Tim Winton’s The Shepherd’s Hut: A Post-Pastoral Vision of Nature

Ryan Delaney


Critical literature concerning Tim Winton’s male protagonists is divided. Whilst various critics ultimately celebrate Winton’s men and their sacred communion with nature (McCredden, Ashcroft, Birns), others critique such characters as embodiments of brute androcentrism (Schürholz, Knox). But there is room to read Winton’s representations of masculinity more fluidly, particularly if we account for the strong environmentalist thread in his fiction. In his most recent novel The Shepherd’s Hut (2018), damaged and bung-eyed teenager Jaxie Claxton traverses the Western Australian interior and grapples with the traumatic influence of his abusive father. Jaxie’s engagement with nature is complex and often contradictory – he constantly oscillates between aggressive hostility and a more enlightened biocentric humility. Whilst aware of the novel’s overt engagement with patriarchal violence and toxic masculinity, this paper seeks to explore these complex environmental nuances – most significantly, Jaxie’s revision of pastoral anthropocentrism.   



Winton; The Shepherd's Hut; Ecocriticism

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