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Reflections on Phillip Noyce’s ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ and Its Major Themes

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The importance of family. Two or more people who may share a genetic connection, but also an unbreakable social bond. As teenagers, the concept of family has influenced our lives from our first moments of living till now. We rely on our family for a sense of protection, endless moral support and inspiration, whilst constantly strengthening and intensifying our shared connection and love. Now, imagine being stripped from the comfort and warmth of your very own mother’s arms and being withdrawn and deprived from your father and your home town, your land, your country.

This is the reality that half caste Aboriginal children were faced with in the Stolen Generation in Australia’s 1930’s, represented in Phillip Noyce’s ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’. The film takes the viewer through the collective human experience of three young Aboriginal girls to provide insight into the complexities they faced on their complex journey to re-establish their sense of identity, culture and family whilst facing barriers of racism, dispossession, loss and colonialism.

As teenagers, we face struggles. At times, we lose hope. But how resilient are we really when faced with the most unexpected? Through the beginning of the film till the end we are constantly reminded of the eagle who significantly acts as a source of hope for Molly.

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“See that bird? That’s the spirit bird. He will always look after you”. This statement made by Gracie and Daisy’s mother, Maude reminding her to stay hopeful when facing obstacles in life. Throughout the film, we are revisited by the eagle to remind the three girls Molly, Daisy and Gracie of the importance of family giving them strength to continue on their journey to return home. An important scene of the film shows Molly as she has no hope of continuing on their journey after losing her sister to the white men and being completely astray and abandoned with no food and water. When all hope is gone, Molly in her most impotent state sees the symbolic eagle, giving her hope. The use of symbolism of the eagle representing hope in this scene demonstrates an additional layer of meaning to the emotion of hope which affixes with the concept of family. The use of symbolism evokes feelings such as sympathy from the viewer allowing them to understand the role of hope in times of struggle making the whole experience of the three girls more realistic and relatable.

To what measures would you go to reunite with your family? For Molly Craig, she would walk 1500 kilometers to return to the home with the people she loved most, her family. The wholesome moments leading up to the reunion between Molly Craig, Daisy Craig and their family connects the storyline of ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ as the ideas of hope, family, identity and culture are regenerated as one.

In the last moments of the film, Molly finds the fence after searching for a month. This scene is closely followed by a shot where her mother is holding on to the fence looking out into the distance, compared to a shot where Molly is doing the same, but hundreds of kilometers away from home. This scene signifies Molly’s character within the film as she is constantly longing to return to Jigalong, being a predominantly Aboriginal tribe, whereas she was the first half caste Aboriginal child to be born there, making her an anomaly as she does not conform to the norms of the social context being her own tribe of Jigalong. This is controversial as she constantly seeks for belonging within her ‘home country’ of Jigalong throughout various aspects of the film however others would consider her not to be associated with the town.

In conclusion, Phillip Noyce’s film ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ persistently challenges one’s understanding of the human experience through the significance of parent and child relationships which is the overriding concept of the film.

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Reflections on Phillip Noyce’s ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ and Its Major Themes. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Reflections on Phillip Noyce’s ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ and Its Major Themes.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
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