The Turning by Tim Winton

In The Turning by Tim Winton we have the theme of theme of domestic violence, faith, shame, alcoholism and friendship, Taken from his collection of the same name 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 domestic violence. Max has beaten up Raelene and if anything Raelene is hiding out at the laundrette. She does not wish for others to see the beating she has received form Max. Who always happens to her after Max comes back from the bar. The friendship with Sherry is significant as Sherry never judges Raelene. She accepts her for who she is. She knows that Raelene is being beaten up by Max but she still carries on regardless with her non-judgment view of Raelene. The theme of faith is evident in the story. With Raelene being jealous of the faith in God that both Sherry and Dan have. If anything she longs for the same type of faith. Even if it is to keep her marriage alive

However Raelene lives with too much shame and is not prepared to give herself to God. Though she has a degree of faith she does not believe that God can change her life with Max. Max after all is a stalwart of society and it would be Raelene’s word against him. He is after all the great player who plays for White Pointer. This too may be significant as it suggests that people will believe what they want to believe. How can their hero, Max, be a domestic abuser. It simply goes without saying that Raelene will not be believed and if anything she just wants to live with another a man.  But all the signs of Max’s domestic abuse are there, particularly when he is drunk. He manhandled and forces himself on Raelene on many occasions.

Sherry and Dan apart from living a good life are alternatives to Raelene and Max. Despite the fact that Dan is a recovering alcoholic there is not a bad bone in his body and he and Sherry try to help Raelene the best they can. Though some critics might suggest that Max is an alcoholic he, unlike Dan, shows no sign of giving up alcohol. He is happy to live his life working sporadically on the crab boat and to spend his earnings drinking. There is also a lack of healthy food in Raelene’s home possibly due to Max’s excess drinking. Something that may not be lost on the children.  The walks on the beach that Raelene enjoys so much because she dreams of her father her may be her way of longing for a different life. A life that does not come with domestic violence.

The end of the story is interesting as despite being beaten by Max. Raelene consents to having sex with him, Something the reader suspects is to keep the peace and not wake the children If anything Raelene is living a nightmare and the reader wonders what kind of effect it has on her and Max’s dysfunctional marriage may also had a negative effect on them. Both the reader suspects they are only too aware of how their mother is treated by their father. Sex for Max is his right and he can have sex whenever he likes. He looks upon Raelene as his property. Surely something that is going to affect Raelene’s and Max’s children. By the story’s end Raelene wishes for a life like Sherry and Dave. She may not have a good grip on faith but she knows that they are happy. It is also interesting that when the beatings become too much, Sherry suggests that Raelene should leave Max, Faith or no faith.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "The Turning by Tim Winton." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 28 Sep. 2022. Web.

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