Nugget Should Have Inherited Allandale Essay Example
Nugget Should Have Inherited Allandale Essay Example

Nugget Should Have Inherited Allandale Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (975 words)
  • Published: June 13, 2018
  • Type: Essay
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In ‘Inheritance’, Hannie Rayson has created a view of the world that stretches beyond the narrow bounds of its Mallee setting and into the murky depths of Australian pysche. Relationships in the bittersweet contemporary 2003 play are destabilised by conflicting beliefs of who is Allandales’s rightful heir. This comes about as bitter octogenarian twins Dibs’ and Girlie have the family come back to the small country town of Rushton to celebrate their birthday in the beginning of act one. The impending death of Farley Hamilton propels the issue of Allandale’s inheritance into the foreground.

Branches of the family are set against each other and amid all this there is the identity, place and entitlement of Nugget Hamilton. When Farley dies, the fact of the will emerge; values and loyalties are tested and vicious


family in-fighting follows. Dibs tears up the will as she finds out that her stubborn husband, Farley has left the family to Nugget, his son from liason with an Aboriginal woman. Dib’s then signs the farm over to her nephew Lyle who personifies the struggle of a contemporary man in the drought stricken Australian bush.

Lyle is crushed ‘in the big fucking mincer’ of the harsh Australian society before he discovers that he is the new heir to Allandale. It is convincingly shown through the text that Nugget appears to have the best claim to Allandale, not Lyle. It is more than obvious that Lyle Delaney does not have ‘enough fucking brains’ to take over and successfully run Allandale without having to ‘lend a hand’ from Nugget. In many instances we are shown Lyle’s inadequacies as a farmer.

This is firs

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seen when he has over stocked the land and his regular attempts to involve Nugget in the purchases of machinery, telling him to ‘take a risk for one in his life’. We are also aware that his drinking and temper are out of control as he asks a sheep ‘what are you fucking looking at? ’ Lyle resents Nugget and attempts to humiliate him, calling Nugget a ‘fucking shit arse coon’ and accusing him of being ‘piss weak’, because he too is aware of Nugget being the ‘real farmer’ despite Lyle being born ‘premature just on harvest,’ which according to his mother Girlie makes a prosperous farmer.

Dibs is well aware of Nugget’s superior farming abilities and knows that the farm would be safe in ‘Farley’s bastard sons’ hands. ’ She has taken his side again Lyle in the argument over the purchase of the new airseeder. Nugget in the only one who resists the tendency to intolerance embraced by almost everybody else. Even when his interests are threatened, he does not attack the person who is trying to undermine him, preferring to challenge ways of thinking instead. Allandale ‘would be up shit creek if it wasn’t for Nugget’[s]’ hard work.

Nugget’s understanding and appreciation for the land is far greater and deeper than Lyle’s despite Lyle claiming ‘coon’s make hopeless farmers. ’ Nugget went to Longerenong College and got a ‘diploma of agriculture’ while Lyle simply contends that farming is either in you or it isn’t. Nugget as a representative of his Aboriginal ancestors has ‘already been dispossessed once,’ and he is aware of his rights as an Aborigine, as Rayson makes clear when

he asserts that: ‘This is my country. This should be my farm. Nugget appears to have the best claim to Allandale on every level but Rayson allows us to see the intricacy of Dibs’ claim that he is ‘not family’, particularly well. Dibs’ destruction of Farley’s will is an act of the purest spite, and had a little to do with the problem of the land and its continuing viability, and has everything to do with revenge against her philandering husband. Dibs has always had a ‘soft spot for’ her ‘dear little’ nephew Lyle and this is how she justifies handing the estate over to him.

Lyle’s passion for farming may have been just as great as Nugget’s, but the reality is that Lyle makes horrendous financial and farming decisions; ‘even a baby knows you don’t borrow money when you’re up to your eyeballs in debt. ’ Girlie, Dibs’ twin sister, a querulous old woman with a chip on her shoulder, is bitter about the Hamilton’s inheritance of the farm and is bitterly driven by her need for Lyle to inherit Allandale. She is fiercely proud of her descent from Jessie Allan and sees Lyle as Allandale’s natural heir.

Girlie’s invitation to her sister to spend a weekend in Mildura is a cynical attempt to ensure Lyle’s succession by convincing Dibs’ to give him ‘a leg up. ’ When making the decision as to who will become the new owner to Allandale, Dibs’ mind was clouded by anger, betrayal and the on going pressure from her scheming sister. Rayson has imbued the families with complex combinations of complex people. Dibs’ refuses to ‘hand [her] family

farm over to [Farley’s] bastard son, despite knowing that Nugget is the rightful beneficiary. The symbolism of the Aboriginal son denied the land promised to him is clear.

Even if Lyle had have heard the news of his inheritance, it might have simply delayed the inevitable. It is Nugget’s disinheritance through the agency of Dibs’ revenge to punish her husband posthumously through his son that leads to the complete distruction we witness at the end of the play. Nugget is a superior farmer while Nuggets farming decisions and choices only displayed his inadequacies to Nugget as a farmer. Although realistically the question of the future in Nugget’s hands is as hypothetical as the farm is passed to Maureen, whose closing words are ‘but who wouldn’t sell their farm to save their country? ’

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