Easter, 1969 by Katie Bryan
In Easter, 1969 by Katie Bryan we have the theme of family, barriers, class, innocence and fear. Narrated in the first person by Bryan herself the reader realizes from the beginning of the story that Bryan may be exploring the theme of family. Bryan’s mother is preparing a cake for Katie’s birthday party. Which suggests inclusion or a happy gathering but as the story continues inclusion is not something that Bryan’s mother has in mind. She is overly protective of Katie and does not like her mixing with other children or adults. Particularly with Ollie who is an old war friend of Katie’s father. It may also be important to mention that Katie is aboriginal and this is something that her mother will feel as though others will not accept. Though there is no reason for Katie not be accepted. She is after all only four years of age. Sure the family have to travel to a calmer climate when they go on picnic because Katie will burn but this appears to the only difference between Katie and her sisters.
This is not the only barrier that Katie‘s mother puts in place to hide or protect Katie. She dresses Katie for the party in western clothes hoping that Katie will fit in regardless of her skin-colour. It is also possible that at the time the story is set, interracial marriages were frowned upon and Katie’s mother wants to be accepted by all at the party. It is interesting that Katie is too young to understand about racial discrimination which suggests she is still innocent. As one would expect a four-year old child to be. However Katie’s mother is driven by class and wants not only to fit in or connect with her peers but to be better than them. If anything Katie’s mother has a high opinion of herself. Something that possibly stems from her childhood and her life with her father.
It is clear to Katie’s father that his wife has ideas above her station. Something he contributes to her father and who she relied her. If anything there is a suspicion that Katie’s mother has been spoiled by her father and still expects everything to be handed to her and for things to go her way. At no stage in the story, despite throwing the birthday party, does Katie’s mother have a voice that is progressive and if anything she may feel as though Katie will negatively effect her and her relationships with other people
How complicated the mother is may be noticeable by her refusal to allow certain children or people to Katie’s party. She wants it to be perfect and attended by people she respects. Not thinking about what make Katie happy. It is after all her party. It is as though Katie’s mother is afraid of some types of people and does not wish to entertain them. Leaving some readers to suggest that Katie’s mother is acting selfishly when it comes to Katie’s party. She doesn’t even let the gardener attend the party because he is unfitting in Katie’s mother‘s eyes. If anything Katie’s mother is very much a snob who does not believe in an independent Australia for all. On what should be a happy day for Katie. Her mother is playing politics.