Fog by Tim Winton

In Fog by Tim Winton we have the theme of disillusionment, corruption, trust, struggle, fear, hope and alcoholism. Taken from his The Turning collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realizes that Winton may be exploring the theme of disillusionment. Lang no longer likes being a policeman. He is not trusted by other policemen and there is every chance that they are corrupt or dishonest. Just as Lang is not trusted by them he does not trust the other policemen. This is clear for the reader to see when Lang arrives at The Dial and talks to Macklin. He is wary of him. It is also clear that Lang has a dependency on alcohol but he is afraid to admit it to himself. He does not think he has slipped too far that he is an alcoholic.

The theme of fear is also evident in the story. Marie becomes afraid when she is at The Dial. She is a young eighteen year old reporter who has probably not seen the darker side of life. She does not know whether the climber will be found dead or alive and has asked Lang. Also as it gets darker Marie’s fear grows. She is not accustomed to the situation she finds herself in. However Lang does not feel afraid. He has seen things in life that others have not seen. The boy on the trailbike dying is an example of this. Also Lang is more preoccupied with the brandy nearly drinking it at The Dial with Marie feet away and the reader senses he has no time to be afraid. It may also be significant that Lang thinks of his son, Vic, when he is at the Dial ad he knows that his family have been warned by the other policemen and he is concerned about them. This type of pressure, added with alcoholism, is something that is disadvantageous to Lang. Problems he does not need.

There may be some symbolism in the story which might be important. The brandy obviously represents Lang’s strong desire to drink. Marie and the fact that Lang wants to tell her everything about the local police could represent honesty and healing. By telling Marie the situation he finds himself in Lang may be hoping to cleanse himself. The climber in many ways is like Lang. Both men are struggling and find themselves in a position they do not like. Macklin represents corruption throughout the local police force. It is also interesting that Winton goes through in great detail Lang’s ascent of the Dial. Again this suggests the struggle both externally and internally that Lang is going through. With both the police force and the alcohol. In many the fog at The Dial mirrors how Lang is living his life. In an unconscious fog.

The end of the story is interesting as it comes to a resolution with the climber being found and Lang admitting to himself that he is better off not telling Marie anything about the local police force. Lang just has to carry on regardless and hope things get better for him. If anything Lang is not only disillusioned with the local police force but he is so honest that he knows his description in Marie’s piece in the paper will be a lie. Lang has put on a front since he hit the bottle. He is no longer the policeman he once was and work, his participation in work, is something that Lang cannot do without the assistance of alcohol. Without wanting it to be the case, since Lang once got satisfaction from the job, Lang has not only become disillusioned but he has become an alcoholic. Something that his family are yet to realize.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "Fog by Tim Winton." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 24 Sep. 2022. Web.

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