Lawson-In a Dry Season-Michelle Merritt

Henry Lawson: In a
Dry Season
Distinctively Visual
Distinctively Visual
As part of this study you will be asked
to explore the ways the images we see
and/or visualise in texts are created.
You will consider how literary form
and structure and the language used in
different texts create these images, affect
interpretation and shape meaning.
Distinctively Visual
The scenes created by Lawson allow the
reader to appreciate a place they have
never seen. He draws on personal
experience to depict a bush lifestyle that is
fast disappearing.
Distinctively Visual:
elements conveyed
through …
In a Dry Season
The narrator of this story is on a
train to Bourke and describes
the people and places he sees
along the way. The reader
comes to develop a mental
picture of the landscape both
inside and outside the carriage
as the narrator describes the
sights outside and tells us about
the people and the stories they
tell inside the train.
In a Dry Season
Some say that the
narrator of the
story in Lawson
himself and that
these experiences
come from his only
trip ‘outback’.
In a Dry Season
Lawson conveys a feeling of
monotony as the reader comes
to understand that these towns
are all very similar. A sense of
desolation and despair about
life in the bush is developed.
"Draw a wire fence … Then you'll
have the bush all along the New
South Wales western line from
Bathurst on” … "The only town I
saw that differed” …"By way of
variety, the artist might make…"
In a Dry Season
Lawson describes the bush setting
in a highly visual way. It is a harsh,
inhospitable environment where
nothing comes easy; people are
always 'trying' to do things.
"the Macquarie--a narrow, muddy
gutter with a dog swimming
across” … "Somebody told me
that the country was very dry on
the other side of Nevertire. It is. I
wouldn't like to sit down on it any
In a Dry Season
• “The railway towns consist of a public house and a
general store, with a square tank and a school-house
on piles in the nearer distance. The tank stands at the
end of the school and is not many times smaller than
the building itself. It is safe to call the pub "The
Railway Hotel," and the store "The Railway Stores,"
with an "s…There is sometimes a small, oblong
weather-board building--unpainted, and generally
leaning in one of the eight possible directions, and
perhaps with a twist in another--which, from its halfobliterated sign, seems to have started as a rival to
the Railway Stores; but the shutters are up and the
place empty.”
In a Dry Season
•First person, homodiegetic
narration. A travelogue
depicting a short outback
train trip to Bourke. The
narrator serves as our tour
guide outlining what we see
along the way.
In a Dry Season
The characters here are all
sketches, stereotypes or
generalisations - they represent
groups of people. They are
described through the clothes
that they wear, "Slop sac suits,
red faces, and old-fashioned,
flat-brimmed hats, with wire
round the brims” …”tail-coat
turned yellow, a print shirt, and
a pair of moleskin trousers”
In a Dry Season
• A 'sundowner' is the name Lawson gives to
the group of people that would turn up at
sundown, when the bulk of the work is over
with a promise of working the next day in
exchange for room and board for the
night. "He carried a Royal Alfred, and had
a billy in one hand and a stick in the other”
"dressed in a tail-coat turned yellow, a print
shirt, and a pair of moleskin trousers, with
big square calico patches on the knees”
"killing a snake ...perhaps he only thought
of Adam"
In a Dry Season
The Shearers:
• Shearers were tough, they had to lift and
manage the sheep, whilst using blades to
remove the wool. Lawson mentions that
the shearers are respected and admired
by the community for their
independence. "They dress like the
unemployed, but differ from that body in
their looks of independence” This group
of people wouldn’t have cared much for
their appearance and were paid well for
their back-breaking work.
In a Dry Season
The Unemployed:
• They start off happy and eager to get to their new
place of employment. Lawson tells us that they
soon realise that things aren't as easy as they
thought and their cheerfulness is quickly dispelled
when they reach the train station and learn that
they are not yet at their destination. The life of the
unemployed is of destitution. "He has an idea that
the station where he has the job will be within
easy walking distance of Bourke. Perhaps he
thinks there'll be a cart or a buggy waiting for him.
He travels for a night and day without a bite to
eat, and, on arrival, he finds that the station is
eighty or a hundred miles away.”
In a Dry Season
The Bush Liar:
• He entertains the carriage with
his stories of the bush and his
boxing prowess; however, we
soon get the feeling they are all
false and dramatised for effect.
"bush larrikin”… "He was a bit of
a scrapper”… "talked a lot
about the ring"
Literary Techniques
•animal imagery
•monotony and
sameness of the scenery
•description of the
Literary Techniques
• Literal language refers to words that do not
deviate from their defined meaning.
• Figurative language refers to words, and
groups of words, that exaggerate or alter the
usual meanings of the component words.
• vernacular: "Yer wanter go out back, young
man, if yer wanter see the country. Yer
wanter get away from the line." I don't
wanter; I've been there."
• colloquial and colourful language: "he was a
bit of a scraper" and "dressed in all his glory"
Literary Techniques
• "Native Industry was represented at one place
along the line by three tiles, a chimney pot,
and a length of piping on a slab" and the
narrator implies that these conditions are
• The persona describes the setting and the
people in a way that allows us to view them this in term makes us wonder what else is there
and make conclusions about the environment
as being uninspiring.
Literary Techniques
• In a dry season the Macquarie River is
described as "a narrow muddy gutter"
Dark Humour
• "Yer wanter go out back, young man, if yer
wanter see the country." I don't wanter; I've
been there.” …”"The least horrible spot in the
bush, in a dry season, is where the bush
isn't”… "Death is about the only cheerful thing
in the bush” … "They talk of settling people on
the land! Better settle _in_ it"
Literary Techniques
• "through to the bitter end"
Authorial Intrusion:
• Lawson makes comment of the
social system “God bless the
publican and the coach-driver!
God forgive our social system!”

similar documents