Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

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The conclusion of Tim Winton’s novel Cloudstreet is the amalgamation of the entire spiritual element of the narrative. Within the final two chapters the key spiritual themes of the story are resolved, which itself is the central theme of the story. I believe that the unexplained spiritual events in the everyday are the most memorable elements of the narrative, due to the consistent nature with which they appear through the text, giving it strong integrity as a unified whole. The consistency of the spiritual element is resolved with the final chapters with the reunification of Fish Lamb, and the subtle influence of elements of both Christian and Indigenous belief systems.

The reunification of Fish consolidates the spiritual role that he has throughout the entire novel. Fish’s death joins the omniscient narrator and the drowning victim, as described in the closing tetracolon ‘Perfectly. Always. Everyplace. Me.’ In his article Go Home said the Fish Michael McGirr states that ‘the reunification of both Fish Lambs is a moment of healing’. With his drowning, Fish returns to the state that he was in prior to being spiritually torn in two, leaving him broken, despite being clinically described with the alliterative tricolon ‘alert, aware, sane’. As both the omniscient narrator, and the mortal character Fish possesses a spiritual nature, almost always aware and present when inexplicable events occur. These events include the alliteratively described ‘Pentecostal pig’, and when Quick is ‘lit up like a sixty watt globe’. This spiritual presence is central to the reunification of the families at the novel’s conclusion, as symbolically represented by the removal of the fence from the yard. The conclusion of Fish’s part in the novel is the conclusion of a tale of spirituality channelled through a character that would otherwise be considered mentally deficient. This, to me, is evidence that Cloudstreet is a narrative about the spiritual in the mundane.

The presence of the...
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