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Tim Wintons collection of short stories, Minimum of Two, endorses the importance of not only enduring but coming out on top. Through the often inspiring tales of Rachel, Queenie and the unnamed girl in The Water was Dark and it went Forever D

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Introduction

"You need to just go, that was it; survive, win." Does Minimum of Two endorse this attitude in life? Tim Winton's collection of short stories, "Minimum of Two", endorses the importance of not only enduring but coming out on top. Through the often inspiring tales of Rachel, Queenie and the unnamed girl in "The Water was Dark and it went Forever Down", the reader becomes aware of the necessity of persisting to succeed. Nevertheless, Winton presents the characters who don't survive, who don't win and in many ways fail with sympathy and understanding. The "weaker" male characters such as Jerra and Neil Madigan are examples of people who fall short of their expectations and do not endure life with the attitude of "You need to just go, that was it; survive, win." In the story "The Water was Dark and it went Forever Down", the main character, who is identified as a fourteen year old girl, has lost her father and has a difficult relationship with her alcoholic, reclusive mother. ...read more.

Middle

In this story she decides to take charge and to study social work at university. Rachel later loses weight and starts to take charge of her life again - "She had survived something to become Rachel again. No; she knew she was more". Rachel is simply not satisfied with living in a "sagging, rented van" but instead she wants more. She's "had enough of this kind of living" and accuses Jerra of holding her back by his nostalgic nature. For Rachel, winning means asserting one's own desires. She doesn't want to be dependent on Jerra so she takes the initiative of going to university to study. Rachel's determination is a perfect example of surviving and winning - "In her ocean of new feeling she knew she had to be the strong one". The family is just surviving at this point but she wants more for them, she wants the best and she wants to come out on top. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jerra is trapped in the past and is tentative about the future - "Jerra seemed to bear weight form the past as though they were treasures he had to take with him". We are shown another side of Jerra through Winton's sympathetic portrayal of him. The reader sees that although he is not succeeding, he is gutsy, determined and courageous. In "Forest Winter", there is a sign of hope as Jerra realizes that life must go on and he must keep persisting - "He sharpened the teeth of the chainsaw and prepared to go out into the day". Certainly Tim Winton's most admirable characters are those who "just go", those who have energy and a love of life; the nameless girl in "The Water Was Dark and it Went Forever Down", Queenie Cookson and Rachel Nilsam. They have the potential to achieve their aims. However, a drifter and dreamer such as Jerra and the manic Madigan, who can only "win" by enacting brutal revenge, are doomed to failure. ...read more.

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