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Essay On "Cloudstreet", By Tim Winton

2177 words - 9 pages

Values and attitudes surrounding Australian life in 'Cloudstreet'"Cloudstreet" by Tim Winton is an intriguing insight into the lives of two families living in Western Australia during the middle of last century. The challenges and ordeals faced by the Lambs and the Pickles place the reader in a position to observe varying values and attitudes which are connected with many aspects of Australian life. The text deals with the values and attitudes surrounding work and employment; the water; the role of women; gambling; language; family and sense of place in such a manner that relays typical assertions of the time in which the novel was set, and indeed of this time now.Australians are renowned for being hard workers, and the characters in Cloudstreet proved to be no exception. The text indulges in the view of hard working Australians, as most characters hold down stable jobs. The Lamb's own a family business in which members like Quick worked unpaid; Sam Pickles had the use of only one hand but still held down a job, working at the mint; Rose Pickles quit school to work and provide for her family; and boys from both families left home, not to travel the world, or experience freedom, but to find jobs, to work, and to discover their independence through the work force. Quick felt pride in bringing home money from his policeman's job to provide for his family, just as his father had done when he was a child. To this day, work gives Australians a sense of achievement, and Winton's inclusion of work as such a stable and rigid issue emphasizes the attitudes which are associated with the working Australian- not afraid to get their hands dirty and never too proud if it means putting food on the table.Be it the river, the ocean, or the beach, water gives Australians, (and in particular West Australians who live close to the coast) a sense of placement and direction. In Cloudstreet the strong connection which Fish Lamb felt with water can be likened to that which people who grew up with the water as their playground would feel. Winton's strong imagery in Cloudstreet includes visions of jetty jumping, family picnics by the river and fishing trips- elements of Australian life which are priceless and inexplicable to those who have not experienced it for themselves. Water is presented in the novel as a form of recreation, spiritual enlightenment and a perpetual factor which reminded many characters of their past. Aside from Fish's near death experience, water is always described in the novel as a pleasant place to be. 'The water' was a quiet salvation for Quick to go fishing, a place which Fish yearned for, the location of Quick and Roses' first romantic tendencies, a place for Rose and Wax Harry to bond, and more generally a place of discovery- discovery of death, life, love and bonding. The use of such emotions surrounding the topic of water leads readers to recognize what an important and peaceful part of Australian culture it is. Cloudstreet gives perspective...

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