Multiculturalism, which is familiar to contemporary Australians, was unheard of in the 1960’s and the concept of people from other countries and cultural backgrounds enriching in Australian life was a foreign concept. This novel explores the racism behind the discrimination towards those from non-European backgrounds such as Jeffery Lu and his family. Silvey’s selection of setting, the context of this novel and the surrounding circumstances such as the Vietnam War provides an understanding of the current attitudes that society may have had towards certain ideas. At the time of this novel, many Australians were resentful for having to go over and fight in the war. Charlie’s best friend Jeffery, who is of Vietnamese background, was subject to discrimination and copped a lot of bullying because of this. A woman whose son had died in the war attacked Jeffery’s mother, Mrs Lu. “She slapped her cup up, right into her chest… scalding her skin” (page 128).