Characters In Novels Are Important Constructs, For They Enable The Readers To Reach An Understanding Of Human Experiences And/Or Relationships: "Cloudstreet" By Winton.

1804 words - 7 pages

Lauren Randall Cloudstreet long essay 1st August 2007
Cloudstreet Assessment JQuestion 1: Characters in novels are important constructs, for they enable the readers to reach an understanding of human experiences and/or relationships. Discuss how the construction of characters in Cloudstreet contributes to this understanding.All texts are constructs; writers shape texts for particular audiences in particular contexts to achieve particular purposes. In Cloudstreet, Tim Winton has used the characterisation of Rose Pickles, and those who interact with her, in order to demonstrate the universality of human experiences and relationships, and especially what these can teach us. Rose is constructed as a 'typical' Australian, quiet and unable to articulate her feelings, but also strongly family orientated, determined to raise a family of her own. It is these characteristics which are significant in her experiences as a mother, getting a job, and in her relationships with Dolly, Quick and Toby. These experiences and relationships are universal, centred on the basic human emotions of love and hate. It is this aspect of Rose, her 'normalness', which enables the reader to believe in the understandings they reach, such as the importance of reconciliation, articulation of feelings and independence for contentment. Readers are shown these understandings through the detrimental physical and mental effects of the dysfunctional relationships that Rose has with Dolly and Toby, compared to the happiness she finds with Quick. With Quick, Rose achieves a sense of well - being which enforces the need for articulating feelings and following your heart in achieving happiness. The importance of independence is shown when Rose gets a job, through her elation at having her own income. Although the character of Rose is just a construction, she offers important ideas on the need for articulating emotions in order to achieve the acts of reconciliation which are central to the novel.Despite the fact that both men and women within Cloudstreet occupy jobs, it is still seen as a world where the male is the main breadwinner while the female tends more towards domestic life. However, when Rose gets a job she gains some degree of independence. Previously, Rose had been a quiet girl, forced by her mothers neglectful parenting to grow up too soon. This caused her to resent Dolly: "Hatin' you is the best part of being alive." The conflict that Rose experiences, both inner and within her family, causes her to repress her emotions, unable to articulate her feelings. Readers can most likely empathise with this experience and therefore appreciate the negative effects this repression of emotions has had on Rose. However, when Rose gets a job at Bairds, she 'finds her voice' as well as gaining financial independence. This fills her with happiness; after buying a pair of stockings and a jar of Helena Rubenstein face cream "on the way home the train carriage wasn't big enough for her." The...

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