Lawson-Drover`s Wife-Michelle Merritt

Henry Lawson: The
Drover’s Wife
Distinctively Visual
Distinctively Visual
As part of this study you will be asked
to explore the ways the images we see
and/or visualise in texts are created.
You will consider how literary form
and structure and the language used in
different texts create these images, affect
interpretation and shape meaning.
Distinctively Visual
Russel Drysdale- Australia (1912)
Distinctively Visual
Russel Drysdale- Australia (1912)
1- What is the atmosphere of the painting? (use
adjectives and descriptive language)
2- Describe the setting using language that is
Distinctively Visual. (use the notes from the unit
'Deconstructing Visual Text' on our Google site to
help you)
3- What does this painting say about what it
may be like to live in the Australian bush?
Henry Lawson
 Who is he?
 What are his views?
 What does he value?
 Look at the Historical
Context of the text to
gain insight into
Lawson and his work.
Henry Lawson and the
Australian bush
By the 1890s Australia had been settled for a little more than 100
years and Lawson was arguably the first Australian-born writer who
really looked at Australia with Australian eyes, not influenced by his
knowledge of other landscapes. He was the first perhaps to give
voice to interpretations of an 'Australian' character.
He was also from the bush, had lived on a selection, had been
brought up in bush poverty, had suffered hardship and
unemployment, and knew of the characters and lifestyles he
talked about. His work reflected Australian experience with an
integrity readers recognised.
Information from:
The Drover’s Wife
In “The Drover’s Wife,” Lawson
acknowledges the hardships of Australian
women living in the bush. This story was
unique in its time, as a female protagonist
was uncommon. Stories from this period
focused on the men living in the outback;
the drovers and their struggle, they
dismissed the life of the woman waiting
at home suffering in silence during their
husbands' long periods of absence.
The Drover’s Wife
In The Drover’s Wife, Lawson sheds light on
the life of such women, allowing the reader
insight into their often heroic actions as he
creates authentic depictions of their
existence in the bush, and their fight to
make it a home. In this story, we learn
about one such woman, struggling against
all odds to protect her family against the
elements and being shaped by the
landscape that she inhabits.
The Drover’s Wife: Form
Short Story
•With a simple plot, emphasis on the
character and her experiences.
•Short sentences
•omniscient - third person, mostly
written in present tense.
The Drover’s Wife: Setting
• The Australian Bush
Descriptive Language:
• unrelenting, monotonous,
isolated, harsh, bleak, uninviting
Australian Bush
Bush Landscape
• "bush all round"
•“The bush consists of stunted,
rotten native apple-trees”
•"everlasting, maddening sameness"
•“no horizon”, “no ranges in the
distance” and “no undergrowth”
Setting: The House
The House
• quaint, minimalist, having just the bare
necessities of life. “The kitchen has no
floor - or, rather, an earthen one called a "ground floor"
• ”The two-roomed house is built of round
timber, slabs, and stringy-bark, and
floored with split slabs. A big bark
kitchen standing at one end is larger
than the house itself, veranda
The Drover’s Wife
The Drover's Wife:
• Protagonist, unnamed
Descriptive Language:
• Stoic, protective, heroic,
hardened, strong, independent.
The Drover’s Wife
• "gaunt sun-browned bushwoman"
•"she is not a coward"
•"she is used to being left alone"
•As a girl she built the usual castles
in the air; but all her girlish hopes
and aspirations have long been
The Drover’s Wife
Daily Life:
• "all days are much the same to her"
• "used to the loneliness of it all"
• "she seems contented with her lot"
• "she loves her children, but has no
time to show it. She seems harsh to
• "Sunday afternoon she dresses herself,
tidies the children, smartens up baby,
and goes for a lonely walk along the
• "big, black, yellow-eyed dog-of-all-breeds"
• ""he is afraid of nothing on the face of the earth or under
The Children
• "four ragged, dried-up-looking children"
• “They are two boys and two girls - mere babies”
• “a sharp-faced urchin of eleven”
The Drover
• "he is careless, but a good enough husband"
Vernacular Colloquialisms
•"Tommy's skinnin' me alive wif his
club.", "d'yer"
•Sometimes vulgar, "Shet up you little
---!” “I'd like to screw their blanky
Literary Techniques
•The surrounding landscape as
described by Lawson provides the
reader with a visual image of the
Australian Bush; this image also
extends to reflect the appearance
of the persona and her children – a
product of the environment and
their experiences.
Literary Techniques
• In her husbands absence "she fought a
bushfire", "a flood", "the pleurapneumonia", and "a mad bullock". She
has also needed to protect herself and
the family from the odd "villainouslooking sundowner", "gallows-faced
swagman" and black bellied snake.
She also finds time to shoo the "crows
and eagles" from her chickens.
Literary Techniques
• She has had to make many sacrifices,
including her femininity in order to live in
the bush
• "her surroundings are not favourable to the
development of the 'womanly'
or sentimental side of nature.”
• “She put on an old pair of her husband's
• The Young Ladies Journal shows her interest
in a different life; she has made sacrifices
for her family.
Literary Techniques
Metaphor: The Dam
• The dam breaking; “her heart
[is] nearly broken too, for she
[thinks] how her husband would
feel when he [comes] home
and [sees] the result of years of
labour swept away. She cries
Literary Techniques
Pathetic Fallacy
• The weather and the
surrounding landscape
reflect the mood and the
appearance of the
Literary Techniques
Biblical Allusion
•References to the bible may
be seen in the use of the
snake/serpent as symbol of
evil. Also in the walks taken
on a Sunday, as the day of
Literary Techniques
• ‘’Bung! The crows leave..’’
“crash” “Thud, thud”
• "Snake! Mother, here's a snake!"
The Drover’s Wife
• “One of the children died while she
was here alone. She rode nineteen
miles for assistance, carrying the
dead child”
• "Mother, I won't never go drovin' blarst
me if I do!” … And she hugs him to her
worn-out breast and kisses him”
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