The Drover's Wife Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

4). This piece of writing shows the author, Henry Lawson, using specific structures and aspects of language to enrich the story. As it is a short story, Lawson is economical in his use of language to fit as much information into the story as possible. To be succinct while still being a complex story, short descriptive words or phrases are used to replace long, elaborate explanations. When she is thinking about the suspicious visitors she occasionally receives, she says they “cunningly” inquire for the man of the house. This one word sets up both the motive and personality of the characters in question. The author describes, “Four ragged, dried-up-looking children”. He establishes that they are unkempt, hard-working bush children who have been through many challenges already, a strong picture for the reader. This instance also highlights Lawson’s regular use of hyphens and dashes in his writing. They allow him to clearly but briefly present descriptive information. He writes, “yells the eldest boy – a sharp-faced urchin of eleven”. He removes the connecting words and is able to move from the boy’s action to his appearance smoothly. Often the author saves space by using particularly descriptive verbs such as “seizes” and “dashes” rather than using adverbs to create the same imagery. Between each scene, or section of the story, the author uses a few sentences to set up the changes in time and scenery. There is some time between when Tommy and his mother say goodnight and when she begins to think about her life and background. This is shown by the simple sentence, “Near midnight.” It concisely tells the reader that it is later in the evening and the author is now on to new concepts to keep the story moving.

The words used in this story are chosen to correspond with the way people spoke in during that period in rural Australia, they are not romanticised but are chosen to provide a realistic impression of ordinary language. Just as the author chooses not to embellish or sentimentalise the landscape, the characters or the lifestyle of the bush, he chooses language which is true to life. Tommy uses numerous slang words. The eldest son, Tommy, uses slang and unrefined language often during this story. This is exhibited in one of the most poignant lines from the story, “Mother, I won’t never go drovin’; blarst me if I do”. It is these phrases that make the characters more plausible and relatable; having imperfect language encourages the reader like the character more. The characters speak like this to reflect the starkness of the bush. Onomatopoeia is also used several times during the story to inspire a sense of immediacy and involve the reader. During the paragraph when the snake comes out from under the house Lawson writes, “Thud, thud” as the wife’s club attempts to crush the snake. This adds to the drama of the moment and gives the reader a full picture of what is going on because they are able to imagine what the scene looks like and how it...

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