Tim Winton's "Cloudstreet" tells the story of two working-class families--the God-fearing Lambs and the feckless Pickles--who are forced to live in the same house. It explores the importance of family, spirituality and reconciliation. The novel begins with both families in disarray, with fragmented relationships. By the end, however, all conflicts are resolved, divisions are healed, and fragments become whole. Winton is able to influence his readers' understanding of people and society by demonstrating the value of unity.
Cloudstreet is a unified text in that it has textual integrity. The language, setting and characters are uniquely Australian, shown in the use of Australian vernacular such as 'drongo' and 'staggerjuice'. The circular structure binds these elements together cohesively to produce an array of interconnected ideas which all explore the text's main theme, unity.
Winton devotes his entire novel to exploring the characters' journey to unity. Quick has a dream about the future that Winton envisions for Australia.
Through the accumulation of ideas, Winton includes everyone: birds and animals, Quick's family, "even people he doesn't know". Winton introduces animals to Cloudstreet. The personification of the pig demonstrates his desire to include the natural world in his vision. The technique of sublimity is often used to emphasize unity. Quick and Fish share a sublime experience when they are in the boat together. The water and the sky are fused together, and this blurring of boundaries is typical of the sublime. It is this blurring of boundaries that Winton employs throughout the novel to show unity.
One of the central themes in Cloudstreet is the importance of family--more importantly, the unity that can be found in families. In the beginning, both families are divided. The Pickles family is dysfunctional. The Lamb family is crippled by Fish's accident. Fractures begin to appear...