The Boy Behind the Curtain

by

Tim Winton

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Tim Winton’s Father Character Analysis

Winton’s father is a policeman who, when Winton is five years old, comes home after a near-fatal motorbike accident looking almost unrecognizable. Because Winton took his father’s strength and reliability for granted, he struggles to come to terms with his father’s accident, which disrupts his feelings of security. Winton’s father thus becomes a symbol of the fragility of life. Winton’s father is a confident man even outside of his comfort zone, which he demonstrates when he encourages an attendant to allow his family into the National Gallery despite the fact that they’re not wearing shoes. In conversation, he often recalls elements of the past that show Winton just how much Australia has changed since his own childhood.

Tim Winton’s Father Quotes in The Boy Behind the Curtain

The The Boy Behind the Curtain quotes below are all either spoken by Tim Winton’s Father or refer to Tim Winton’s Father. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
).
The Boy Behind the Curtain Quotes

Without words I was dangerously powerless. The gun served as a default dialect, a jerry-built lingo that may have been less sophisticated than a laundry list, but it came with ready-made scripts that had been swilling about in the back of my mind since infancy. These were storylines as familiar as the object itself. But the lexicon of the gun is narrow and inhuman. Despite its allure it was insufficient to my needs.

Related Characters: Tim Winton (speaker), Tim Winton’s Father
Related Symbols: Guns
Page Number: 8-9
Explanation and Analysis:
Havoc: A Life in Accidents Quotes

Sometime during that long convalescence I came upon the helmet Dad had been wearing when he was hit. Made of laminated cork, it was cumbersome, and it felt unstable in my hands. The crazed pattern of cracks dulling its whiteness gave it an unnerving broken-eggshell texture. For a long time—for years, I think—I continued to seek it out, to turn it over in my hands, to sniff the Brylcreem interior, and try to imagine the sudden moment, the awful impact, and the faceless stranger behind all this damage.

Related Characters: Tim Winton (speaker), Tim Winton’s Father
Related Symbols: The Hospital, Guns
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

The whole thing was a garish sideshow, absurd and sinister. In that ugly flashback I heard myself laughing like a deranged clown. I was a university student but I couldn’t even tell the ambos who the prime minister was. And in the ambulance I could not move a limb. Some bloke with hairy arms was holding me down. It wasn’t a rescue—it was a kidnapping.

Related Characters: Tim Winton (speaker), Tim Winton’s Father
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
The Demon Shark Quotes

In the wake of that cold, sweaty minute in the Astor it wasn’t as if I was consciously and constantly afraid of sharks but they were a liminal presence thereafter, something lurking in the water beyond the pleasure of the moment. It hardly ruined my life but it did divide the mind in a way that was new. For along with the creaturely joy of snorkelling in the open water behind the reef there was now a twitch of anxiety. The eye searched for something even when I wasn’t looking.

Related Characters: Tim Winton (speaker), Tim Winton’s Father
Related Symbols: The Ocean
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Sea Change Quotes

The good old days may be long gone, yet here we are, as ever, launching a boat from the beach in a quiet bay under cloudless skies, bobbing on clean water. In an hour we’ll have enough sweet-tasting fish to feed two households.

Related Characters: Tim Winton (speaker), Tim Winton’s Father
Related Symbols: The Ocean
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:
Barefoot in the Temple of Art Quotes

There were many things I didn’t understand, stuff that made me uneasy, stripes and splashes and globs on pedestals that had me scratching my head. There seemed to be no limit to what people could think of, and that was a giddy feeling. On and on the galleries went. And on and on I trekked, until finally I yielded in dismay, backtracked like a sunburnt Hansel and found my clan hunkered by the entrance, spent and waiting.

Related Characters: Tim Winton (speaker), Tim Winton’s Father, Tim Winton’s Mother
Page Number: 293
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Boy Behind the Curtain LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Boy Behind the Curtain PDF

Tim Winton’s Father Character Timeline in The Boy Behind the Curtain

The timeline below shows where the character Tim Winton’s Father appears in The Boy Behind the Curtain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Boy Behind the Curtain
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
...has been battered over the years and painted an unsightly shade of brown by his father, who swapped his fishing rod for it, it enchants Tim. (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
...at the back of his parents’ wardrobe, and its bolt is stored separately in his father’s bedside table, while the bullets are kept on the dressing table. Tim’s parents are aware... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...the sole reason that it allows him to “blow stuff up.” He hunts with his father into his twenties, but then he stops shooting completely. After living in the city, where... (full context)
Havoc: A Life in Accidents
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
At nine years old, Winton sits in the passenger seat as his father drives them home from the beach. They’ve been fishing, but it was Winton’s desire to... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Winton leans forward to see his father kneeling beside a motionless body before dragging the motorbike off the road. He returns to... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
...ambulance approaches, he yells and struggles more violently, saying that he needs to go. Tim’s father holds the rider down. When the ambulance arrives, the chaos deepens, and the rider’s father... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
The police arrive, and Winton and his father head home. His father downplays the incident to his mother, but Winton feels rattled and... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
...and sometimes attending fatal incidents. As a child, he learns to tread carefully around his father, vicariously bearing the emotional burden of witnessing fatal crashes and the exhaustion of dealing with... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Tim’s father is catastrophically injured in the crash; when the paramedics find him, he’s close to death.... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Winton habitually seeks out his father’s helmet—the one he was wearing during the accident. The inside of the helmet smells like... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Tim’s father’s accident and long recovery force Winton to grow up quickly and become useful in the... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Winton finds it extremely strange that a strange man is undressing, carrying, and bathing his father, and the idea of a stranger washing his father as though his father were an... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
After Tim’s father recovers, he returns to work; he initially works the Accident Desk and then draws up... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Creativity Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Winton realizes as an adult that the motorbike accident he witnessed with his father bothered him so strongly because it felt like an echo of the time his life... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Creativity Theme Icon
...seemingly safe life. And yet he knows that his life as a writer, like his father’s as a police officer, relies on danger and chaos—it’s accidents that fuel stories, just as... (full context)
Betsy
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Tim’s father’s father was the only one of his grandparents to drive a car. As a boy,... (full context)
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
...into a care facility, Tim’s parents adopt the car as their own. This means Tim’s dad now drops him off at school in Betsy. Winton’s attempts to distance himself from the... (full context)
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
...to make the six-hour trip back to the city. However, shortly into the trip, Tim’s father has to make an urgent toilet stop. After he gets back into the car, Winton... (full context)
Twice on Sundays
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
...a fine weather day, is grounds for mutiny, but the kids comply partly because Tim’s dad is a police officer. (full context)
Creativity Theme Icon
...balm after confronting moral dilemmas all service long. At the end of Sunday school, Tim’s father drives the kids back to their homes and returns in time for the 11:00 service,... (full context)
In the Shadow of the Hospital
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
As a five-year-old, Winton experiences the fear that hospitals represent when his father goes to one and comes out completely broken and unrecognizable. When he comes home, he... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
When Tim’s father is mostly recovered, he still has to walk with a stick, and whenever he has... (full context)
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
...grandchild. Winton accepts the miracle presented by a hospital, along with its dread. Later, his father shows him the lump in his chest from his new pacemaker. Winton knows that if... (full context)
Lighting Out
Nature Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
...changed to a loose limestone track, they knew that a rough ride was waiting. Tim’s father sealed up the doors and windows with masking tape against the dust, and they bounced... (full context)
Sea Change
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Early in the morning, Winton and his father take the dinghy out to go fishing. Tim’s father is over 80 now and can’t... (full context)
Nature Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Winton’s father asks him how many fish they’re allowed to catch. When Winton tells his father 30... (full context)
Barefoot in the Temple of Art
Creativity Theme Icon
...to see the art inside, they’re told that going barefoot is not allowed. Only his dad telling the attendant that they’re from Queensland gains them enough pity to be let through. (full context)