”The Drover’s Wife” by Henry Lawson
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In “The Drover’s Wife”, by Henry Lawson, the drover’s wife clearly possesses qualities that associate her with the myth of the bush. The drover’s wife illustrates her resourcefulness and her ability to work hard despite her isolation.
The central character is forced to use her resources – both physical and mental – to survive and feed her family. The drover’s wife has no real permanent help, although she has four kids and a dog they are all young and more trouble than help. She uses everything in her surroundings as much as she can and when they can not help she improvises. ‘The children cry “Crows, mother!” and she rushes out and aims a broomstick at the birds as though it were a gun, and says “Bang!” The crows leave in a hurry.
One of the most respected aspects of the bush myth is the ability to work hard. The drover’s wife’s life is full of hardship; she has no modern conveniences what so ever. She has to run the household on her own as her husband is often away for long periods. She has to do both the job of a man and a woman, for example; defending her farm during the fires and floods. She also has to defend herself and her children against wondering bushman and sundowners.
A reality of life in the bush is isolation from others. The drover’s wife is isolated due to geography, a lack of transportation and a missing husband. The drover’s wife has minimal visitors, her brother-in-law comes once a month with provisions and occasionally a stray blackfellow passes. Her four kids are not real company for she can’t have a real conversation with them but they are her life. Her only joy is on a Sunday when she cleans herself and her children and dresses them up in their best clothes. She puts the youngest in a pram and goes for a long walk even though she never sees anyone it is her way of taking a break from the farm and giving her life some meaning.
The drover’s wife is a clear example of the qualities associated with the bush myth; she battles it out against snakes, bushmen and sundowners, using every resource she can, surviving until her husband comes back from droving. She is a woman who never complains and makes the best of what she has; she is a good provider for her children and spends most of her time isolated from the outside world. Using her resourcefulness to combat any situation, she depends on her physical and mental strength to cope.