One of the techniques which made this novel so detailed and successful is the interacting between Scully and other characters. This talk will be concentrated on the minor characters Peter Keneally and Jimmy Bererton.
Peter Keneally, more known as Pete-the Post is the local postman around the area which Scully is living in Ireland. Scully meets Peter on the 3rd day of his arrival when Peter was delivering a telegram from Jennifer to Scully. Peter Keneally is a character whom has commitment to family and has a good working moral which even Scully thinks of, on page 28 “the man could work?”
Peter has no children but has a brother whom has been constantly drunk in past few years. Peter is the first person which Scully encounters when he arrived in Ireland and from then on Peter has become a good friend of Scully, bringing him his telegrams, having a social chat and helping Scully with his home. (34).
Since the first greeting between Peter and Scully, Peter has such great enthusiasm to help Scully recondition his home on page 24. This even meant putting off his daily post. “Haven’t you got the post to do? Diversity, Mr. Scully that’s my motto.”
Peter Keneally is one of the characters which help reveal Scully, his family and general detail of his wife to the readers. For example on page 16, we see the nationality of Scully revealed. “You’re the Australian then.” and on page 29, the name of Scully’s wife, Jennifer, is mentioned to the readers “What was her name again? Your wife?”
Scully is very fond of Peter as on page 35 and on page 47 Scully describes him as “he liked him better than any man he could remember.” and “that he was a good bloke” Peter always gave Scully a good influence, on page 34, “Pete gave him company most afternoons, made him laugh and sped up the work enormously.
Readers see Peter Keneally as a hardworking, caring person who doesn’t like letting people down and is friendly; he also reveals Scully life to readers by asking him questions.
Jimmy Brereton is a minor character who fills in gaps for readers regarding Irish characters. He himself if a typical Irish man who drinks and is superstitious. Jimmy lives in a mansion and neighbors with Scully. The first mention of Jimmy is in a conversation between Scully and Peter Keneally on page 16, “Jimmy Brereton down there by the castle says you saw this place and brought it in less time that it takes to piss.
There is no direct interactions between jimmy and Scully, but jimmy seems to hate Scully and thinks that he is confused and foolish, acknowledging him as a “wooly young bastard” on page 26.
Jimmy is seen to be very superstitious as he dares not go around the castle after dark. Evidence is on page 26 “No Brereton, man or child, would be there after dark.” It also seems that the castle, quote from page 27, “has made him an early retirer, a six-pint man at sunset.” Jimmy foreshadows the marriage for Scully but he appears to be a chauvinist with his comments like on page 26 “he could see Scully with love in his eyes and was going to be doomed by it” and also, “snared by a woman”.
Although these characters are minor ones, they still play an important role to help readers understand what is going on with the protagonist’s background, personality and thought and feelings.
Australian writer Winton (Cloudstreet, 1992, etc.), back for a 14th book, notes with humor and intelligent affection the havoc domestic cruelties wreak on the loving heart. In language deceptively simple and true--his dialogue hardly ever strikes a false note--Winton tells the story of Australian Fred Scully, a man with ``his big heart there in his shirt,'' who comes close to madness as he searches for his missing wife, Jennifer. Scully has a face that though ``severely used was warm and handsome in its way...was the face of an optimist, of a man eager to please and happy to give ground.'' Believing in life's endless possibilities, Scully has in 30 years tried many things- -truck driving, fishing, college--and now, in present time, is rebuilding a neglected cottage in Ireland. The cottage--bought on impulse after spending two years in Europe while Jennifer, a dissatisfied and self-absorbed civil servant, tried to find herself--is to be their new home. And while Scully fixes it up, Jennifer and daughter Billie return to Australia to sell their house. Scully, who is soon befriended by the local mailman, works hard to get the house finished in time for his wife and daughter's return, but when he goes to the airport to meet them, only Billie is there. Exhausted and in a state of shock, she refuses to talk, and the next day a desperately hurt, confused Scully sets off with his daughter to find Jennifer--a wrenchingly bitter journey of body and soul that takes the pair to Greece, Italy, Paris, and finally to Amsterdam. There, with the help of the remarkably loving and resilient Billie, Scully regains his senses, realizing at last that he can no longer waste his life ``waiting for something promised.'' Emotions, character, and intellect so perfectly calibrated that a modest story of love betrayed becomes, in Winton's hands, a minor masterpiece.