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Henry Lawson

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 422
  • Category: 19Th Humor

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My current Year 12 class has been collaborating on an essay response to a previous HSC question for Standard Module A: Experience through Language – Distinctively Visual. We have been working with the short stories of Henry Lawson. Here is the near finished response – some paragraphs still need work.

In what ways are people and their experiences brought to life through the distinctively visual?

Make detailed reference to your prescribed text and at least one other related text of your own choice.

Humans rely on their vision to understand the world around them. Possible thesis?

Characters and their situations are brought to life by different techniques by composers that express a unique vision. Henry Lawson created a strong image of the Australian bush and the associated hardships of the people who lived and worked there. Three important stories which reveal Lawson’s ideas are The Loaded Dog, In a Dry Season and The Drover’s Wife. The Sea, a poem by James Reeves metaphorically links the ocean’s different moods to the behaviour of a dog. A television show The Shearers, screened on the ABC to inform us about the hardship of a shearer’s lifestyle. These texts reveal distinctive elements of different experiences in life by their ability to use a range of language techniques.

Lawson was writing in the later stages of the 19th century, a period when Australians were developing pride in their own country. He draws on the tradition of oral storytelling to make the bush come alive through colloquial language and idiom. He relies on the themes of extreme poverty, subsistence and the struggle for survival to help us understand the reality of life in the bush. Despite these difficulties, Lawson uses a dry, sardonic humour to entertain and provoke empathy for his characters. Language techniques used to describe the various settings are blunt but precise with effective adjectives and nouns.

A funny bush yarn, The Loaded Dog opens with a detailed and realistic description of people and place in the goldfields. Specific first and last names, such as “Dave Regan, Jim Bently and Andy Page” helps us recognise everyday individuals. Lawson lists different fish, “bream, cod, catfish”, in his creation of a clear image of Stony Creek. He then uses ‘elaborate’ instructions to explain the process of mining and cartridge construction through verbs including ‘bound’ ‘pasted’ and ‘sewed’. The Loaded Dog is told in a linear narrative structure and this orientation of the story sets the scene for the following action.

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