Tim Winton’s novel “The Riders” is a very detailed novel about being a father and being a husband. The protagonist, Mr. Fred Scully, more commonly known as Scully encounter and overcomes his main disappointment of losing his beloved wife, Jennifer. Jennifer runs away from this family leaving Scully and his daughter, Billy, behind together.
One of the techniques which made this novel so detailed and successful is the interaction 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 who has a 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 who has been constantly drunk in the 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 who help reveal Scully, his family, and the 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 is 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 than 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 thoughts and feelings.