There are many issues in society today, which where prevalent around the 1960?s when Alan Seymour wrote the play ? The one day in the year?. Although most of the plot within the play is concentrated around Anzac Day, issues such as the generation gap, functions of education and class divisions, are of major significance to both the play structure and the audience, to clarify differences of opinion.
From generation to generation, moral thoughts and behaviour undergo considerable change. Muliticulturalism is one such significant change, it opened the eyes of the educated youth, helping them to see this change as step towards an economical and diplomatic future. Where as in previous generations, a lack of education, formed an uneffective one-eyed view of any change.
Alan Seymour has purposely used characters with clashing personalities, to portray the generation gap, functions of education and class divisions. Two divisions Seymour has used are high class and middle class citizens. The characters consisted of Jan, a young lady from the fashionable north shore of Sydney, the Cook family of Hughie, his mum, Father, Alf, and a close friend of the family, Wacka, who live in the western suburbs of the lower middle class. Jan enters the simple lives of the Cook family, with her upbeat actions and reactions, which seem very strange and even disturbing to these middle class citizens. She creates a strong tension between herself and the family, which eventually leads to disputes among Hughie and his father. The differences of opinion creates a distance between them, and as the generation gap takes over, it seems to be caused by Alfs former lack of education on relevant issues such as class divisions. .
Alf is a man who doesn?t like change, he seems stuck in his generation, feeling left behind from that of his sons. The changing world over whelms him, the social change and ever improving education which has become apart of his sons life, forces an even greater remoteness between them, as differences of opinion arise.