Tim Winton, full name Timothy John Winton, (b. 1960) is an Australian author of both adult and children’s novels that deal with both the experience of life in and the landscape of his native country. He competed with 35 other novelists for The Australian Literary Award presented for the best-unpublished novel manuscript and won the prize in 1982 for his manuscript An Open Swimmer. His novels include That Eye, the Sky (1986), Dirt Music (2001), and Breath (2008). He also wrote several children’s books, including Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo (1990), The Bugalugs Bum Thief (1991), and The Deep (1998). This story ‘Neighbours’ has been taken from Migrants of Australia edited by Harwood Lawler.
Neighbours is a story about a newly married couple living in a multicultural and multilingual suburb neighbourhood. It shows that cultural and linguistic barriers cannot stop people from bestowing love and compassion.
Tim Winton’s short story “Neighbours” is about a young couple who have just relocated to a new neighbourhood with several European immigrants. Both the young couple and their neighbours have prejudices at first because they only see the strange and sometimes disgusting customs of their new neighbourhood, but after a while, they quickly adapt to their new surroundings, and the young couple begins to like their neighbours and notice that they aren’t all bad.
They discover that they can be friends and that they can assist one another in their daily lives, resulting in everyone being content with their neighbourhood and their lives.
The author does not name the characters he mentions in the story. Hence, the characters are not defined, and as a result, they might be viewed as role models for everyone. Before moving, the young couple resided in the vast outer suburbs.
First, they act as though they are strangers and refuse to speak to anyone. The so-called “young man” stays at home and prepares his thesis on the evolution of the book in the twentieth century. The “young woman” is employed by a hospital.
After that, the entire neighbourhood begins to engage with them and offers their assistance. As a result, the young couple is proud of their neighbours. Even though the couple had not planned for a pregnancy, the young woman becomes pregnant in the spring, and their neighbours become aware of it after a short time. Everyone is willing to assist and is courteous.
All of their neighbours are ecstatic and wish them well after the birth of their child. For the young man, the birth is a marvel, and he learns at the end that the twentieth-century book had not prepared him for this.
Hence, The story “Neighbours” by Tim Winston demonstrates how immigrants may contribute to Australia’s social fabric. Their strong sense of community aids the couple in seeing that intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination all comes from a lack of knowledge.