Into the World
This is evident in ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘In a Dry Season’. ‘The Drover’s Wife’ proceeds with a light but strong vivid description of the setting and the characters. Lawson introduces the reader to visualise the sparse and repetitive landscape by referring the setting to a ‘everlasting, maddening sameness’. The viewer vividly visualises the setting with the help of vivid descriptive words placed deliberately by Lawson to emphasise the story. Lawson emphasises the ’near waterless creek’ with ‘nothing to relieve the eye’.
The reader can visualise the uncongenial landscape and the hardships in which must take place in order to live there, this allows the story to open up and introduce the characters in which are as harsh as the environment they live in. Lawson not only allows the reader to visualise the surroundings but focuses on the characters. The drover’s wife is the main character in which Lawson concentrates most of the story on. The reader visualises the drover’s wife as a ‘harsh’ woman, however Lawson deliberately doesn’t give the drover’s wife a name in which generalises all the women living in the bush.
Qualities are realistically set against actions of vulnerability and emotional weakness, humanising her as someone who, though resourceful and determined, has also felt lonely, frightened and defeated at various stages in her life. Her personal story becomes a metaphorical depiction of the inherent strength and courage of such rural folk they realise there is no ‘use fretting’. The drover’s wife is a fearsome, matriarchal body who now challenges the ‘black brute’ of the story. The ‘black brute’ is referred to the snake in the story, this use of a description allows the reader to visualise the snake.
The snake’s presence becomes a huge problem to the drover’s wife as she is ‘nineteen miles from civilisation’ and has to protect her kids from being ‘bit’. The use of the word, ‘bit’, shows how Lawson can write to suit the nature of the story. In the story, the reader finds out that the drover’s wife is alone with her kids, as her husband is out droving, making her the sole provider and protector of the kids at home. The drover’s wife does not talk much however the words she does speak are highly authoritative, this gives the reader a picture of a strong minded lady.
Her children view her as ‘harsh’ but the reader realise the circumstances surrounding her forcing the character to be harsh as ‘her surroundings are not favourable to the development of the ‘womanly’ or sentimental side of nature’. By being able to visualise the scene so clearly, we can better understand the motivations and reasons behind what takes place. Alligator is the family’s dog. He’s appearance is easily visualised as is his family status. From the start of the story, the imagery of alligator cheers up the scene when his nose is skinned by Tommy’s thumping club.
The blunt study that he ‘takes small notice of this and proceeds to undermine the building’’ makes the reader smile. This allows the reader to enjoy what little humour there is. Lawson uses humour to make the story more enjoyable for the reader. The drover’s wife notes the seriousness of this as ‘like all snake dog, he will one day be fatally bitten’ and they will lose him. The tastelessness of his ugliness is far outweighed by his loyalty and substitutes the role of the protector in the husband’s absence.
Lawson’s use of dry humour helps define the ‘big, black, yellow-eyed dog-o-all-breeds’ who is important in the family’s life. It does not matter that he is ‘not a very beautiful dog’ for the reader has realised that looks don’t count in this harsh environment, inner being is what counts. In the story ‘The Drover’s wife’, there are many themes but the three main themes in the story are, loneliness, environment and human resilience and which are developed throughout the story. The drover’s wife, who once hated’ the loneliness of the bush, has become the determined, resourceful bush woman, well able to protect her family. When, despite her best efforts to save the dam, she fails and we are told ‘her heart was nearly broken’ the reader senses the loss and regret that it represents. The form of the language used in the narrative passages is reassured from time to time by fairly extensive sections of dialogue that are richly colloquial and vernacular. Tom is the surrogate man of the house, shown by the authoritative status and comments made to his mother, ‘stand back!
I’ll have the beggar! ’ or ‘I’d like to screw their blanky necks’. ‘In a Dry Season’ is story written by Henry Lawson but not like all of his other stories but as a short sketch travelogue rather than a typical story. This story is written in the eyes of Lawson on a train trip to Bourke. The people in this story are strikingly similar, differentiated not by any overt action but by the type of hats or clothing they wear or whether they are clean-shaven or not. They are united by being fellow passengers on the trip to no-where.
The further they go on the journey the more ‘old fashioned’ the people become. They ranged from different bush people, such as the snake chasing sun-downers, full bearded shearers, black trackers, and city dwellers evident by their ‘square cuts and stand up collars’. Lawson brings the readers to visualise the people that he meets by the descriptions he gives by comparing the clothes they wear and the people who wear them with the narrator describing how he ‘came across soft felt hats with straps around the crowns, and full bearded faces underneath them’.
Over all, the characters are not named which generalises all the bush folk just like in ‘The Drover’s Wife’. As in ‘The Drover’s Wife’, Lawson focuses on the harsh lifestyles the bush has to offer, for both the people and the environment are as harsh and tough as one another. There is little softness given in the picture that the reader is given on the trip to Bourke. Lawson concentrates on the uncivilisation the bush provides and the absence of females only make the visual picture duller.
The narrator acts as painter, painting the picture in the readers mind as we travel on this journey, this is evident through the highly descriptive language Lawson uses in this stories as in most of his stories. Unlike the more traditional Lawson stories, ‘Dry season’ is written in a first person plural as the narrator speaks for his fellow travellers and himself using ‘we’ collectively. The seasonal references highlight the negativity of the narrator making mockeries of any ‘talk of settling people on the land! ’ ‘I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains,
Of jagged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains, I love her far horizons, I love her jewel sea, Her beauty and her terror, The wide brown land for me. ’ This is an extract out of the popular Australian poem ‘my country’ which is a highly visual poem involving the reader not only to read but to live and see what is being said. The use of first person involves the reader with the use of the words ‘I’ and ‘me’. The use of the personification of ‘sunburnt country’ is a highly effective description technique making the reader visualise the country.
The poem is a description of Australia and the repetition of ‘her’ personifies and personalises the country as if it’s a poem of a lady. The repetition of ‘I love’ makes the poem personal. In this speech you have heard how experiencing through language, distinctively visual can be expressed through language to shape meaning and influence the responder by using the short stories of Henry Lawson, “The Drover’s Wife” and “In a Dry Season” and the famous Australian poem, “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar. I hope this has helped your understanding on distinctively visual. Thank you for listening to my speech.