This is a good essay taken from the board of studies site "http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_hsc/english/english-adv-module-b.html"
Tim Winton’s iconic Australian novel, Cloudstreet has been valued by audiences due to its portrayal of responses to human suffering. The linear narrative follows two families, the Lambs and the Pickles, over two significant decades of 1940-60. My response to Cloudstreet has been an appreciation of Winton’s promotion of wholeness and reconciliation, be that spiritual, physical or relational. By looking at the novel through the lens of its closing scenes, rich in biblical–like descriptions of heaven with “a small congregation amassed in the light” it is possible to reflect on the novel as a whole, as a story in which all elements are on an undisputable path towards ultimate healing and reconciliation.
Winton chooses Fish, a baby caught between his spiritual and physical self after near-drowning, as the omniscient authorial voice of the text. Through Fish’s uniquely Australian voice that shifts perspectives throughout the text, Winton heightens his disapproval of hatred and longing for wholeness. Fish sees evil in metaphorical language as Dolly “drinking and hating up a storm, the shadows bulleting around the library like mullet in a barrel.” Fish’s appreciation of the presence of evil is deeply tangible as he feels, smells and sees the results of animosity and adversity. In second person he comments, “Can’t you still see the evil stink coming through the cracks…? Take your hands off your ears, Fish, and listen to it.” Fish’s deep and earnest longing for the uniting of his spiritual and physical self is evident in his repetitions of “the water”. This repetition grows in intensity towards the ending chapters of the novel as he senses his final moments at the river where he can “taste the muted glory of wholeness”.
It is not only Fish who moves towards a final destination of reconciliation, but also those with whom he...