The Riders Essay

1559 words - 6 pages

The Riders, Tim Winton's latest adult novel, thrusts the reader into an emotional and physical journey through the eyes of its protagonist, Fred Scully. Scully is lead on a wild goose chase through Greece, Italy, Paris and finally Amsterdam, towing his daughter with him as he desperately attempts to find his wife. The reader follows this journey, hanging on Scully's every thought, hoping for him to succeed in his quest. It is through this emotional and physical journey that Winton explores the concepts of fatherhood, the nesting instinct and the importance of family, along with lesser theme of gender roles. By examining Scully, Jennifer and Billie, one is given an insight into relationships in a world where they are complex and are no longer clear cut; in a world where men are lead by the nose around the world and women run away without explanation.One of the predominate themes in The Riders is that of the relationship between Scully and Billie, and Scully's fatherhood. From the outset of the book it is obvious that Scully has a strong feeling of paternalism towards Billie, almost to the point of it being a mother child relationship. At the beginning of the novel it is Scully who is the mature one, the one who is looking after Billie, fighting with her over whether or not she was going to school, the typical single father, except for one thing, he was still married. The fact that Jennifer was a career orientated woman, seeking to further herself and her social standing only brought Billie and Scully closer together: "It was somewhere they went often, him and her. Jennifer would be at work and the two of them would wander through the town to the beach, talking about buildings, about what had been. He was grateful for those years, to have been the one who had her most days. She listened so carefully; you could see her hungry mind working. It was the reason he didn't have so many friends anymore, as if the kid was suddenly and unexpectedly enough for him." While Scully is still in control of himself and has not yet fallen into desperation, his paternal instincts constantly remind him that Billie is in tow, and still needs looking after. Even while his life was falling to pieces, a part of his mind was always looking at things from Billies point of view, examining what she must be feeling and thinking as is evident in various parts of the quest: "Scully put his fingers gently on her eyelids. So tired, so frail and shell-shocked. This was a terrible thing, too terrible. He wanted to ask other things, worse things…He had the fear that saying more might bring some worse calamity down on his head." "She was right. He'd already frightened the kid once, and he'd promised never again. He wanted to be alone…He hated sharing space with strangers, but it was safer this way." The nesting instinct present in The Riders revolves mainly around Scully, and his need to provide a home and a place for his family to live happily. This is evident as he...

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