Sydney was under dire pressure to keep up with the rest of the states. What happens in the context of an extremely populous environment is that there is more competition. People have to compete to maintain their daily living. People need resources for living, such as land and water etc., and when living in an extremely populated environment, the people are pushed into a competitive landscape for their very living. As the prologue of the novel read, “Kings Cross is a world of milk bars and jukeboxes, plane trees, coffee shops and cults; a place where delicatessens with names like Muller and Schultz give twenty-four-hour service and stuff their small windows with sausages, olives and gherkins” (Harrower 106). King Cross is where the protagonist lives with her husband. The place is reflective of the general competitive environment, where business thrives to cater to a burgeoning population that is presented here. The very location stands testimony to the type of people who could have lived there.
Stan is shown in the book as a very shady character. He has grand schemes on living, but none are observed to come to fruition. The shady deals that Stan seems to be involved in, with apparent lack of morals when controlling his wife highlights the power imbalance between gender. It also presents a character born in a competitive landscape who is somewhat of a cut throat and would possibly not care about how he survived. As the lines in the book indicated, the place was like a haven for a foreigner and for a racketeer and the place was bright and wicked. The meaning was that the place offered opportunities.