“Minimum of two” is a collection of short stories written by Australian writer Tim Winton. He writes his stories in different views such as first and third person, mainly for the reader to feel the story more in depth. The book features 14 short stories which are; Forest Winter, No Memory Comes, Gravity, The Water was Dark and it went forever down, Nislam’s Friend, Minimum of two, Distant Lands, Laps, Bay of Angels, The strong one. Holding, More, Death belongs to the dead his father told him and sadness to the sad and finally Blood and water. Throughout all of these stories there is relevant trauma for past events, coming to an outcome of growth in either a positive or negative way.
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The short story that in my opinion is the most powerful in regards to trauma and growth is the story “Minimum of two”. It’s written in first person view of the husband (Neil). This is a deep story about a married woman called Greta getting raped by a senior in her department by the name of Fred Blakey. He is taken to court by Greta and Neil and is sentenced to 5 years imprisonment but for Neil this is not enough because he went through ample suffering through the recovery of Greta in the way that she did not want to be intimate with him because she was sensitive as expected after being raped.
With this issue, Neil decides to take matters in his own hands and contemplates killing Blakey when he gets released, he tells his friend Tony Mitchell that he will be doing this. Mitchell doesn’t agree with what Neil wants to do, but Neil doesn’t listen to him and ends up killing Blakey when he got out. His conscience then catches up with him and he then feels like the most horrible person, saying that he feels that he was a “dead man”.
The main trauma in this story is the rape of Greta by Fred Blakey, this is mainly trauma from Greta as she becomes sensitive and doesn’t get intimate with Neil, this is also a traumatic for him, and this is shown in the way he writes about his feelings. It seems like her intimacy with him is a great thing for him making this story traumatic for both Neil and Greta. In the ending Neil kills Blakey and comes to a negative growth of feeling sorry for himself, as well as losing his best friend Tony Mitchell.
The next story that showed trauma and growth is the story called “Distant Lands”. It’s written in the third person view. This short story is about an overweight woman working at her father’s newsagency. This woman is called “Fat Maz” she was teased and tormented through high school and also was not supported very well by her parents, they also treated her as if they didn’t know her or that she wasn’t their daughter.
There was a day though that changed her life, a stranger Pakistani man comes into the newsagency, and opens the book “Distant Lands” has a glance and leaves. As she goes to inspect the book she realises the blurb saying “You will want this book never to finish”after she reads the blurb she is interested in reading the book, as she is reading it the Pakistani man comes into the newsagency once again and this time re-opening “Distant Lands” and smiling at Fat Maz, he gives her money and some confidence to leave her garbage job helping at her father’s newsagency
The trauma in this story is mainly from Fat Maz’s life, how she had been teased all in high school and even at home with her parents she wasn’t treated nicely. The growth coming from this is positive when a mysterious Pakistani man comes in and gives her money and confidence to leave her job at the newsagency.
Another story that had trauma with growth coming as an outcome is the story “Laps”. This story written in the third person view is about a young woman by the name of Queenie that has flashbacks of her childhood, and her grandfather when he was alive as she swims laps through a pool.
She is new to Perth, and she is somehow reminded of her grandfather and the whaling projects from her childhood and she is haunted by these thoughts. She then gathers enough courage to go back to her home town to tackle her past, and then be able to move on with her life.
The trauma from this story is the flashbacks that Queenie get from her troubled childhood; she see’s these horrible flashbacks when swimming as swimming reminded her of an earlier time of her life. The growth gathered from this story is that Queenie had the courage to go back to her home town and sort out her problems so that she is now able to live a new life in Perth with no haunting flashbacks.
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Tim Winton is a talented writer with allot of creativity shown in this collection of “Minimum of two”. He has the ability to write about hard trauma, but also an outcome of growth. The three stories chosen for this essay (Minimum of two, Distant Lands and Laps) are all examples of how he can bring growth out of trauma. In conclusion this collection of short stories by Tim Winton is really moving to the reader, as he brings not only trauma but growth out of each story.
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