The Boy Behind the Curtain


Tim Winton

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Themes and Colors
Danger, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Creativity Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
Childhood and Home Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Boy Behind the Curtain, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Danger, Violence, and Death

Tim Winton’s life is studded with violent accidents and, especially as a child and teenager, he finds himself drawn to dangerous objects and circumstances. From the unloaded gun he aims at strangers passing by his house to his habit of testing his lung capacity in cramped underwater caves, he toys with the concept of his life and others’, not quite realizing what’s at stake. But when shocking events put at risk the things and…

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After injuring his back in a car accident as a teenager, Tim Winton’s plan to supplement his creative endeavors with practical work was no longer viable, and he had no choice but to support himself through his writing. While Winton turns to writing to analyze his fears, to strengthen and understand his sense of place, and to honor his childhood and the ones he loves, it’s also an act that’s fraught with questions of…

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In the autobiographical stories that make up The Boy Behind the Curtain, author Tim Winton establishes himself as an emphatic protector and lover of nature. His stewardship of Australian wildlife is lifelong and includes childhoods spent in the ocean and on the shore, campaigning to preserve Ningaloo Reef, an isolated reef near Australia’s western coast, and tracking the progress of Mt Gibson Sanctuary, a nature reserve that was once a sheep station in Western…

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Childhood and Home

Though Tim Winton’s parents weren’t wealthy, and though he experienced periods of distress throughout his childhood, he nevertheless sees those early years as a time of paradise furnished by the wide-open space of the ocean, the endless potential of the shoreline, and the seemingly infinite bounty of the sea. His love for the rugged openness of Western Australia becomes even clearer when he spends a few months on the grounds of Leap Castle…

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Isolation vs. Community

Throughout his life, Tim Winton has many experiences with different kinds of communities. From the church community of his childhood to his university peers and mentors to his fellow campaigners in the bid to protect Ningaloo Reef, Winton seems to feel affection and respect for the groups of people who surround him while also feeling uncomfortable in their midst. This discomfort and resistance to tribalism seems to come from his journey within the church as…

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