Tim Winton’s Book “Minimum of Two” contains short stories concerning ordinary people. The stories explore complex relationships involving two or more characters; in particular the text shows ordinary people struggling to cope with life’s challenges. Throughout the text, readers observe the characters as they struggle to manage issues such as isolation, loss of a parent and/or difficulty or dysfunctional parents. Winton shows characters struggling to cope with the pain of physical and emotional isolation.
Physical isolation is explored through various characters such as jerra. Jerra is an ordinary working class man, who relocates himself and his family to an isolated forest, as a result of financial hardship. The pain of jerras isolation is evident with his wife has a medical emergency and they struggle to get help and assistance as “the nearest town is 25 kilometres east” (page 5). Readers also see characters struggling to cope with isolation in the story Distant Lands. In this story, Fat Maz is isolated because; she sees the bus go to the city everyday but never goes on it.
She tries to cope by silently connecting with a stranger who visits her parents newsagency each afternoon. Short stories by Winton, shows characters who struggle and shows them at their weakest and most vulnerable. “I wet the bed and my dad puts my wet pants around my neck and sends me to school” (page ) In the story “No Memory Comes” we see The Boy that doesn’t adapt juxtaposed to his friend that does. Both boys are in similar circumstances yet one chooses to be backward looking whilst the other looks to the future.
Both boys grow up in a small town which throughout the story develops into a commercial tourist spot with high rise apartments all the while losing its country feel. The Boy always talks about the past he “bores people at parties, he tells them everything he remembers” and through these constant reflections the reader is given the impression that he is not embracing the present or the possible future. Ultimately, this ends in his destruction when he tries to open one of his Dad’s old beers (a symbol the past).
Whilst doing so he slips and cuts himself in the groin with the opener. Symbolically, where he cut himself is very important by castrating himself the reader is again entrenched with the idea of The Boy being unable of maturing into a man. His friend, on the other hand, adapts to the changes in his town, and although he doesn’t like them he doesn’t let them consume him, he accepts them and gets on with his life. He struggles for the things that he wants and it pays off for him as he gets a girlfriend and becomes head boy of his school.
Courtney from Study Moose
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