Henry Lawson – Composers in Everyday Situations

1 January 2017

Lawson and Hargreaves give their audience a feeling of the distinctly visual. Both authors convey distinctive experiences through different ways. Lawson uses many evocative and powerful language techniques to convey his thoughts and feelings. This is clearly shown in ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘In a Dry Season’. Other narratives also utilise the many language techniques to convey the distinctively visual image. Both texts reveal both positive and negative values which are indicative of the Australian image.

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Through the forms and language of these texts, and the values of larrikinism, heroism, humour, environment and realism, they alter the responder’s perceptions and understand the perceptions of Australia and its identity. Both ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘In a Dry Season’ use distinctive visuals to deepen the responders understanding of place; the situation of the story, where the stories are set. The ‘The Drover’s Wife’ is written in third person, from the point of view of an omniscient narrator.

Lawson’s negativity towards the bush begins immediately in this story, when he uses diction to describe the bushland surrounding the house as “stunted, rotten native apple trees. No undergrowth… The two-roomed house is built from round timber, slabs, and stringy-bark, and floored with split slabs. ” This quote is used to allow the responder to visualise the pre-federation basic home and not only how isolated it is from society but also how isolated it is from modern day housing. “Nineteen miles to the nearest sign of… Lawson creates a distinctively visual image, for the responder, with images of isolation, stoicism and the struggle for survival in the harsh Australian Outback. ‘In a Dry Season’ Lawson employs a strong sense of imagery which is created for the responder. With this device the reader feels a link with the narrator as sense as through the responder is on the same journey and witnessing the story as it unfolds. Lawson employs metonym to express the innocence of the newcomers in juxtaposed with a messy and unfashionable group conveyed with the use of alliteration, verbs and further metonymy to convey an untidy and dated group.

Lawson develops a detailed image of the freshness and naivety of the young travellers through reference to their freshly cut hair and starched collars in “One or two square-cuts and stand-up collars struggle dismally through to the bitter end”. The employment of metonymy allows the audience to instantly connect the haircut and stiff collars to a group innocent to the harshness of the bush. This is contrasted to the appearance of the Bushmen has been evoked in this short story. This disorderly exterior has been effectively created with the recurring “s” in “Slop, sac, suits, red face and old fashioned flat brimmed hats”.

The repetition of the sound allows Lawson to convey the boredom of bush life and the Bushmen’s fatigue to the reader. Similarly, Little Miss Sunshine, a picture book by Roger Hargreaves involves the reader in a range of experiences. This picture book contains a layout of the general structural formulae for the story consisting of orientation, complication and resolution. It is told in third person. All of the pictures in this text are on the right hand page and none of the pictures are framed. They are positioned to take up a whole page for each picture. This picture book uses simple colours and drawings.

This makes it easy for readers of all ages to see and understand what is happening in the picture book. Throughout the orientation, Miseryland is presented as a sad, unhappy, miserable place using the graphics and text. ‘And when the birds wake up in the morning in Miseryland, they don’t start singing. They start crying! Oh, it really is an awful place! ’ Then the responder is introduced to little Miss Sunshine, the main character. She is shown to be a happy person ‘whistling happily to herself’ and shown to be the colour yellow in the picture to convey happiness and brightness.

The picture book’s complication arises with little Miss Sunshine laughing and giggling in front of the king in Miseryland. The pictures capture this with a close-up of the king’s and little miss sunshine’s face; hers laughing and the king is crying. This sets a major contrast between the two characters. In conclusion, the narration in the short stories by Henry Lawson the ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘In A Dry Season’ and “Little Miss Sunshine”, by Roger Hargreaves, prove highly important in involving the responder in a range of xperiences by providing the techniques and storylines for the responder to gain an insight from. As both Lawson and Hargreaves bring the world of their work to life through the images they create. Lawson describes scenes to the audience in such detail that he makes it possible for the readers to place themselves in the particular situation he is creating, even if they have never had that experience. This technique helps to link the reader with that specific feeling. While Hargreaves creates images of calmness and freedom through the composer’s use of colours and positioning.

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