The Widower in the Country

The Widower in the Country
How does Murray convey 2 aspects of the human condition in the poem?
  1. Depression
“The Widower in the Country” written by Les Murray conveys the feelings of depression through the first person perspective of a man who has lost his wife, a widower. This melancholic mood is created through techniques such as language and pathetic fallacy.

The language used by the widower as he described his daily chores is bare and unembellished, for example: “I’ll get up soon and leave my bed unmade.” and “and then I’ll go in, boil water and make tea”.
The expression in his monologue shows that the widower is apathetic to his lifestyle and yet continues to live mechanically despite suffering.

Les Murray also cleverly uses pathetic fallacy in order to reflect the accentuate the monotonous mood of the widower. “The Christmas paddocks aching in the heat” is physically describing the harshness of the weather while also implying the “aching” of his emotional state of mind.
“The windless trees, the nettles in the yard” is also an example of pathetic fallacy in the poem. The image of windless trees reflects that of the widower’s mental state. This suggests that the widower has become like a windless tree, unmoving and stuck in emotional desolation.
The nettles in the yard are most likely unkempt due to his wife no longer able to tend to it and suggest the widower’s negligence towards the yard and also his own life.