Saturday, June 18, 2022

Summary of Neighbours (Story) by Tim Winton | Class XII English Note (Exercise)

Unit: 1

Summary of Neighbours (Story) by Tim Winton | Class XII English Note (Exercise)

Neighbours by Tim Winton


The story ‘Neighbours’ by Tim Winton is about a newly married couple living in a multicultural and multilingual suburb neighborhood. It shows that cultural and linguistic barriers cannot stop people from bestowing love and compassion.

A young couple moves to a new neighbourhood full of European migrants. They have lived in the expansive outer suburbs before coming to this place. Next door on the left there lives a screaming, shouting Macedonian family. On the right, there lives a Polish widower, who spends most of his day hammering nails into wood only to pull them out again. The young man is working on a thesis of the development of the twentieth century novel while his wife works in a hospital. He and his wife don’t talk to anyone at first.

In autumn, the couple starts kitchen gardening. Their activities are the reason to draw attention of the neighbours. They offer advice about spacing, hilling and mulching. The young man doesn’t like the interference, but he takes careful note of what is said. Not long after, the couple builds a hen house. When the hen house collapses, the Polish widower rebuilds it for them. With each passing day the young couple’s preference for their neighbours is growing.

In spring, the young woman becomes pregnant though they haven’t planned on it. The young woman arranges for maternity leave. The couple realizes that the whole neighbourhood knows of the pregnancy. People smile tirelessly at them. In the neighbourhood, everybody offers their help and tips to the couple. They are very polite. After the birth of their child, the people in the neighbourhood are excited and wish their best. For the young man, the birth of the child is a wonder. In the end, he realizes that the twentieth century novel has not prepared him for this.

Understanding the text

Answer the following questions.

a. Describe how the young couple’s house looked like.

The young couples' house was small, but its ceilings were high. The paned windows gave it the feel of an elegant cottage. From his study window, the young man could see out over the rooftops and used car yards in the park where they walked their dog.

b. How did the young couple identify their neighbours in the beginning of their arrival?

In the beginning of their arrival, the couple was uncomfortable. They were disturbed by the sounds of spitting and washing and daybreak watering. The Macedonian family shouted, ranted, screamed. It took six months for them to understand the fact that their neighbours were not murdering each other, merely talking.

c. How did the neighbours help the young couple in the kitchen garden?

When the couple worked in the kitchen garden, the neighbours came to the fence and offer advice about spacing, hilling and mulching. The young man didn’t like their interference, but he took careful note of what was said. The neighbours gave the young woman a bagful of garlic cloves to plant.

d. Why were the people in the neighborhood surprised at the role of the young man and his wife in their family?

The young man stayed at home to work on his thesis of the development of the twentieth century novel while his wife worked in a hospital. The people of neighbourhood were surprised at the role of the couple when the male stayed at home and female went for work.

e. How did the neighbours respond to the woman’s pregnancy?

People smiled tirelessly at the young people. The man in the deli gave her small presents of chocolates and him packets of cigarettes that he stored at home. In summer, Italian women began to offer names. Greek women stopped the young woman in the street, pulled her skirt up and felt her belly, telling her it was certainly to be a boy. By late summer the woman next door had knitted the baby a suit the polish Man came with barrow full at wood scarps for fire.

f. Why did the young man begin to weep at the end of the story?

The young woman gave birth to a baby boy. The young man heard shouting outside. He went to the back door. On the Macedonian side of the fence, he saw his neighbours cheering and celebrating the birth. This made him weep.

g. Why do you think the author did not characterize the persons in the story with proper names?

In the story, the author didn’t characterize the persons with proper names because he wanted to show that their ethnicity was more important than their individuality.

Reference to the context

a. The story shows that linguistic and cultural barriers do not create any obstacle in human relationship. Cite some examples from the story where the neighbours have transcended such barriers.

The story shows that linguistic and cultural barriers do not create any obstacle in human relationship. The neighbours’ sense of community helps the young couple acknowledge that prejudice and discrimination are based on their own ignorance. When the couple started the kitchen gardening, the neighbours appeared with their advice about spacing, hilling and mulching. The Polish widower was ready to help the couple in rebuilding their hen house. They didn’t understand his language at all. When the woman was pregnant the entire community smiled at her and offered their help and tips. When the baby was born, the young man found the Macedonian family cheered and celebrated the birth.

b. The last sentence of the story reads “The twentieth-century novel had not prepared him for this.”

In your view, what differences did the young man find between twentieth-century novels and human relations? The young woman arranged for maternity leave. The young man continued his thesis on the twentieth century novel. The young couple found that the whole neighbourhood knew of the pregnancy. People smiled tirelessly at them. They also offered help, tips and presents to the couple. The young man stopped his work and started taking care of his pregnant woman. After the baby was born, he found that the Macedonian family was cheering at him. He cried as he was overwhelmed by the feelings. Then, he acknowledged that the imaginary world in the novel had nothing to do with the real life. For him, human relations are much more valuable than the twentieth century novels.

c. A Nepali proverb says “Neighbors are companions for wedding procession as well as for funeral procession.” Does this proverb apply in the story? Justify.

The proverb completely applies in the story. The good neighbours always come with a wide range of benefits, including safety and community events. Whenever one needs to borrow an egg or need a shoulder to cry, a good neighbor is always there. In both challenging and joyous times, our relations with neighbours remind us that we are surrounded by their love and support. In the story, the young couple seems to share their joys and sorrows with their neighbours in the multicultural community. At beginning their life doesn’t go well as they encounter the European migrants with their strange behaviors. After they are assimilated in the community with the people of different culture and language, they happen to realize that their neighbours are good people.

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