Discuss How the Conflicts in the Drover's Wife by Henry Lawson Are a Comment on Human Nature

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The conflicts in Henry Lawson’s short story The Drover’s Wife are a comment on human nature. Being human means experiencing love, happiness, loneliness and sadness in our lives. Often these experiences are connected with conflict. Henry Lawson depicts this in his story through the internal conflict which the drover’s wife experiences, through the struggle between herself and her husband, and between herself and the harsh landscape that surrounds her.

The central character, the drover’s wife, experiences an internal conflict. Since her husband is ‘away with the sheep’ and her family live where there is ‘bush all round – bush with no horizon’, the reader is able to visualise the overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness she experiences. The emptiness of the woman’s life is apparent even though her time is taken up with caring for her children. She sacrifices the refinements of life and dreams of a life portrayed in the Young Ladies’ Journal. The only hope that the drover’s wife clings to is her dreams, as she is unable to live it because of money, loyalty and opportunity. To dream is to be human; for her and her children it is impossible to leave the bush hut. She loves her husband, so she must endure the internal conflict.

Not only does the drover’s wife encounter an internal conflict, but she also experiences a conflict between herself and her husband the drover. Although they are both responsible parents, the drover and his wife have to fight their battles and struggles alone. Resources involved in this external conflict are loyalty and money. The drover’s wife remembers fighting many battles in her husband’s absence – such as the fighting a bush fire and fighting a flood. Despite this, she believes that ‘he is a good enough husband. If he had the means he would take her to the city and keep her there like a princess’. She has taken on the role of her husband by raising their children on her own and protecting them from the dangers of the bush. Making...
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