Maestro: World and Darwin

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Explain how the settings in Maestro contribute to our understanding of the characters.

The settings in Maestro are significant to the understanding of the characters, as well as reflective of the attitudes and growth of the characters in each location.

Darwin is portrayed as a town of escapees and exiles. The mixed bag of races and ages, collaborate into a lifestyle of booze and somewhat lower class living.

Paul’s time in Darwin reflects his growing sexuality and development as a musician. As soon as Paul stepped off the plane he was attracted to the “hot steamy perfumes” of the “compost” and “sweet-and-sour-air.” The intensity of the heat is symbolic of Paul’s sexuality and the tropical “cartoon world” of “brilliant colours” where “everything grew larger than life in the steamy hothouse of Darwin.” The landscape of dense jungle and Paul’s fascination with his new world inspired emotional and sensual development. “The world of the mind was slowly losing its hold on me. The world of senses replacing it. Each day my eyes seemed to be opened just a little wider, and more of that sun-drenched town of lush gardens, scents and sexuality seemed to cram itself in.” Darwin is where Paul experiences uncontrollable lust for Megan, and has his first sexual experience with Rosie and Megan. Paul explores his musical growth as well as his sexuality in Darwin, beginning with his piano lessons with the Maestro. It is here that Paul relearns the fundamentals of music from Maestro, and is taught to perfection the technicalities of playing piano.

John and Nancy Crabbe arrive in Darwin, due to John’s acceptance of a ‘transfer,’ and yet the couple appear to be unhappy with their new home. John accuses Darwin of being “the arsehole of the earth.” The Crabbe’s initial dislike of Darwin displays there snobbery, and yet the choice to remain in the “town of drunks” insinuates that they might be escaping from something in the south. John “still clung to the Southerner’s...
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