“A picture can tell a thousand words.”
Good morning HSC standard English students, it is a honor to be invited to speak to you about some texts you have been studying for your upcoming higher school certificate exam. Distinctively visual texts portray powerful messages through the clever use of language features in order to create visual imagery in our minds. Now let's begin.. I ask you all to close your eyes and think of a time you have experienced adversity...
Henry Lawson, Edward Hopper and Julie O’Callaghan’s have successfully depicted how adversity is dealt with through their works. Henry Lawson’s short story ‘The Drover’s wife’ and Edward Hopper’s (painting) and Julie O’Callaghan’s (poet) ‘Automat’ (1972) display distinctively visual images of both suburban and rural women suffering the challenge of isolation and loneliness and escape from reality. Similarly, Henry Lawson’s short story ‘The Loaded Dog’ explores the concept of adversity but depicts interconnection and mateship as a means of dealing with a difficult situation. The powerful images expressed in all three works not only function to create meaning but also challenge the viewers understanding of themselves and the world they interact in. Through the use of language techniques and imagery we begin to recognize these themes of isolation, wanting to escape from reality and mateship.
Now if many of you still don’t know much about Lawson’s writing, here is a brief summary you should know. Lawson was writing in the later stages of the 19th century, a period when Australians were developing pride in their own country. Most of Lawson’s stories are about the bush. He wrote them so suburban people would know the lifestyle bush people were really living in. His narrative style and characterisation techniques enabled readers, to clearly visualise places and people.
The atmosphere in ‘The Drovers Wife’ is partially responsible for the isolation and separation the drover’s wife is suffering. As her home is displayed as “everlasting, maddening sameness of stunted trees” this paints a vivid image representing that she is a great distance from town. It also creates a realistic image in our minds, making us realize the conditions that she lives in. Absence of the Drovers wife’s husband is widely exposed through out the text “she is used to being left alone…she once lived like this for eighteen months” displaying an insight on her relationship and the fact that she is solely responsible for farm duties as well as raising their children. She is a representation of matriarchal, not a common role for women in the 1920’s, as in that era they were known to be housewives.
Her appearance and behaviour can be readily pictured and easily identified. “ … the fire threatened to burn her out… and she beat out the flames with a green bough”. By visualizing the bush-woman’s surroundings, it provides a insight into her character demonstrating her courage and strength. This leaves the reader with overwhelmed feelings of hardship the drovers wife is suffering but at the same time realizing her bravery. As the viewer Lawson encourages to think about what we would do in such a dire situation. Although, juxtaposition arises as “she finds all the excitement and recreation she needs in the Young Ladies’ Journal, and… takes a pleasure in the fashion plates” In spite the fact of her role of the man of the house; she is also a woman at heart. This displays irony she will never live the life or wear the clothes shown in the magazine.
Similarly, Automat also demonstrates loneliness and isolation in both the poem and image to create distinctively visual images of the protagonist's escape from reality. This scenery is clearly depicted in the painting itself as the lady sits alone in an Automat that is regularly occupied with people. It is ironic for her to choose to sit in the busiest place in the city, which shows that she craves recognition and attention. "I pretend I’m a celebrity…...
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