Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell

Tim Winton, Minimum of Two (1987)

Tim Winton’s short story collection, Minimum of Two (1987), exhibits a profound fascination with, and appreciation of, ordinary people who battle imperfectly in the face of life’s problems, with life seeming to be a series of crises where people lurch from one to another.  In this context, Winton celebrates the quality of resilience that enables people to keep going.  He also appreciates the bonds of family that bring satisfaction and meaning to one’s life. 

The collection deals primarily with a transitional phase in life, when people who are in their more adventurous twenties settle down in their early thirties to the responsibilities of family life, which bring with them new challenges and rewards. 

As well as examining the bonds of family, the collection conveys a number of more ideological or political messages in favour of environmentalism, feminism, multiculturalism and Asian immigration. The text also expresses some sympathy for those who live a hippy or alternative lifestyle that differs from that of mainstream Australians.  In addition, Winton seems to share the view that men in general, and Australian men in particular, have difficulty expressing their feelings, especially in matters that trouble them.  They are inclined to suffer in silence instead of reaching out to others who could ease their concerns. 

In addition, the stories reflect an existentialist notion of appreciating the fragility of life and the ultimate reality of mortality, and the need to make the most of one’s life in this context.  Meanwhile, the stories also express a positive appreciation of the way that religious faith can help people face some of life’s greater challenges that involve mortality. 

Student resources by Dr Mark Lopez

© Mark Lopez 2021 All RIGHTS RESERVED

The purpose of the concise notes of Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell is to provide much needed help to students seeking to unlock the meaning of the texts with which they have to deal.  (More elaborate notes are provided in lessons as part of my private tutoring business.) 

Subject: Minimum of Two meaning, Minimum of Two themes, Minimum of Two analysis, Minimum of Two notes