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In the novel Away by Michael Gow all the characters have the desire to win and this can be interpreted as making the right choices for a good life. These attitudes to life can be seen through the characters Gwen, Harry, Vic and Tom.
The character Gwen is the main protagonist who has a desire to win in the play Away. Gwen is seen as a stereotypical nagging wife and a mother who can be classified as a snob.
Gwen’s dialogue is full of negativity and she is seen as a source of conflict and a barrier to winning a good life for her family. This is shown through her choice of achieving a good life by purchasing a new caravan Page 10 “We’ve got a new caravan. Everything in it you could want. ” She sees herself superior to others and has caused conflict in her relationship with her family for the expense of her material possessions and social status.
Explanation- Gwen is driven to improve her life because of the childhood she lived.
However, she is pushing her family away driving them to always have conflict. “This case won’t close” Page 16 is a prime symbol which demonstrates the conflict in her family as Gwen has thought about her choices in life to gain money but has achieved this goal with the expense of her family. Link – Gwen’s desire to win and her definition of living a good life is different from Harry’s and Vic’s.
Harry and Vic live with an existential view on life. Their son Tom is dying and they live positively and strong for him. Explanation – Gow uses the “storm” as a visual symbol to solve the conflict between the family of Gwen, Meg and Jim which is dramatically contrasted to the family of Harry, Vic and Tom as they already experienced their storm and have no conflict to reconcile. The stage direction of “the light becomes warm and intense” after the storm shows that this family have escaped the storm as they have nothing to realise or to change.
The storm is used as the healing power of nature as it pushes away the losers in this play and everyone can use it as a learning experience. The storm foreshadows events in the play to come and can be seen as the turning point for the external turmoil. Link – With this symbolic storm the family now realise they have to reconcile.
Tom is the catalyst for Gwen’s change. In Act Four Scene One Gwen and Jim both come to realisation that they are already living a good life and don’t need material possessions as they have each other. Vic and Gwen go for a walk along the beach and Gwen becomes challenged as she finds out about Vic’s troubles in life and how she puts on a strong face and is confident for her son. This is a strong dramatic contrast to Gwen as Vic appreciates the small things in life. Gwen now has come to realisation of her selfishness and begins to solve her problems. “What do you think of me? You must hate me? Why do you still bother? I’m sorry… ”
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