Powerful language has the ability to allow us to feel empathy

Powerful language has the ability to allow us to feel empathy. It is not until you are put in someone else’s shoes that you get a full insight into the hardships they have endured or of which they are currently battling.
Henry Lawson is an influential Australian composer of many short stories and sketches. His use of distinctively visual language and imagery created many memorable images and personas as well as engaging the responders with his harsh depiction of the Australian bush and the Australian values of the time. Lawson’s work has played a major role in the development of Australia’s national identity and the expression of the values and beliefs of Australia during that era. His work was first published by the Bulletin in 1887 which was an influential publication which promoted Australianism, egalitarianism, and unionism. At the time of his pieces being published the world through Lawson’s eyes appealed to the everyday Australian as it was deemed relatable by many. His pieces still continue to remain relevant and influence modern audiences.
The establishment of images through the use of distinctively visual language in Henry Lawson’s “The Drovers Wife” and “The Bush Undertaker” helps make significant ideas memorable about the landscape and inaugurates a connection to the personas of the people of the bush. While Kriv Stender’s film “Red Dog” diverges Lawson’s pieces implying a positive in comparison to a negative connotation towards the lifestyle in the outback of Australia.
Throughout all of Lawson’s text he depicts the bush and the outback of the Australian landscape as being blique, harsh, monotonous, and isolated. In the opening paragraph of Henry Lawson’s piece “The Drovers Wife” he immediately establishes the harshness and the isolation of the Australian bush. The responders are instantly faced with negative visuals and auricular of “the stunted, rotten native apple trees” and “a few she oaks……. sighing above the narrow, almost waterless creek.” His use of simplistic minimal description implies that in the bush the only sign of life you see is the bush and the “bush is all around – bush with no horizon.” His reference towards the bush with no horizon allows for the responder to assume that the bush is monotonous and is forever endless and doesn’t just stop as there is “nothing to relieve the eye.” The Drovers Wife who remains anonymous throughout the sketch is isolated from society as it is “nineteen miles to the nearest sign of civilisation.”
Lawson presents striking images of the harshness of the Australian outback. Establishing the hardships and troubles of living in the outback at the time contrasts the “city life” living. Lawson’s “The Bush Undertaker” conveys the harsh, dry landscape through descriptions of the conditions of the environment being a “broiling Christmas day” and the surroundings consisting of “the bank of a barren creek.” This imagery suggests that there is often extreme heat and it is nothing out of the ordinary for the people “living out back” as well as the potential dangers of being in an isolated environment. The Bush Undertaker illustrates a dark image if bush life with deathly images of the outback. Lawson’s use of distinctively visual imagery allows for the responders to be in the shoes of the inhabitants without being stranded in outback Australia. Kriv Stender’s Red Dog is a direct contrast to Lawson’s sketches.
Lawson reveals throughout his sketches how the personas of characters are shaped by the landscapes of which they are isolated by. The direct juxtaposition in The Drovers Wife of “the gaunt sun-browned woman” and her “four ragged, dried up looking children” instantly directs the responder to visualise 5 thin characters all of which have been withered and manipulated by the landscape. Lawson has a direct reference of the eldest boy resembling closely to “a sharp faced urchin of eleven” throughout the setting of the scene. His use of imagery and reference directly correlates the boy’s resemblance and visual traits to that of a homeless child. Lawson’s emphasis on the depiction of the harsh landscape and the people of the bush shapes an image of how the isolated inhabitants are “battling” the harsh lifestyle of the bush in the relentless, unforgiving environment. The drovers wife has become stoic and resilient brought upon by her isolation from her husband “the drought of 18 ruined him……. he had to go droving again.” The key word in being had is presenting the idea that he had no choice to leave but he had to so he could earn money for a family which he barely sees. Her resilient and stoic nature is made memorable by the digressions listed from Lawson. She had to face fires, floods, mad bullocks, crows, and sundowners all by herself; if it were not for her courage and wits she may not leave a memorable print on the responder.


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