The Turning Essay
Tim Winton, an enduring writer of this world, and a brooker prize winner, with his Seventeen searing stories swarms the dearth of our emotions to make us realize the different facets of our lives. “The Turning” shows us those parts of our lives where we face sufferings, tragedy, and deaths. Following the traits of Jyoce, Winton’s stories are set in different locations but within the social and cultural fabric of Australia. Same Characters are repeated in number of stories in different stages of life like childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.
All the seventeen stories are different but the sequences have a striking connection between each other. Vic as a central character appears in many stories; first as a child enjoying holidays on a surf beach with his family, then we find him struggling bit by bit in his adolescent age when his father who is a policeman left his family and, in the end he is a shattered and tired grown man. Just like a novel, there is an intense desire to continue reading all stories.
His stories are set in Angelus, an imaginary small, wind- swept coastal community which was formally a whaling station in the south-west of Western Australia. There are disappointments of characters, but still in these disappointments there is a hope and will to survive which is the Turning Point of our lives. The range of emotions showing their fear and anguish but also willingness to live immerses the reader into their world and this is what the essence of The Turning is and this what which makes it an exclusive in itself.
Even Winton claims that this world is brutal, and there is disappointment and frustration all around, which he used tragically and catches it literarily with the laconic form, which got its birth in Australia. The ten different ways of dying which writer showed in his stories made its reading rather gloomy, but on the other hand illuminated with the rays of brightness and hope.
All through Winton has adopted narrative ideology like in a “Long Clear View”, a school is set on fire or “Two kids drown”. Starting from the romantic fantasy he shifts to the language whereby the use of which results in the characters personality hampered. As a woman who scrubs the floor of the other people says that, “Love, we grin and bear it”, but on the other hand he is not explicit in his words.
Winton presented a moment of an epiphany into the characters heart which according to Joyce could take place “in the vulgarity of speech or gesture or in a memorable phrase”; the epiphany reveals, to the reader, if not to the character, the insubstantiality of a character’s own language. (Adams, Fractured Lens, para.1). For eg. Raelene, when after disgusted by the husband’s made a sophisticated and happily married woman her friend.
When she comes to know that this woman and her husband are born-again Christians, she asks. “What’s it like?”, still her friend answers: “‘Like a hot knife going into me”. The epiphany appears to be grinded by brittleness in the character’s language. Increasing the complexity and making the characters life confusing is the beauty of Epiphany.
Characters are always struggling to come out from the past and are unable to exhibit their own self identity. Winton with his well crafted language presents the picture of what we are and in mixed emotions and paradoxes we are not able to understand ourselves only. Vic Lang is only preoccupied with his own self which in philosophical terms also known as solipsistic tendency.
The physical aspect of the nature also is a backbone of the stories interwoven into the characters life. Land, sea, coast and water all are intrigued into the stories as living entities like ‘water functions mostly as water’, or “I hear Tim murmur”. Thus, so beautifully, Turning Point brings the nature into the folds of the human personality and functioning that we sometimes don’t understand that it is nature speaking or humans.
Winton moves the characters fast into their grim future but then takes us back into the moment of stillness. The whole versions are interwoven in a fabric of appeared to be insoluble thoughts and perceptions which arises from the degraded civilization of our own makings. In “Commission”, the meeting of Vic and his father takes place from the ruined mining settlements and here is the paradox whereby the man finds himself liberated- free from the wilderness of the worldly and materialistic society into the laps of the nature.
Hereby you can also have a feeling of a religious flavor whereby characters in their period of turmoil experiences spiritual enlightenment and attains a moment of realization which every human being at one stage in his life feels. This moment of realization forces him to look back at his past about the things that they missed and the chances that they could have materialized.
The Winton’s style appears to be colloquial but signifies maturity and fullness that incites us to plunge into the world of parody. His most successful stories, are ‘Small Mercies’ and ‘Commission’, which exhibits uniqueness, but the same ‘Aquifer’ appears in an un-chronological fashion in which the floods reminded the protagonist about his childhood days. He has openly experimented with the techniques and style, making even the trivial things and trivial parts of our lives unique. But the biggest drawback comes where there is a feeling that the momentum of the stories has become slow and irritable sometimes, yet he plunged the limitations of the time by bringing forward the past of the characters in the flow of the current time.
Winton’s unbounded humanity and his sympathy for his characters descend on them like grace as they struggle to salvage their lives. And, so with the sublime beauty of his words and images he produces the filmy world of our lives which we want to ignore but cannot do so and philosophically makes us recognize that there is always a new beginning after the end and the life goes on and on.
1 Adams R. Angela, “Visions Through A Fractured Lens” (February 12, 1997) Internet. Available: http://www.lombardi.ws/literaryAspirations/Angela/JoycePap.html, 8, March 2007.
2. Ley James, “A Job Lot –The Turning by Tim Winton,” Australian Book Review
(October,2004) Internet. Available: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~abr/Oct04/Ley.htm,
8, March 2007.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 March 2017