Cloud Street

In Cloudstreet, Tim Winton explores the central theme of the meaning of life and how meaning can be reached using characterisation, structure, style and language. He maintains a neutral attitude to which aspect of the above web is preferable, and in fact celebrates all aspects. He fuses the apparently conflicting secular belief systems of luck and hard work into the house of Cloudstreet and shows that both can have success (ie. The success of Oriel’s shop and the big win had by Sam and Lester playing two-up). He also fuses the religious systems of Christianity and Aboriginal spirituality through the appearances of the Blackfella, which are often coupled with biblical references. He doesn’t judge the mode in which his characters find meaning in their lives, in a uniquely Australian laid-back manner, and this is especially true for Fish. Fish search for meaning and fulfilment is defined as reuniting his physical half with his spiritual half, so ironically Fish finds meaning by dying. But in “those seconds it takes to die”, his ecstasy is revealed in the words: “Fish Lamb. Perfectly. Always. Everyplace. Me.”
Method of narration

Fish narrates the story in “those seconds it takes to die” when he “recognises himself as whole and human”. For the majority of the novel it is narrator Fish who tells us about the happenings at number one Cloudstreet, but at times his spiritual self cuts in. This change in voice is indicated through the abrupt transition from 3rd person perspective to 1st or 2nd person perspective. The spiritual voice of the novel serves 2 purposes: to remind us that Fish has a strong spiritual dimension with which he yearns to be reconciled, and to develop the strong spiritual undertones of the novel. Fish’s duality is symbolic of Tim Winton’s fusion of both the physical and spiritual worlds.


Sam’s father, Merv, was a gambler who died whilst in a drunken state in bed – “one morning Sam woke to a creeping chill...