Away by Michael Gow: Character Analysis

November 15, 2017 General Studies

Coral: The death of Coral’s son has caused an emotional breakdown as she cannot accept her son’s death. Moreover, Coral has lost her social identity and tends to struggle to find a connection with anyone, as she “can’t think of anything to say” (Act 2, Scene 2). Her husband, Roy, is annoyed by her bizarre attitude and this causes Coral to lower herself to the behavior of a naive child “I’ll be good! I’ll improve! ” When Coral does begin to speak, it is presented as very expressive and mournful. Her tone is filled with emotion as she is constantly “wiping away tears”. Coral finally begins to socialize, with a woman named Leonie.

She seems instigated by the fact that Leonie (the woman) appeared to be hiding something. Leonie (like Roy) attempts to conceal her distress with a social disguise. Whilst dismissing Leonie, Coral visualizes Rick as a duplicate of her son. Rick is similar in context with her son; however he is different in circumstance. By conserving a close-knitted friendship with Rick, she continues to retain the visual memory of her son. Gwen: Gwen is a unhappy woman on the brink of a nervous breakdown. She is a nagging housewife who seems to complain or suggest a certain opinion about the slightest of situations.

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Her character displays the type of relationship she has with her loved ones, family, and friends and so on. As she has no intimacy or emotional connection with her daughter Meg, Meg shows no respect or courtesy towards Gwen. “Meg: When you’re married to someone, do you ever wish they were dead? ” Jim: Please don’t be harsh towards your mother”. Meg despises Gwen because she is always nagging, seems materialistic, acts bossy and manipulative as well as being a snob in general. Gwen’s insecurity relates to her obsession with materialism, as she feels she has to always be in control of the situation.

As much as being emotional, Gwen is just as economic and fearful. “Roy: We stuck to our plans like the Bible. And we’re getting there… My plans were for me but your mother… hers are for all of us” (Act 2, Scene 2). Gwen’s journey on the caravan to the beach is her personal turning point. The storm is symbolised as a purifier of the soul, washing away her material possessions. The storm is also considered destructive as well as renewing life for mankind. The struggles against the storm were worth the price to pay, as the obstacles she had faced earlier, no longer exist. Tom: Tom is the most important character, yet he is not a flawless figure.

Tom is irritated and annoyed easily, impatient and ignorant. His anger is clearly displayed in scenes with Gwen who expresses illiterate and disrespectful comments towards Tom’s family. Tom develops to acquire his own appealing death, during the course of the play. He has been hesitant to speak about his death, as he ignores Meg’s attempt to begin a conversation on the matter: “Are you afraid? / You coming to the concert tonight? ”. Gow signifies Tom’s acceptance by giving him King Lear’s lines about crawling towards death. Tom is envisioned as Puck in his role, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Tom is a unique individual, compared to Puck, he has similar magical powers. Tom has the ability to transform people by reviving love, can enliven people to a new insight on reality. The utmost evident example of his power is his task in the recovery of Coral, as he was the only one to foresee Coral as Kim Novak. “I knew who she was the second I saw her” (Act 4, Scene 2). Tom’s warmful attitude and friendly manner towards Coral has led to her confiding in him. He has inspired confidence in Coral and his gentle but effective concern has displayed pathways in which Coral can come in terms with the death of her son.


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