Cloudstreet Values and Attitudes

Essay by mikeyc1High School, 12th gradeA+, August 2008

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Cloudstreet, a novel written by Tim Winton is an epic tale of two rural families, who through two separate bad incidents, migrate to the city and find themselves sharing, equally, a large house known as Cloudstreet. In the text it presents values and attitudes of Australian life in the 1940's-1960's era. Winton aims these values and attitudes at the Australian society to provide the people within an understanding of themselves and their culture. Within the text, many different narrative techniques such as shifting point of view and the episodic structure are found to help convey the values of fate, place of belonging and family.

Winton's use of shifting point of view becomes extremely useful as it not only helps portray more than one character's own thoughts on the present issues, but also their journey to find their place of belonging in society. Throughout the story Oriel is unable to feel comfortable in where she is, due to her inability to regard men highly, including her husband Lester.

As the point of view switches to Oriel, she explains how she believes there is something wrong with men, they lack something, but she doesn't know what it is. Oriel doesn't think very highly of her father and she believes her brother's death was an act of betrayal, rather than courage. As a result, Oriel discovers she is not afraid of what others think of her, and acquires the "manly" role of the family. The reader is then left to question their perception of this 'mother' stereotype, from experiencing a woman's point of view on the novel.

Cloudstreet is written in an episodic structure to emphasize how each character values one's luck and fate, from using many scenes taking place over a considerable period of time, in a number of locations.