Essay by sadeeshaaaHigh School, 12th grade July 2014

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Sadeesha (27/07/14)

Explain how your study of texts this year has helped you to engage with ideas. Make reference to at least one text you have studied.

Fiction texts that raise thought-provoking ideas play a significant role in engaging readers with the text. The short story "Neighbours"(1985) written by Tim Winton reflects the historical cultural divide between Australian-born residents and immigrants, which in this case are the eastern Europeans who arrived in large numbers in the 80's. Winton raises this sociological issue of cultural incompatibility through the interaction of a newlywed, Anglo Saxon couple who moved into a suburban Australian neighbourhood that is predominantly Polish and Macedonian. Winton's careful construction of characters, maintaining their anonymity but not their ethnicity revealed in the way each conduct their daily affairs; a report-style narration told through anecdotes, and the symbolism of reconciliation brought about through the birth of a baby animates the long standing debates over integration and assimilation in an increasingly multicultural Australia.

Winton's construction of a tolerant Anglo Saxon couple choosing to live among well-meaning but rather loud and intrusive east Europeans migrants sets the stage for a multicultural Australia. The young couple 'were uncomfortable for many months' due to the various cultural differences between them and then European residents, especially when the young man 'sensed their disapproval at his staying home ….. while his wife worked'. This is due to the Europeans' judgment based on their preconceived notion that the man should always work while the woman should stay home. Also the young woman felt 'flattered, claustrophobic, grateful, peeved', when the Greek woman stopped her and 'pilled her skirt up and felt her belly'. Though taken aback by the Greek woman's forward, brash behaviour the young woman did not retaliate. We know that she was 'peeved' but her tolerant attitude...