"Minimum of Two" by Tim Winton: The Struggles of Jerra and Rachel

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  • Published : October 22, 2008
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In Tim Winton’s collection of short stories Minimum of Two, Jerra and Rachel Nilsam are ordinary people who we may see on the street and the battles that they face are battles that we ourselves may fight. Relationships and financial stability provide a constant distraction and having a baby adds to the emotional burden. When faced with adversity it is the support and understanding that we receive from our family that helps us to survive and carry on.

Jerra and Rachel Nilsam struggle to maintain loyalty to each other in their marriage but in their realization of their love for each other are reconciled. Jerra and Rachel have fought to achieve intimacy in their relationship and Jerra was forced to turn to another woman. Jerra however realizes that ‘she was not Rachel,’ and ends his affair. Rachel feels that she cannot deal with it and she ‘can’t listen to [him] tell [her] how sorry [he] is or isn’t.’ In a number of his stories, Tim Winton shows Jerra and Rachel on the verge of walking away from each other in a fit of frustration but through consideration and forgiveness, they move towards a reunion. Whilst Rachel and Jerra Nilsam grew apart from each other, their understanding towards each other gives them hope of a future together in life.

The Nilsams contribute as a family to overcome their battle for financial stability. Unemployed and living in a caravan, Jerra and Rachel struggle to keep their family afloat. They ‘barely survive on the dole’. However together they both attempt to make a change in their lives with Rachel applying to study at university and Jerra suggesting that he ‘could play a few wine bars’ to supply some income. Many new families experience money trouble in the early years after having a child and it is through mutual co-operation between families that they pull through and survive.

Winton shows us that sometimes it is the physical battles that we have to fight that are the hardest to emotionally overcome. Sam’s traumatic birth...
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