1. How has Tim Winton adapted the conventions of a European and American form of writing and made it distinctly Australian?
Tim Winton has adapted the conventions of a European and American form of writing to some extent and has made it distinctly Australian by modifying the language, structure and context of a short story, which can be seen in his story Big World. Winton has adapted some of these features from European and American writers such as Anton Chekov, Earnest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald in order to present Australian landscape and culture.
Unlike European writer, Anton Chekov, Winton displays a simplistic style of writing in which he does not amend Chekov’s elusiveness or European perspective that upholds themes on life in an aristocratic society. Instead, Winton adapts the technique of elaborating on actions and events that occur throughout the narrative. The main character in Winton’s Big World, recaptures past moments and events as he and his friend drive through the wilderness of Western Australia.
We buzz north through hours of good farm country. The bug, neat paddocks get browner and browner and drier all the while and the air feels thick and warm. Biggie drives. He has the habit of punctuating his sentences with jabs on the accelerator…
It is clearly evident that Winton gives detail about the setting of the story using figurative language. He displays the characters actions and their intentions. Instead of writing the character’s actions in this way: As Biggie drives he pushes on the accelerator violently, Winton writes He has the habit of punctuating his sentences with jabs on the accelerator. Therefore this gives an insight into why the character acts in a certain way. Winton adapts these features from European writer Chekhov to display Western Australian landscape and to create interest in the reader.
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Winton approaches a realistic form of writing which has been adapted from American writing such as the works of Earnest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Modern conventions such as the use of colloquial language and vocabulary have been used to reflect the context of the narrative. Winton has adapted Fitzgerald’s modern short story elements in that there is no traditional chronological order of events shown in his short stories such as Big World. The narrative moves from one idea to another focusing on the character’s consciousness. As the narrator of the story expresses his thoughts on the landscape and surroundings he also includes anecdotes about his friend, Biggie Botson, every now and then.
We get out into rolling pasture and granite country and then wheat-lands where the ground is freshly torn up in the hope of rain…The windows are down and the hot wind rips through our hair.
Biggie must have secrets. Everyone dreams of things in private. There must be stuff he doesn’t tell me.
The narrator jumps from one topic to another, which creates a stream of consciousness which Winton has adapted from Fitzgerald as well as European writer Anton Chekhov.
Like Fitzgerald and Hemingway Winton uses language to represent the context of the Australian society nevertheless Winton still uses formal language and vocabulary here and there, in order to enhance the importance of the short story.
…only one brave enough to hold the bin for the student teacher while she puked so hard it came out of her nose. His sole academic success was his essay on the demise of Led Zepplin…
Winton uses colloquial speech however he uses elaborate words to make up for this use of Australian jargon. This makes Winton’s writing style slightly different from non-Australian writers even though he has adapted the American style of using colloquial language; he clearly uses it in an Australian context.
Francis Scott Fitzgerald Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is known as one of the most important American writers of his time. He wrote about the troubling time period in which he lived known as the Jazz Age. During this era people were either rich or dreamt of great wealth. Fitzgerald fell into the trap of wanting to be wealthy, and suffered great personal anguish because of these driving forces. I ...
Winton has adapted the elusiveness of American writer Hemingway in that he keeps his main character nameless just as in the short story Big World. This engages the reader as he/she is more interested in the narrator’s life events than his identity. The author mainly focuses on the story rather than the identity of the character. This adapted technique leaves the reader to question the story/narrative and events without thinking about the identity of the narrator.
Tim Winton has modified narrative techniques which have been adapted from American and European writers which he has used to display Australian context. He adapts the stream of consciousness idea from Chekov and Fitzgerald and his simplistic form of writing from Hemingway.