Impressions in the Clouds

Autumn holidays to Week 1

What did I do?

Finish reading Cloudstreet

I started a tabbing system while reading Cloudstreet; each important character is allocated a coloured tab. These tabs also have cute pictures on them because I couldn’t resist the cuteness! These characters are Sam, Dolly and Rose Pickles and Oriel, Lester, Fish and Quick Lamb. I also tabbed motifs/symbolism/hidden meanings that I found within the text as well as any questions that I formed while reading it.

My first impression of the text is that Tim Winton is a shameless, matter-of-fact kind of author, similarly to Nam Le. He not only ‘says it as it is’, he goes into depth into aspects of life that people would find shocking to hear verbally, yet by writing it in a novel it is artistic. This is a slightly pessimistic view but oh well. I appreciate his work, I just don’t choose to like it.

I found his characterisation amazing, although he is rarely consistent in his addressal of each character, the differing perspectives of each one deepen the reader’s understanding of each of the others. His ability to completely transfer the voice of each character, while maintaining his omnipotent structure is notable, especially for the characters of Rose, Oriel, Dolly and Lester. Not only does Winton create great tension between the characters, he almost refuses to allow you, as the reader to favour a side.

His characterisation is also interesting when considering Fish. It is revealed at the end that the part Fish which was left behind in the river was the omnipotent voice who tells the story of his family and the Pickles to the less aware, yet physical side of Fish. There are times when this slips into the narration of the story – when he speaks in first person, addressing physical Fish as “you” – such as when he claims not to be able to warn the Lambs and Pickles of the Nedlands Monster. While reading sections like this, I at first thought that it was Winton transfering himself into the novel. However, I soon realised that it was Fish’s more mentally conscious self.

Class researched Nedland’s Monster

Some of the major connections between the history of the “Nedlands Monster” (Eric Edgar Cooke) and Cloudsteet include:

  • The descriptions of the murders. More specifically, the murder of the babysitter is more graphically portrayed in the novel, for the most part, this seems quite accurate.
  • The sense of innocence which left Perth/Australia after the event. The growing fear within the community and the insight into the corruption of the ‘monster’s mind convey this.
  • The motif of newspaper clippings is consistent with the most available source of information for Tim Winton researching the “Nedlands monster”.
  • This motif also emphasises Quick’s personal connection to the tragedy. He is involved in the hunting down of the E. Cooke, as a police officer. He is also greatly affected by dragging Cooke’s son, having drowned, out of the river while on duty; a similar event to his brother’s accident which began his guilt-driven collection of sorrowful newspaper clippings.

 

Image: http://www.openfocusattentiontraining.com/2015/09/18/watching-thoughts-like-passing-clouds-diffused-attention-in-meditation-practice/

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