Henry Lawson s The Union buries its dead is a story which explores the procedure of a union burial for a man whose identity is unknown and whose presence wasn’t noticed. He was a stranger in the town, and the fact of his having been a Union man accounted for the funeral. Through the realistic narrator s bitter tone and language we are led to believe that the majority of members in the small town possess anything but true feelings for the loss of the union man.
Identity is defined as the set of personal and behavioral characteristics which define an individual as a member of a certain group. Based on race, ethnicity, religion, language and culture people distinguish themselves from other groups and form their understanding and pride in who they are. Othering is a process by which a group of individuals define themselves against those they exclude and marginalizes.
James Tyson, the protagonist, had no social identity in Australia. He felt that he is externalized from the native people of the country, that’s why he and some other people formed a Union to support all the newcomers and to have a sense of belonging. They aimed to create a community in which they all share common circumstances. All these people were suppressed in their homeland and othered in the new land (Australia). They were searching for a better life and a better reality.
In the beginning, the Union had a meaning but when the number of joined people increased, it lost its real meaning and what remained was the code of ethics. James knew that he could be drowned in the river but he insisted to cross it. He lost hope in life and committed suicide to attract people’s attention that he exists which doesn’t make any sense after his death. He believed that he will have an identity after death and he will be reminded.
Finally, what we can get from this short story is that any Union should have a meaning and a target to achieve. The title of the short story “The Union Buries Its Dead” is...
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