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The Drover's Wife Essay

854 words - 4 pages

The drover’s wife may be a resilient and stoically determined but she often struggles to face vast emptiness, danger and monotony of the Australian bush. The endlessly bleak environment is described as, “Bush with no horizon” with, “Nothing to relieve the eye”. It is here that the wife must spend all her time doing the same work and facing the same danger. Lawson suggests that, “All days are much the same to her”. There is nothing to relieve this constant monotony of dreary bush and hard work. Every Sunday, the wife decides to go for a walk through the bush, always attempting to, “make herself and the children look smart as she would if she were going to do the block in the city.” This is a very important occasion for her because it is a break from the constant drudgery of her life. The environment and its monotony are identified as “maddening”, a place that makes you want to leave and never return. The wife goes out on Sundays to keep from succumbing to this madness that the bush forces on her. She wants to look her best where there is, “nothing to see, however, and not a soul to meet”. She does this parade not for her children, nor her property, nor her husband but for herself. It gives her a purpose and a reason to continue.

The wife not only uses these Sunday walks to escape her life, but she attempts to create a new life for herself that corresponds with the feminine dreams she had as a young girl. The drover’s wife yearns for a life of normalcy in an ordinary place away from the cruel isolation of her home in the bush. She dresses the family up because that is what she imagines a normal mother would do before taking her children to church on a Sunday. She wants one day each week when she is allowed to pretend that she is like these normal women, between fighting bushfires and killing bulls. This is a dream she has had since she was a child when she, “built the usual castles in the air”. However, she does not live in a castle but resides in a two room house, “built of round timber, slabs, and stringy-bark”. She did not realise her dreams and, “all her girlish hopes and aspirations have long been dead.” Although she has not become the woman she wanted to, she likes to act in the way that woman would to fulfil her dreams the best she can in the situation...

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