Paul's Appreciation of Maestro

Peter Goldsworthy’s Maestro is essentially a Bildungsroman, in that it follows Paul on his journey from child to adult, and from childishness to maturity. As with all stories of growth and development, Maestro’s focus is often upon Paul’s weaknesses, faults and mistakes – his arrogance, naivety, obstinacy, smugness, indecisiveness and rashness. These common maladies of youth blind Paul to Keller’s true value. As is befitting a novel of personal development, Paul’s moment of realisation does not come suddenly, the moment Keller dies. Rather, his appreciation for Keller grows gradually, as each of his life experiences widen his naive and self-centered eyes. Keller’s death is simply the completion of Paul’s journey of self-discovery and growth of character which allows him to recognise his mistakes and to finally value Keller for the tremendous influence he exerted upon his life. In the regretful and poignant final chapter of Maestro, Goldsworthy seems to suggest that life, unlike the piano, must be learnt through personal experience, rather than taught. It is only from the hindsight of maturity, after experiencing some of the same disappointments and awakenings of his mentor, that Paul is able to esteem Keller as “a Great Man”,...

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