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, decisions are made by the direction the knife points to after it has been spun. Fish is the character that most enjoys this spinning, constantly chanting out ‘the knife never lies’. Even when no questions are put to the knife, he still continues spinning. This mere obsession as one may call it, reinforces this notion of fate within the world of Cloudstreet:
“… and remember sport, the knife never lies.”
This quote emphasizes the theme of fate – an important theme in Cloudstreet as it also helps to bring across other values of mateship through scenes in which fate has brought them together. Fish’s own fate, which leaves him crippled, was the catalyst for the unification of the two families.
Another theme presented is a sense of spiritualism within the novel Cloudstreet. Fish is this link with the physical and spiritual world. He sees things that no other resident in Cloudstreet can see. He also can see the dead spirits that haunt him in the library room. One of the main symbols used in Cloudstreet is the river. Fish, especially, was linke