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Please give me suggestions about how to improve this essay about South Sea Islanders in...

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rainbow224 | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted October 18, 2012 at 2:22 PM via web

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Please give me suggestions about how to improve this essay about South Sea Islanders in Australian history.

Despite the controls over their lives as they worked as indentured labourers, South Sea Islanders retained substantial aspects of their own cultural practices in an attempt to make their lives better. They maintained traditional habits, cultural beliefs, food, and religions. Most of the South Sea Islanders that were brought to Australia were not Christians, but they practised their own religions, believing in the power of spirits, ancestors and one or more gods.  However, in 1904, when recruitment ended, the majority of Islanders have converted to Christianity. Their particular food preference also remained – sweet potato, fish and root crops such as taro were limited to special occasion and meat and root vegetables were cooked in underground stone ovens at large Islander party. Sports have been a significant institution in Australian society and remain a overwhelming interest and pursuit for many Islanders. In particular, Islanders have excelled in the sports of rugby league. In these ways, Islanders coped with the harsh conditions by keeping their old culture and by adopting some aspects of Australian culture.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 18, 2012 at 2:41 PM (Answer #1)

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I appreciate the fact that this section of your essay is attempting to establish that South Sea Islanders had agency, or control over their own lives. Additionally, you show how South Sea Islanders maintained their culture, or aspects of it anyway, in a context of racial discrimination. However, you don't talk much about religion, as least not as much as you do foodways, sports, and other cultural institutions. I think you need to investigate the ways in which South Sea Islanders converted to Christianity after 1904. Did they just drop the belief in the "power of spirits, ancestors, and one or more gods" and adopt Christianity wholesale, or did they integrate Christianity with their belief systems? The way it is argued in this passage suggests the former, but I think it needs a little more investigation. 

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