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“The Drover’s Wife” a short story by Henry Lawson shows you the life conditions and the struggle of a housewife whose husband is a drover. Being left on her own the drovers wife develops resilience` as a result of the hardships she has faced over the years in her lonely surroundings.
The description of the land surrounding the family’s house paints it as harsh, isolating, flat, “bush all-round”, and no horizons. No ranges, stunted, rotten native apple trees, no undergrowth, and no civilization for nineteen miles and secluded by loneliness. It isn’t a very flattering description of somewhere to live but she is used to this life and its loneliness and would now feel strange if she was to move away from it. She has her Sundays when she gets all the children dressed up and they go for a long walk along the bush track, this gives her something to do because all of the other days seem the same. An overwhelming boredom such as this would make peoples lives feel useless and pointless but the drover’s wife has grown such a resilience to this that she overlooks the boredom and focuses on things that only a person of this lifestyle could focus on.
The house, the main area in which the drover’s wife has encountered most of her hardships is not one that you would like to spend your life in. Made of timber and stringy bark, floored with spilt slabs, wind rushing through the gaps in the slab wall at night, bark kitchen with earth floor. Although this house is a mere shelter and offers little protection from anything that threatens to take it over or take it away e.g. snake, fire. The drover’s wife admires her house and has accepted what she has been given and doesn’t dwell on what she hasn’t got.
The main reason that drover’s wife has developed such resilience is because of the events that she has faced and been through. For example the drought had force her husband to go droving again and therefore she suffered long periods of alone from six to eighteen months. She had some of her children born alone in the bush with Black Mary the only one there to help. One child died and she had to ride nineteen miles to get assistance carrying her dead child. Raging bush fires have threatened to burn her out but she vigorously fought them and succeeded. Floods washed away the dam � that nearly broke her heart because years of her husbands labor had now been destroyed. Fought a mad bullock from attacking her family and she is constantly fighting off crows and eagles from getting her chickens. But most of all the main confrontation that is mentioned in the story is that of the snake going under the house. After killing the snake it shows you how such a small thing if given the opportunity can drastically change the way you live for a short period of time.
Through all of the harshness of the events the drover’s wife seems to be content with her lot. She is happy when her husband returns from droving. She loves her children and her reliable dog and she laughs at her misfortunes. All of these have helped to develop her resilience and so she has survived and grown stronger through each hardship.
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