample analysis of a topic and a sample essay on the text. ISBN 9781922771117. $ 18.95 - $ 20.95. Format. $ 20.95. Add to cart. Insight Text Guides take students into the deeper layers of meaning in a range of popular novels, plays, films, short-story collections and nonfiction texts.

  19. Understanding the Challenges: Your Journey to The End of The Rainbow

    The fact is, the only time to see a rainbow is after the storm. There Will Always Be the Calm After the Storm . You have to experience a lot of rain. Let me repeat that… You have to experience a lot of rain, a lot of problems in your life, a lot of things that may bring you down, in order to see a rainbow. In life, we have endless challenges.

  20. At The End Of The Rainbow Writing Prompt Teaching Resources

    4.4. (5) $3.50. PDF. Students can follow 8 easy steps to learn how to draw a POT OF GOLD at the end of the rainbow in celebration of ST. PATRICK'S DAY.Teachers can use this as a whole-class guided activity and can demonstrate how to draw the picture on the whiteboard/projector while students follow along.

  21. Essay On Texts & Human Experiences

    Year uploaded: 2022. Page length: 3. DOWNLOAD THE RESOURCE. Resource Description. Texts & Human Experiences - Rainbow's End. themes of discrimination, the significance of education and cultural and familial empowerment. Report a problem. Download this Essay document for HSC - English Standard. Find free HSC resources like study notes ...

  22. An Off-Beat Essay: What Do You Hope to Find over the Rainbow?

    An Off-Beat Essay: What Do You Hope to Find over the Rainbow? "Somewhere over the rainbow" a classic ballad written by Harold Arlen, for an even more timeless movie "The Wizard of Oz.". For Dorothy over the rainbow was an emerald city filled with color changing ponies, talking apples trees, and her beloved pooch to tag along.

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    Sir Isaac Newton was the scientist who first identified the seven colours of the rainbow. 8. Rainbows have inspired numerous myths, legends, and stories across cultures. 9. Some people believe that a pot of gold can be found at the end of a rainbow. 10. Rainbows symbolise hope, beauty, and the wonders of nature.

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    Statham plays a John Wick-esque retired assassin who basically murders his way through a system of corrupt con men who have made millions defrauding old people. What makes "Beekeeper" fun, outside of some pretty sharp fight choreography, is how Ayer and company play Statham's natural stoicism off everyone around him.