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Garry Disher’s ‘The Divine Wind’

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In Garry Disher’s ‘The Divine Wind,’ it sends across a strong and important message that in a time of horrific war, everyone loses-including the so-called ‘winners’. This message is conveyed throughout the text as Hart’s mother loses her life in the surrounding circumstances of war. Hart also loses his life-long love, Mitsy, not by death but by the alienation of the Japanese.

Even though Hart is labelled as a ‘winner’ because he belonged to Australia, which was one of the allied forces. Hart still loses his mother in war so he does not see himself as a winner but more a loser. His mother, Ida Penrose, left for England just before the war in Europe began. Ida had no involvement in the war but being in the wrong place at the wrong time during such terrible international circumstances leads to her manner of dying. This is an example of why war it not the answer because innocent people and their loved ones are effected. The loss of his mother deeply affects Hart and his feelings of pain and grief led him to try and imagine her death and what she was thinking at the time.

“I imagined the bomber and the whistling bomb, the flame-rip and the obliterating noise, and I told myself that surely she was thinking about us as the walls toppled and the roof beams came crashing down.” Throughout this time of sorrow and anguish, mixed feelings race through Hart’s head including the hope of him being the last thing on his mother’s mind before her agonising death. At Hart’s age, it is a difficult thing to lose a mother, but it had a greater effect on him due to the situation of her death and the fact that he did not have a chance to develop a stronger relationship with his mother.

Throughout the early chapters of the text, Hart begins to lose hope of ever being with Mitsy, the one he truly loves. Since the first day he laid eyes on her, he started to fall in love with her and as the friendship or relationship progressed, the love grew more and more each day. Finally, Hart got what he was hoping for and Mitsy and him became lovers but it was also a relationship built on a secret. Mitsy had a Japanese background and when the Japanese planes began to near to Broome, tension began to arise between Mitsy and Hart. Hart and Mitsy’s relationship starts to alter and Mitsy begins seeing Jamie. The days pass by and their relationship deteriorates.

As the Japanese planes started to circulate the skies of Broome, residents of Broome with Japanese backgrounds start being interned including Mitsy and her mother because the Japanese are thought to be a threat. Even though Mitsy has never been to Japan nor has anything got to do with the war, she is still targeted and loses the chance to make something out of her relationship with Hart. “We’d started off as friends, were lovers for a while and then there was hate and indifference. Now friendship has replaced all of that, but a friendship that can’t offer or ask too much.”

After this war, Australians were announced as ‘winners’ but in the eyes of Hart and many more Australians, they had seen that they lost more than they gained. The so-called ‘winning’ of this war resulted in Hart losing his mother and a friendship with the love of his life, Mitsy, which he held dearly.

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