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The Drover's Wife Essay

907 words - 4 pages

The surroundings of the wife are a significant aspect of this short story as they contribute to the making of the characters and the lifestyle of the Australian bush.

This story presents a realistic interpretation of the bush, outlining it as a harsh, hostile environment that is filled with danger. A picture is painted for the reader of a dismal, tedious place that weighs down all who live there. The author uses words that one associates with hopelessness, writing that the bush was made up of “stunted, rotten native apple-trees”. He mentions the, “everlasting, maddening sameness” of the bush. Throughout the story it is revealed that the bush is full of danger like snakes, mad bullocks, fires, floods and death. These add to the ominous portrayal of the environment. Another point that is emphasised is that they are isolated in this place, “Nineteen miles to the nearest sign of civilisation”. The surroundings not only include the bush but the home of the wife and her children. It is a “two roomed house” with few positive accounts from the author. A further sense of bleakness is added by phrases like, “The kitchen has no floor”. The focus when describing the surroundings appears to be what is lacking, “no horizon”, “No undergrowth” and “Nothing to relieve the eye”. The author seems to be writing through the eyes of the wife who sees a world filled with suffering and solitude. The good in the surroundings cannot be seen because the bad so easily overwhelms it. The weather is also criticised and brings about a sense of despondency, “The thunder rolls, and the rain comes down in torrents.” It is depicted as a constant struggle between the power of nature and this formidable bushwoman.

The setting shapes the story and supports the events throughout, furthermore it often symbolises the life and emotions of the protagonist. This is essentially about a bushwoman who spends her days protecting her property and her children while her husband is away. She works hard but faces countless challenges which she always fights to overcome. The Australian bush is the perfect setting for such a story because it poses so many different threats to its inhabitants. The environment showcases the wife’s bravery, strength and undying determination by constantly throwing challenges in her path. Throughout the story the setting is mentioned to show emotion. The story begins with the description of isolated home nestled between dense bushland as the sun sets. It finishes with a mother and her son watching, “the sickly daylight break over the bush.” This final phrase signifies that the characters’ lives will go with the sun...

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