Henry Lawson

The distinctively visual is an image or illustration created in the responder’s mind through the composer’s language. Henry Lawson creates a distinctive and specific image of the Australian outback throughout the 1800s through his short stories “The Drover’s Wife” (1892), “In A Dry Season” (1892) and “The Loaded Dog”. Chuck Russel also creates a distinctively visual image of a mysterious green mask in his film “The Mask” (1994).

In Lawson’s “The Drover’s Wife”, a mother of four young children is left all alone in the Australian outback to take care of her children while her husband goes droving to earn a living. A snake enter’s the house and the drover’s wife has to be extra careful to protect her children. The use of a metaphor, “no undergrowth, nothing to relieve the eye… nineteen miles to the nearest… civilisation” emphasises the drover’s wife’s isolation, loneliness, as well as the idea of being cut-off from the rest of the world. The personified dog: “Big black yellow eyed dog of all breeds” conveys that only rough, and masculine characteristics can thieve within the outback of the Australian bush. The hardships faced by the people in the bush can be seen in the juxtaposition, “Thunder rolls and rain comes in torrent… the drought of eighteen ruins him” which illustrates the unpredictability of the outback lifestyle. Finally, the extended imagery that portrays the wife and her children as “ragged dried up looking children… gaunt sun brown woman” conveys the stoic vision of both the land and its inhabitants as worn as exhausted.

Similar to “The Drover’s Wife”, in “In A Dry Season” Lawson creates powerful images by employing distinctively visual language that enables the responder to visualise the dry, dull Australian outback. “In A Dry Season” is about a persona who is on a train from Bathurst on the western line and finally arrives at the town of Bourke. This short story is distinctively visual as a result of the persona describing everything he sees...