Character Analysis of Maestro Darwin by Peter Goldworthy

Essay add: 29-09-2015, 19:40   /   Views: 511
Character Analysis of Maestro Darwin by Peter Goldworthy

Darwin is a small, tropical hothouse of a port, half outback and half oriental, lying at the tip of North Australia. In Peter Goldworthy's novel Maestro Darwin is depicted through the eyes of his characters. It is a Place of wide spaces, freedom and possibilities for Paul Crabbe. In Eduard Keller Paul's piano teacher's situation Darwin is a place of refuge where he has fled to, to try and escape his past and life a life of mystery. Whereas Darwin for Paul's parent's is a hot, sun drenched town with little cultural or intellectual life bearing no resemblance to the lifestyle in which they were accustomed to.

It is evident from the beginning that Paul loves Darwin. It is a paradise compared to Adelaide where he used to life, which was more confined and protected with its "neat rows of suburbs". (100) The isolation of Darwin seemed to signify youth, space and freedom for Paul. It was an environment to grow in with its lush greenery and possibilities "everything larger than life and the people were no exception". (11) There was a diverse mix of people in Darwin each influenced Paul in on different levels. Darwin is often referred to as a hot, steamy, sensual place and Rosie a girl who moved to Darwin from Melbourne who shared many of the same interests as Paul helped him realise exactly what this meant. Rosie forfils Paul's sexual and intellectual needs. She assists in his journey from youth to adulthood. Although perhaps the most influential person for Paul is his piano teacher Eduard Keller. Keller keeps Paul in check and reminds him that he "should not be too full of self importance". (103) In Darwin fame and success can be achieved easily. However when Paul returns to Adelaide he realises that it is a much bigger scene and does not find the same success. Yet later Paul learns that "nothing worthwhile was ever achieved so easily". (91) Paul returns to Darwin many years later after Cyclone Tracey when he hears news of Keller's health. After Keller's death Paul "walks out into the new, unfamiliar Darwin" (146) all the while regretting the passing of "those beautiful years". (149)

Darwin for Paul was a place of freedom and possibilities a place he loved whereas Darwin for Eduard Keller was a place of refuge where he had fled to, to try and escape his past and keep it a mystery. Darwin is referred to as "the top end of the road. A town populated by men who had run as far as they could flee" (17) Keller was one of these men. He was a mystery, a fugitive. He lived alone a hotel called 'The Swan' in a "stifling and oppressive" (4) closed dark room with the louvers constantly shut possibly to try and keep out the world. Darwin lacked in culture and was a town where the truth was not hidden it did not have a false front, unlike Vienna which Keller referred to as a "city of show, of….veneer". (65) He seldom plays in Darwin as he is very critical of himself. He sees Paul as young and idealistic and often tells him "the self satisfied go no further" (43) perhaps seeing some of himself in Paul. He spends much of his days reading newspapers "the goitre of the world, we must study the goitre". Darwin was a sanctuary were Keller could keep his past and secrets concealed and live a life of solitude.

In addition Paul's parents impressions of Darwin were somewhat different to Paul's and Keller's. At first Mr and Mrs Crabbe both hated the sun drenched, hot house town of Darwin. Mrs Crabbe found the climate unbearable. Constantly "dabbing at her brow with a wet flannel she kept in the fridge for that purpose" (7) finding the wet season too hot". (123) Furthermore the contrast in houses upset her, she could not believe "she had left a bluestone villa in the South" (10) for a "bare shoebox of louvered walls and asbestos, perched on high thin stilts" (10) in Darwin. Mr Crabbe also found the climate somewhat intolerable "the dry too parched" (123) for his liking. At the beginning he referred to Darwin as "the arsehole of the Earth" (9) "a town of booze, blow and blasphemy". (9) Both Mr and Mrs Crabbe missed the cultural and intellectual life of Adelaide, which was not found easily in Darwin. Therefore they tried to recreate it in the house with Friday night concerts of Gilbert and Sullivan involving many of the towns folk. Mr Crabbe also began to succumb to the typical Darwin lifestyle "adopting the local costume" (21) through his new found style in clothing and conversation phrases. As time passed it seemed they could no longer fight it and began to truly see the underlying beauty and attraction of Darwin. They felt as though they had "come home". (68) Although at the end they moved back to the South "finally tiring of life in the tropics". (123)

Darwin is portrayed through the eyes of Peter Goldworthy's characters in the novel Maestro. Darwin is represented in several ways by each of the main characters Paul, Keller and Mr and Mrs Crabbe. Each depiction of Darwin varies and shows that Darwin has different effects on each character.

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