The narrative “The Drover’s Wife”
- Pages: 3
- Word count: 515
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In the narrative “The Drover’s Wife”, Henry Lawson recognizes the struggles of Australian women living in the bush. At the time that Lawson wrote this story, it was uncommon for the protagonist of the story to be a female. In the time that Lawson wrote The Drover’s wife, people expect to see the drover as the protagonist completely forgetting about The Drover’s wife who is always alone at home suffering in the “dry” bush while her husband is away sometimes for weeks. Henry Lawson himself was brought up in the bush and accordingly has a very good understanding of what the Australian bush holds for him.
His animosity towards the Australian bush can be seen in many instances throughout the story. “No horizon, no ranges in the distance and no undergrowth”. The planeness of the bush is expressed in a monotonic tone with the emphasis of it with the repetition of “no” at the beginning of each truncated sentence. Lawson sarcastically contrasts the planes with “Bush all round” conveying his prejudice towards the Australian bush. Lawson conveys the central idea that the “Drover’s wife” is always disregarded by illustrating the unrelenting and harsh landscape and the struggles the that the wife has to deal with.
Lawson uses pathetic fallacy to describe the mood of the Drover’s wife. The uninviting landscape and weather reflect the mood and appearance of the persona. Lawson lingers on about the difficulty of the Drover’s wife by describing the house. ‘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 included. ” This exhibits the poverty of the wife and children. They have a very minimalistic way of living with just the bare necessities of life.
“The kitchen has no floor – or, rather, an earthen one – called a “ground floor””. Lawson explains that the wife is not all that weak and in fact is a stoic, protective and independent woman that can handle any adversity. “As a girl she built the usual castles in the air, but all her girlish hopes and aspirations have long been dead. ” The diction that Lawson has used to explain the aberrant wife makes the reader sympathise with the wife. Lawson makes references to the bible at a few instances in the story. The snake has been used as a biblical allusion to the serpent which is a symbol of evil.
The normality of the aberrant Drover’s wife is brought about when on “Sunday afternoon, she dresses herself, tides the children, smartens the baby, and goes for a lonely walk along the bush-track”. This is another biblical illusion as walks taken on a Sunday is like a rest day. These “lonely walks” encapsulate the many sacrifices she makes 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. ” Lawson makes it clear that the Drover’s wife is a strong woman in very fierce conditions in the Australian bush.