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Copy of Distant Lands

English Presentation

Paul Quinn

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Distant Lands

Distant Lands What happens
in the story? This story is an Australian story about a girl many call Fat Maz.
She doesn’t have any friends and works at her parent’s newsagency.

Her father is an angry man who always walks around to prevent thieves and stop people reading for free. Her mother is a quiet woman who sits and watches cars pass all day.

Fat Maz watches a dark man come in and read a book called ‘Distant Lands’ for fifteen minutes every day. He loves the book he is reading. Fat Maz feels horrible about her weight, appearance, and basically her life, but to see another person so happy, and enjoying something so immensely gives her a joy which she hasn’t felt in a long time.
At the end of the story, when the dark man finishes the book, he slips Fat Maz a $50 bill, says 'Thank-you', and leaves.
Maz goes to inspect the book, and there she finds a single long black hair, which will remind Maz of this time forever. The author of Distant Lands is Timothy John Winton (commonly known as Tim Winton), an Australian who writes novels and short stories. Distant Lands was published in 1978 as one of the short stories in a collection of fourteen, all written by Tim Winton and assembled in a book called Minimum of Two. You can choose the path you life takes, and sometimes it takes a stranger to convince you to do it.
Also, relationships can have a large affect on your life and the way it turns out.

Fat Maz was stuck in a rut - she was unhappy with her body and bored with her life. Her life was headed in one direction and there didn't seem to be anything she could do about it.
She would turn out just like her parents - stuck in a small town, angry at the world and bored with life.

What is the writer
trying to say? The man knew she wanted to get away, to get away from this life she was stuck in.
He knew she was unhappy and her parents must have seen it too, but they were also unhappy. The man saw she wanted a way out of this life, a chance to get away and be someone different, and he gave her that chance.
The fifty dollars he gave her is more than the book cost, and he didn't even buy the book. He gave it to her.

He knew what she wanted, and he wanted to help her get it. "On the back cover, the blurb said: ‘You will want this book never to finish.”’

Fat Maz reads this quote off the blurb of Distant Lands, the book which the dark man has been reading.
This is true for both the dark man and for Fat Maz. The dark man never wants the book to finish because he is enjoying it so much, however, Fat Maz doesn't want the book to finish either.

Fat Maz is friendless and hates her life. However, watching the dark man peacefully reading Distant Lands makes her feel happy and content. She feels a connection wih him, even though they never speak.

She doesn't want the book to end because every day she looks forward to the lunch hour, when the tall dark man will walk in and continue reading.

She never wants this book to finish.
But, as most things do, the book eventually comes to an end. This also shows us how relationships affect our lives and the choices we make in our lives.

Her relationship with her parents was leading her into a boring, uneventful life, in the same small town, in the same boring job. But this man, this stranger with whom she never talked, he changed the direction of her life forever.

It was like she was waiting for someone, anyone, to tell her to do it, to go for it. And when someone did just that, she wouldn't turn it down. Quote A tall dark man came into the newsagency every day to read a book called Distant Lands. The man and Fat Maz had a connection, although they never talked.
They spent every lunch hour together, the man enjoying his reading and Fat Maz enjoying his company.

When he finally finished the book, he sighed and walked up to the counter. He smiled at Fat Maz and said 'Thank you'.

'And this is for the bus,' he said, putting a note on her palm. 'Goodbye'.

And from the way the story ends, we imagine that Fat Maz got on that bus. What are the social, cultural and historical influences that you see in this piece of writing? There are many social influences in this story.
Fat Maz is a social reject, with no friends and a depressing view on life. She has never really had a social life, spending the majority of her time at home or in the shop.
As a result, Fat Maz has let her appearance and weight run away with her, because she feels that there is nobody to impress.
Australian society is also represented by the “old National” newspaper and the Greyhound tour bus.

There are also many cultural influences. Australia is a very multicultural country, one of the most multicultural in the world. Many of us accept people as our own no matter what country they come from. In the story, this is shown by the presence of the dark Pakistani man and how he seems accepted in Fat Maz’s society. Many people, like Fat Maz, don’t object to colour. They are not racist.

Historical influences also include the National newspaper and the Greyhound tour bus. They have been around for years and can be associated with Australia. How does the writer do this? The writer uses a familiar background, a newsagency, that we can all relate to. He then adds a bland, unsupportive family, an unhappy girl and a mysterious man. The story is told through the eyes of the unhappy girl, who we know as Fat Maz.

The writer sets the scene, explaining Fat Maz's life – how she works in her parents newsagent and how she feels stuck here, bored with her life and unhappy with her appearance. Then comes along a mysterious, tall, dark man.

He reads a book, Distant Lands, in her parents newsagency every day at lunch time, when only 'Fat Maz' occupies the shop. Fat Maz and the tall, dark man never talk, but she feels as if they have a connection, spending most lunch hours together in silence. Fat Maz is unhappy and wants to get out - she doesn't want to turn out like her parents and she knows if nothing changes she will. Every day she watches the bus go past, heading north away from the small town to the city.

Fat Maz's parents don't try and help her. They must see her unhappiness but they don't think to do anything about it this man does. On the day he finishes the book, he gives her fifty dollars, telling her its for the bus. He gives her a chance to escape the rut in her life, the push she might have needed to finally do something about her unhappiness, to finally make the choice to leave. The writer uses two extremes - a very unsupportive family and a mysterious man whom she never speaks to.

This way, he clearly outlines the message - that we can choose the way we want to live our lives and that our relationships, even the most bizarre and unlikely ones, can change the course of our lives and the way we live them forever. Basically, this story is about a girl called Fat Maz -
friendless, overweight and bored with her life, she is looking for a way out.

Then a dall, dark man comes along and offers her one. Thank you. Quiz What was the girl's name? How many friends did she have? What did the blurb of the book say? Where does Fat Maz work? For how long would the tall dark man read "Distant Lands" for? What did the dark man give Maz after he finished the book? What does Fat Maz find when she goes to inspect the book? By Eden, Talia and Olivia
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