Cloudstreet, a novel written by Tim Winton published in 1991 is a story of two rural families, who through two separate bad incidents migrate to the city and find themselves sharing, equally, a large house known as ‘Cloudstreet’ – or at least the shop is called that. Through 20 years of life, the reader is able to paint a unique picture of the many characters that are presented through the novel. Among these, Samson Lester, more commonly known as Fish, named for his ‘was’ alertness, is severely mentally damaged following a fishing accident. However, he still serves an important role in presenting the values and themes within the novel Cloudstreet.
One common theme presented in Cloudstreet is the theme of fate and luck, ‘the hairy hand of god’ as some of the characters likes to put it. The spinning of the knife is such a symbol that represents fate. Often or not, decisio
Fish is the character that most enjoys this spinning, constantly chanting out "the knife never lies"tm. Even when no questions are put to the knife, he still continues spinning. Fish, especially, was linked to this as it was the river in which he both "partially" and "fully" died. Tim Winton is providing a means by which the reader can ponder about the extra-ordinary or surreal events that can possibly happen in one mans life and expressing these as ordinary or normal in his novel. ns are made by the direction the knife points to after it has been spun. Fish is this link with the physical and spiritual world. One of the main symbols used in Cloudstreet is the river. It was easy for Winton to use the river as a symbol because it symbolized life and spirituality that is able to convey meaning in context with the story. Yet one cannot pass him on as the protagonist as other characters are in a way equally treated with different aspects to them. Fish"tms own fate, which leaves him crippled, was the catalyst for the unification of the two families. The fact that the "pensacola"tm pig who "talks in tongues"tm does not strike Lester as odd, let alone Fish, is rather interesting. This magic realism is seen by most parts from Fish. He may be seen as the main character due to a number of reasons; the story starts and ends with him as the main figure, as said previously, he is the link between the complex and the real plane of imagination, he is the cause of one of the families "catastrophes"tm and he is seen as a very subversive narrator (although I did not pick this up myself). He sees things that no other resident in Cloudstreet can see.