In Alain de Botton’s collection of philosophical essays, The Art of Travel and Tim Winton’s short story ‘Neighbours’ the representation of people and landscapes leads us to a greater awareness of the complexity of human attitudes and behaviours. This is explored through the idea that changes in one’s receptivity to the landscape can determine their perspective of it and thus influence their behaviour and attitude towards those people in the landscape.
The desire for a new landscape is due to the non-receptivity to the old landscape, this is explored in de Botton’s first essay, ‘On Anticipation’ with his experience of Barbados. The representation presented to him by the travel brochure was a severe abbreviation of reality, and thus his expectations…show more content… When the newlyweds move in they are wary of their new landscape, the unfamiliar surroundings, cultural barriers and difference to their old landscape along with the people in the landscape cause them to be unreceptive to the landscape. The changing relationship between the people is demonstrated through the comparative description of the couple in their old and new neighbourhoods. Their prior residence was “in the expansive outer suburbs where good neighbours were seldom seen and never heard”. This is juxtaposed against the noisy Macedonian family that “shouted, ranted and screamed”. The accumulation implies the severity of the noise and juxtaposed against the silence of their old neighbours, Winton demonstrates his purpose that the landscape shapes us and irrational emotions of fear and worry interfere with our receptivity to the landscape. The negative connotations of “uncomfortable”, “nervous”, “disapproval”, “resented” and “disgust” used to describe their neighbours highlights their lack of receptivity to their new landscape. The strained relationships with the neighbours continued into autumn and although displeased, the couple “took careful note of what was said”. The gradual acceptance emphasises the time required to fully accept the new people and their landscape as well as the shift in perspective that is only possible with time. The lack of receptivity to the landscape impacts the couple’s relationship with the neighbours and hence this shows the complexity of human behaviour because it is based on emotions which are impacted by the receptivity to the