Minimum of Two Suggests That Family Can Be Both a Blessing and a Curse

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Topics: Short story
Minimum of Two – Essay “Minimum of Two suggests that family can be both a blessing and a curse”

In Tim Winton’s collection of short stories, ‘Minimum of Two’, family is a major, recurring theme. Winton displays his interest in exploring the idea of family within each story differently, containing the positive and negative influence that family has on the actions and emotions of the Nilsam family and his alternative protagonists. In ‘Distant Lands’, he deals with the feeling of obligation towards and the traditional expectations of family whilst in ‘The Water Was Dark’ the focus is on a need to separate oneself from negative family completely. ‘Laps’ focuses on how family can help you move on from her past.
Winton has a strong belief that family shapes the kind of person one becomes, regardless of whether that is a good, or bad natured person.
Within the short story ‘Distant Lands’, although it is portrayed subtly, family plays an important role. We are told of Fat Maz’s parents; her mother, who sits in the family shop for the majority of her day, emitting ‘dull thudding’ sounds from the register and Maz’s father, who is portrayed as a hot headed, intimidating individual. As Winton goes on to display Maz’s character, which contains attributes the likes of reserved, self-conscious yet quietly ambitious, we are made to create a link between Maz’s persona and her parents, that of which one is silent and dismal and the other unapproachable, and the realization that it was the impact of her family that has built the aspects her character by failing to restore her confidence and paying little to no attention of whether Maz had her own ambitions. This contributes to her overall quietness.

‘The Water Was Dark’ has it’s protagonist, ‘the girl’, who is struggling to escape from the negativity of her mother. The girl lists her mother’s many faults bitterly and her mother’s poor decisions’ impact show

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