Maestro: - By Peter Goldsworthy - Study Guide

Background information on the writer - Peter Goldsworthy
This is his first book. Prior to writing this he had been writing
peotry. These days Peter Goldsworthy has been said to think of
this book as an immature attempt at writing.

Main themes: 1. Exploration of Human Relationships
                Between - Age and Youth
                        - Child and Parent
                        - Husband and Wife
                        - Adolescent Boys and Girls
                        - The members of the schoolyard sub-cultures
                        - People generally and their physical environment
                Relationships are linked and overlap each other

             2. - Love
                - Learning
                - Quest for perfection (Success/Failure)
                - Music
                - Culture

Background on book's settings:
- Darwin is remote and traditionally a non-cultural society
- Late 19th Century Vienna was the centre of European cultural
  life (also early 20th Century). Most talent at that time
  came from Vienna, and of those most were Jewish. With the
  arrival of Hitler, and the Holocaust, many of Vienna's
  talented people lost their jobs and were sent off to
  concentration camps
- Keller didn't flee Vienna as he thought if he became important
  enough (which he became very important and came to play for
  Hitler), his Jewish wife and son would be safe. This was not
  to be the case


(Eduard Keller)

He is: * Talented
       * Keeps himself remote/removed from others by not showing
         - certain feelings or acting kindly
       * Lacks the ability to compliment/praise and encourage others
       * An obscure, mysterious character (enigmatic)
       * An alcoholic
       * Cultured (contrast to Darwin)

- Keller's white clothing may indicate his real, but hidden
  goodness. This "whiteness" is like holiness. This is a total contrast
  though to his self-perception
- Keller constantly collects clippings of newspaper articles. It seems
  he liked to study the behaviour of others to help him understand him
- He believed that being a famous german citizen would save his jewish
  wife and child from the Nazi's. But this was not to be the case.
  How could this mistake occured?
- From this rigid, unhappy character Paul managed to find something
  there, which he came to love. What nature of love did Paul feel for


Paul Crabbe

He is: * Adaptable
       * Witty
       * And for an Australian Teenager, quick and clever with the
       * Talented (But not to the degree his parent's think he is)
       * At time he is arrogant
       * Cultured

- Paul doesn't accept Bennie Reid, at the same time Reggie Lim
  doesn't accept him till Paul shows how he can adapt to their
  style of music and contribute to it. From Paul adapting, him and
  the others gain something in common ground, but this is at paul's
  convenience. This contrast adds a different dimension to the
  story, and is evident till the end

- When the novel starts he is 15 years old, arrogant and self-centered
  at times. He comes from a well educated family. This is a contrast
  considering the place they are living in is Darwin. Darwin is considered
  as 'low-culture' place, while Paul's family is 'high culture'

- The people in the Band Paul joins are not the type of people he would
  naturally hang around

- He is very aware of others and their games, such as the ones his
  parent's play with him, but he is not very self-perceptive though
  It can also be seen in Paul's understanding of Keller, from getting
  an incomplete picture of Keller, from what he does.


Girl's in Paul's life:

Megan                                 Rosie                            
- A user     - Healthy              | - Plump        - Passionate Lover
- Conniving  - Fresh                | - Good person  - Intelligent
- Emotionally Shallow               | - Idolizes Paul
- Expects to be desired             | - Generous
- Good Looks - Popular              |

Personal Themes concerning Paul & Keller:
- Maturity, Understanding and self-discovery
- Quest for perfection (also a theme of the novel)
- Romance and Love (also a theme of the novel)
- Escapism (Especially Keller)
- Teaching and Learning
- The effects of betrayal and guilt
- Ambition
- Nostalgia and memories of the past
- Coping with grief and loss

Social Issues raised:
- The role of music in Society
- Culture
- Attitudes to violence and cruelty

Types of Language used:
* Poetic descriptions
* Adjectives

Character:    What they taught Paul:
Keller        Music
Paul          Band
Megan         Sex
Rosie         Love
Keller        Life - Moulded, guiding, shows reality and it's limitations
                     to Paul

Paul - Music                 Keller - Learns humility
     - Love                         - Less harsh
     - Life - reality               - Opens up more


Summary of Plot:
* Development of Paul to Adult
* Shows more involvement in friends and Darwin, School and life
* Paul <-> Keller - Change in Relationship
   |         |
   |       Becomes less secretive - shows emotional side
  Becomes more curious about Keller - pesters for information about
* Paul asks questions about Vienna from intrest in performing there
* Keller's response about Vienna - "... a city of show veneer" (pg.65)
                                 - "The experimental Labratory for
                                    the end of the World"
* Keller reads fascinating, horrorfying, grotesque, ugly in his
  scrapbook - deals with human suffering. With these books he
  hopes to learn from others mistakes. His inner reasons for
  this are probably to gain some sort of relief, or find some
  clues about his wife
* "If only at your age I had such text books" - reference to books
  given to Paul showing him the horror of war, something keller wish
  he saw at Paul's age
* Kellers behaviour at concert: - Keller openely betray's grief
                                - Loss of self-control
                                - Shows emotional side
* On going to one lesson, as Paul is walking up the stairs to Keller's
  room for his lesson, he hears Keller playing. Paul is moved by the
  beauty of the music. But this reminds Keller of his wife, as he
  plays it, which causes him grief
* "Dont trust the beautiful" - Keller
* Relationship with Rosie
* 'Sexual relationship' with Megan

* Paul joins the school band 'Ruff Stuff' to annoy Keller.
  In this Paul has control over band members more popular than him.
  In the band is: Jimmy Pappas (popular), Scott (megan's boyfriend)
* Enters his first piano competition - doesn't succeed (comes 3rd)
* "Paul is my best student, yes. One in a thousand, but a concert
  Pianst one in a million." - Keller thinks of Paul as a promising
  student, so Keller didn't want Paul to leave yet
* Stage of final meeting between Keller and Paul (in which Keller
  has planned earlier, and in preperation re-aranges his house/room).
* Paul is at the beginning of adult life
* In this final meeting, Keller is ready to open up, and say all
  his secrets. This is also the last time Rosie is to be in Darwin.
  Paul's aroused sexual preference overwealms him and he leaves Keller
  before Keller can open up - at the point Keller was FINALLY ready,
  he left to go to Rosie.

Last Section - 1974 - Vienna, 1975, 1977:
(Coda - Completed / End)

* No light relief (serious)
* End of book is an anticlimax (in some people's opinion)
* Nothing new discovered
* Paul will never ever be the genius he wanted to be. Reflects
  back on his life of a wasted ambition of perfection, a musical
  perfection he never achieved, only a technical one.

 Return to last menu 

Main Previous Next

Converted on 22 Jul 1996 with RexxDoesAmigaGuide2HTML by Michael Ranner.