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Short-Story "the Drover's Wife" Written by Henry Lawson

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The short-story "The Drover's Wife" is written by Henry Lawson, Australia's most famous short-story writer and poet. "The Drover's Wife" is probably Lawson's best-known work, and was first published in the collection entitled "While the Billy Boils" in 1892. Lawson was deeply interested in the effects of the harsh Australian outback on people's lives, having himself spent 18 months in the bush. This was expressed in a number of so-called "bush ballads" and stories, "The Drover's Wife" being one of them.

This short-story has the Australian bush or outback as its setting. This is revealed in the two first paragraphs, where the author makes a short and precise description of the little house and the surrounding landscape. To tell the time of the story is, however, more difficult. The text gives us only a few clues to when it might have happened. The most obvious one is, "The drought of 18 - ruined him". First I thought that 18 meant 1918, but considering that the short-story was written in 1892, this must be wrong. The year referred to is most probably 1818.

The main conflict in "The Drover's Wife" is perhaps not so evident as we may think. At first it is quite easy to imagine that there is a conflict between the bush woman and the snake. The reason for that is that the snake is a threat to the woman. If she does not kill it, the snake can bite one of the children, which will be a disaster since it is nineteen miles to the nearest neighbor. The child would be dead before they could get help.

However, this conflict is only a consequence of the main conflict, which is mentioned in a sentence early in the text, "The drover, an ex-squatter, is away with sheep. His wife and children are left here alone." The main problem is that the wife is left alone to deal with the hardships of life in the Australian bush. In my opinion Lawson uses the incident with the snake to uncover the bush woman's struggles against the outback.

The point of view used in "The Drover's Wife" is the Third person Limited voice. Lawson has told the story form the bush woman's perspective. That allows us to see into her thoughts and feelings. Since the woman is the main character as well, we are given a complete and realistic portrait of a woman's life in the bush.

Throughout the short-story we get a very good characterization of the woman, mainly via retrospective thoughts. We learn that she is a gaunt and sun-browned woman, and that her life in the bush started when she married a squatter at the age of 18. As a girl-wife she had hated the lonely life in the outback, but as time passed by, she grew used to it. When the drought forced her husband to go droving,

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