How do images of the natural world reflect emotional lives of Winton’s characters?
In ‘Minimum of Two,’ Tim Winton makes the link between the natural world and the emotional lives of his characters. From stories like ‘Forest Winter’ and ‘Laps’ to even ‘The water was dark and it went forever down,’ Winton’s exploration of a protagonist and the effects of its environment is intriguing.
In ‘Forest Winter,’ the ‘young man’ lives and works in a ‘hard and cold’ forest. The protagonist endures a dreary, monotonous life as he completes the repetitive task of ‘dismembering’ a tree each day, leaving early and completing the task alone. The complete and utter loneliness from the young man is only enforced by phrases such as ‘the quiet of the forest coming upon him,’ He is a ‘motionless’ state and constant pondering on life by him self, ‘sheltered’ by the forest. Similarly, the natural setting of the forest is basically a simile for the character. The setting is dark, gloomy and quiet, just like the characters state of mind and mood. The quietness of the forest is representing the loneliness of the young man. The dreary forest enforces the depressing, boring lifestyle of the young man.
‘The water was dark and it went forever down’ has a more metaphorical sense of natural world, with the juxtaposition of land against water. The mother’s saying of that all one needs is a piece of land to survive is completely contradictory with the girl’s compassion with the water. Swimming is the protagonist’s way of keeping sane, and is the place that feels the most like home. Swimming helps feel free. Although she loves the water, the land on the island represents her in many ways. It’s isolated, but not empty, just like the girls life. She has a mother, but her parent only makes her feel lonely.
The realization of the ‘web of life’ stimulates her aim to break away from her mother. She makes the connection on that the strong survive and the weak die, so she makes a pact to leave...