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English Comparison Essay Essay, Research Paper

Traditional bush stories have always been a part of Australia’s history; involving many types of characters like Drovers and Shearers, just to name a couple.

Many writers have portrayed these traditional bush characters in different ways!

The two bush stories “The Drovers Wife” and “The Graziers Wife” are set in two different time eras and written by two authors from totally different time periods.

Both of the main characters in each of the bush stories are quite similar in certain ways yet very different! This essay will compare their personalities their lifestyle and lives in general.

“The Drover’s Wife” is a very traditional bush story, which mainly focuses a young wife of a Drover who usually lives alone with her three young children on their property deep in the bush. Her husband, “a drover, an ex-squatter, is away with sheep .”

“The Drover’s Wife” is a tough, strong-willed woman who is devoted to her husband, her children and their farm. The only thing she does for recreation and excitement is read the “Young Ladies’ Journal”. The whole family, (two parents and four children) live in a “two roomed house made of bark.” A recent drought has forced her husband to “sacrifice the remnant of his flock and go droving again .”

She doesn’t seem to regret the life she has but often she speaks fondly about her “girlish hopes and aspirations, which have long been dead. ”

During the story a dangerous, venomous snake slips under the house and being the devoted other she piles her four children on top of a table and sacrifices a whole nights sleep to keep watch for the snake.

‘The Graziers Wife’ is also a very similar bush story written by Christobel Mattingley except it is set around the middle of the 20th Century, about 1960s, 1970’s.

While The Drover’s Wife had to live without her husband, ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ has her husband by her side to work with and to help on the far. Like ‘The Drover’s Wife’ she also has four children and lives in the harsh environment of the outback. Even though she has her husband to help, protect and solve many problems she has many dilemmas of her own!

Unlike, ‘The Drover’s Wife’ she has the problem of giving the family adequate nutritional and interesting food, other than “beef and oranges .”

While ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ has lived in the city while she was growing up, ‘The Drover’s wife’ is a true bush girl who has always been in the bush while she was growing up!

On their farm they have a terrible weed afflicting the cattle forcing them at times to get rid some of their cattle to put them out of their misery.

‘The Drover’s wife’ resembles ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ as the rest of their livestock had to be sold because of a drought leaving them with none or very little stock.

Both the women have their own sources of recreation and excitement, whether it is reading a magazine, horse riding or tennis. They all have their own methods of relaxation to get away from the tough lifestyle of working and living on a farm.

Even though both women suffer the harsh effects of the sun, as seen through their “parched skin ” they don’t really have any regrets or longing to go and live in the city.

‘The Drover’s wife’ seems to be younger than ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ even though she has experienced some pretty tough struggles. The younger wife seems to display more affection to her children. This is in contrast to ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ who doesn’t seem to speak of her children with any affection! Also compared to ‘The Drover’s Wife’ she is very concerned or thinks about the material luxuries she used to enjoy when they lived in the city, for example, she compared her most recent anniversary to her tenth anniversary where ‘her husband had taken her on a cruise to Singapore .’

Both these bush stories represent traditional bush characters in their own way.

‘The Drover’s Wife’ written by Henry Lawson is more traditional in speech and mannerisms and he shows bush life to be extremely tough emotionally for the young wife and physically with her large family. The more modern bush story written by Christobel Matting ley also portrays bush life to be harsh and depicts characters with enough determination to survive these conditions. When comparing these two women together ‘The Drover’s Wife’ seems to be tougher even though she is younger she has more experience of surviving tough times without her husband rather than other.

The characters in the modern bush story are definitely different to those characters in the tradition story.

Shemarrah Samarasinha


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