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Henry Lawson, Distinctively Visual

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What distinctively visual elements have been used In these texts to convey the ideas?

Distinctively visual is a representation of something that is unique and eye catching. Henry Lawson’s short stories ‘The Drovers Wife’ where a bush woman and her four children face the dangers of a snake and the tough, lonely bush life and ‘Joe Wilsons Courtship’ where a young boy tries to fulfill his emptiness with young love, display ideas such as the unpredictable and lonely way of life that the bush brings. ‘Automat’ by Edward Hopper shows visual techniques in a similar way to ‘Joe Wilson’s Courtship’ in order to convey the expectations that society has on social status, resulting in an experience of isolation in the bush.

The bush is displayed negatively through visual techniques in ‘The Drover’s Wife’ due to the unpredictibiliality and loneliness that an individual experiences. Throughout this text, Lawson expresses the bush as being a negative place to live. “No undergrowth. Nothing to relieve the eye… Nineteen miles to the nearest sign of civilization” The use of assonance throughout the text, creates a sound of isolation in the bush and brings the responder to consider how although people choose to live there, it isn’t always seen as a positive way of life. The bush life can be extremely dangerous for one person let alone a whole family. A bush woman in ‘The Drover’s Wife’ faces a snake entering her home and having to quickly evacuate her children. “Snake! Mother, here’s a snake!” Effective dialogue is used to show how living in the bush causes the mother having to constantly worry whether the snake will strike at her or her children. Living in the bush is described as dangerous and lonely, displaying a negative atmosphere.

The bush can be lonely although particular people in an individual’s life can leave them feeling content. In ‘Joe Wilson’s Courtship’, a young boy named Joe Wilson does not understand that the reason he wants to be with Mary so badly is because is longing for a girl that will make him feel content. Although Mary doesn’t understand how he feels. “It must be very dull for you, Mr. Wilson – you must feel very lonely” Direct dialogue is used in order to effectively outline Mary’s understanding of Joe’s feelings. Joe asks for Mary’s hand in marriage so that he will no longer be taunted by the feeling of loneliness. “Mary. I said. Would you marry a chap like me?” a rhetorical question shows how Joe is taking the next step to marrying the girl he loves in order to feel a sense of fulfillment in his life. Through meeting new people and having good relationships, an individual is able to cure their loneliness and have a sense of fulfillment.

Social status can depict the decisions an individual makes in order to keep their dignity or to fit into society through the use of language techniques. In ‘Joe Wilson’s Courtship’, Joe gets himself in the situation of having to fight Romany because he stood up for Mary and he sees this fight as the decider of whether he will be with her or not in order to keep his dignity. “If I won the fight, I’d set to work and win Mary; if I lost, I’d leave the district forever. I wouldn’t be able to marry a girl who could look back and remember when her husband was beaten by another man.” Through the contrast of Joe’s two polar opposite conclusions he had made for the result of winning or losing the fight, the responder is able to see how Joe refuses to be with Mary or even work at the same place that he is currently at due to the status that he would have if he lost.

Social status is similarly shown within the painting ‘Automat’ as the woman’s clothing reinforces her social status and alienates her through the contrast of bright colours that she is wearing and the background, which is very dark and dull. This shows the responder how although the ‘roaring twenties’ was a time of extravagance, there were still many people who produced feelings of personal isolation and detachment but in order to hide these feelings, they would hide under their clothes to fit into societies expectations. The choices that an individual makes differ according to their self-dignity and their social status in order to fit into society.

In Lawson’s short stories, ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘Joe Wilson’s Courtship’, distinctively visual techniques are effectively used in order to convey messages to the responder such as the isolation the bush brings for an individual living the bush life. As well as the dangerous unforeseen circumstances that they encounter. Social status is another theme shown throughout not only ‘Joe Wilson’s Courtship’ but also the painting ‘Automat’ through the expectations that society has.

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