Angry Boys

Angry BoysThere are many belonging threads to this comedy series from the irrepressible Chris Lilley, but my favourite is the one about the brothers, Nathan and Daniel Sims from Dunt in South Australia.

These two survivors from Lilley’s previous creation, We Can Be Heroes, are at first glance as far from the truly literary as you could imagine. Yet in many ways they represent themes and ideas common in literature and mythology. Twins, doubles, doppelgangers, shadows, reflections, opposites, the daemons of Pullman’s His Dark Materials – all allow authors to represent the duality of human experience and human nature.

Nathan and Daniel are identical except that Nathan is deaf. Daniel volunteered his eardrum to replace one of Nathan’s, which would have made them completely identical. Ironically, the operation failed. So Nathan remains deaf and silent; Daniel is loud and controlling. Daniel uses Nathan to have fun – tricking him and facilitating Nathan’s risky and antisocial behaviour. But at a certain level Nathan is out of his control.

When life changes occur Daniel opposes loudly – notably when his mother gets engaged and when she decides it will be for the best for Nathan to go away to a school for the deaf. But Nathan is joyful for his mum and cautiously happy at the prospect of going away to school.

It his reaction to the prospect of Nathan going away which finally shows that Daniel loves his brother and depends on him. It seems in many ways that Daniel will not be wholly himself without Nathan. Being a twin is a powerful symbol of belonging.