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Neighbours

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Neighbours” (1985)  by Tim Winton. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Tim Winton (b. 1960) is an Australian writer. He has written novels, children’s books, plays, non-fiction writing, and short stories. His best-known novels include Cloudstreet, Dirt Music, and Breath. He has won numerous literary awards. The short story “Neighbours” was first published in the anthology Australian Short Stories No. 10 (1985).

Extract

Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

Symbols

The wife’s pregnancy symbolizes the arrival of a new member into the small community created in the neighborhood. The neighbors are excited by the news, and they already feel affectionate towards the unborn child since they view it as part of their community. This is why the neighbors give the expecting parents presents, offer names for the baby, and knit the baby clothes. The neighbors’ excitement and affection for the unborn child is what makes them stay up late into the night until the child is born and cheer for their new neighbor and his parents. 

The liverwurst the wife craves while she is in labor symbolizes the way the couple has become part of the neighborhood. Since liverwurst is traditionally eaten in various European countries, it can be assumed that the Australian couple has started eating liverwurst because of their neighbors, who are European immigrants. The wife’s craving for a traditional European food shows that she is now part of the community and appreciates and enjoys her neighbors’ culture.

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Neighbours

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