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Cloudstreet Essay

1295 words - 6 pages

Winton challenges culturally informed beliefs and values by exposing inequities within an emerging Australian identity. In the cyclical novel Cloudstreet published in 1991, acclaimed Perth-born author Tim Winton narrates a capturing and heartfelt story. Two rural families are inadvertently brought together through two separate catastrophes to inhabit equally, a large house in the suburb of Perth known as ‘Cloudstreet’. Winton draws on a number of real historical events and situations in communicating the social and cultural dangers faced in 1950’s Australia. The shift towards Urbanisation is crucial in illustrating the change of values in Perth and how identities in society were threatened ...view middle of the document...

..and why he kills” (pg365). Traditional customs where now questioned, and the lacking ability of freedom within society created a very disoriented and frightful nation.
Our realities are informed not only by what we know intellectually to be real, but to a greater extent by what we feel to be real. With reference to “the night caller” we learn Edgar Cooke “was always a quiet and very polite boy...but was bullied excessively” (Thorpe 2013, pg.60), perhaps it was society that distorted his identity. As humans need to feel purpose, and will construct a reality to suit this. Characterisation is used to evaluate Edgar’s values and attitudes that led him to change Australian society forever. From a young age Edgar’s identity was threatened. He wasn’t accepted for being himself and this led to his exclusion from the rest of society. Why this changed his perception of life to being very pessimistic, was because he believed that his constant rejection and hurt made him unworthy of society. This could have been a motive in Edgar seeking revenge, or could have been simply an act of attention, to get a type of recognition for his existence. We learn from this that Edgar valued being acknowledged and achieved this by creating a reality that would experience the pain and suffering he felt during his childhood. By adding the historical event of the Nedlands Monster to Cloudstreet, Winton reflect a more realistic society showing the outside factors that impacted both families of this time, and how they were able to work around this terror that threatened their lives.
"Any change in the nature of male and female roles automatically affects the home, the economy, the school, and perhaps above all, the definition of who we are as human beings.”
(Chafe 2007, pg. 224). Cloudstreet undoubtedly allows readers to reconsider the position of women. Rose’s ability to resist her prescribed role as a ‘stay at home mom’ creates her own social identity. Women were ruled by a controlling ominous trend that was able to dictate their future; through context this idea of the 1950’s stereotypical woman is challenged by development within society, which proved to be a more ambitious time for women. Through sociocultural context Rose challenges dominant ideologies of women not being required to learn or work ever since she was young, “she wanted to be a clever woman, to know poetry and mathematics” (pg162).Winton cleverly juxtaposed Rose to women of the 1950’s. With reference to ‘gender in rural Australia’, “The perfect type of woman would stay home and nurture so society would accept them.” Rose was juxtaposed with this, so she would be a more identifiable woman with the change in values the city brought. Women traditionally were very naive and surrended their pride, but where now finding ways to be more confident. Societies growing acceptance of women...

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