The play away by Michael Gow is a story of three Australian families going on holidays. It is set in the summer of 1967-68 during Christmas and the New Year. There are many sub-themes in away such as death/loss, change, moving on with life, and forgiveness.
The theme of death/ loss is displayed when we find out about Roy and Corals son who was killed in Vietnam. Coral constantly brings up the theme when she says, “I’ll be silent on all controversial topics. Will that do? I wont bring up anything worrying. Death, war, loss-.” This theme is carried over to Tom when we find out about his terminal illness when he has a conversation with Meg and says, “ So how bout it? Help me. I’m going to get sick again and I wont get better. Your parents won’t find out.” Even when Harry is talking to Jim death reveals itself throughout the duration of the conversation. The actual title has a hidden message of death. Away: passing away.
The theme of moving on with life is best shown in the final scene where tom is back at school and is living and waiting to die but is getting on with life when miss Latrobe says to Tom “ Tom, your our own Chips Raferty why don’t you go on reading?” It also relates to Roy and Coral near the end of the play coral is still grieving and their relationship is on the rocks and the Coral decides to move on and get on with her life when she participates in the play with Tom and she says, “ I’m walking, I’m walking, I’m walking, I’m walking, I’m walking”. This scene between tom and coral also shows change or transition.
In away there is a sense of forgiveness at the end of the play where Gwen gets back from her walk with Vic and has a conversation with Jim where she apologizes. Jim doesn’t mind what she does but is concerned with her health. There is also a feeling of forgiveness when Gwen’s family is back together and no fighting is happening and everything is peaceful.
These themes evoke different emotions throughout the play like when we first find out about Roy and Corals son who was killed in Vietnam. The reader/viewer feels sorry for there loss and even sad because he died at a young age. Again when we find out about Tom and his illness we feel sad because he is only 17/18 years old and he doesn’t have long to live and enjoy all of life’s pleasures. Evan the theme of forgiveness stir’s up the emotions of relief. When Gwen’s family stops arguing and is kind to each other the reader/viewer feels freedom from the anxiety and knows that every thing will be aright with the family.
Away by Michael Gow is a play that not only relates to Australian families by families all over the world, because of the use of problems that occur in all most every household in the world.