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Notes on The Drover’s Wife – Henry Lawson March 15, 2009

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In the short story “The Drover’s Wife,” Henry Lawson acknowledges the hardships of Australian women whose bravery and perseverance is unfairly overlooked. It is often the men who receive all the glory while the women suffer silently in the background. In this story, Lawson sheds light on the life of one of these heroic women as she struggles to keep her children safe in the Australian bush.

The vivid imagery of the environment creates feelings of isolation and monotony that the main character experiences in her day to day life. Instead of focusing on the contents of the bush, Lawson focuses primarily on what is lacking. The bush has “no horizon”, “no ranges in the distance” and “no undergrowth”. The scarcity of scenery shows the reader a glimpse of the bleakness and emptiness in the bushwoman’s life. There is more of this dreary imagery in the description of the house where the wife and her children live. It is crudely made out of slabs of “stringybark” and “round timber”. The kitchen, which is “larger than the house itself”, has a dirt floor and “there is a large, roughly-made table in the centre of the place”. The rugged house reveals the poor conditions that the drover’s wife must endure every day. Even the weather is dismal as a “thunderstorm comes on, and the wind, rushing through the cracks in the slab wall, threatens to blow out her candle”. She protects the fragile flame of the candle, like her life, against the harshness of her environment. By visualizing the bushwoman’s surroundings, the reader can connect with her frame of mind. One is left with an overwhelming sense of loneliness and hardship.

Lawson’s admiration of women is evident in the portrayal of a strong and independent female protagonist. The drover’s wife fights many battles without her husband, and each struggle makes her stronger. She thinks about some of the difficulties she has faced in her life while she keeps watch for a snake that has slithered under the house. She remembers when one of her children died and “she rode nineteen miles for assistance, carrying the dead child”. This must have been a traumatic experience for her, but the bushwoman was able to move on and deal with other obstacles. The drover’s wife recalls the fire that almost destroyed her home. She took on the role of her husband, wearing his trousers while she snuffed out the flames with a bough. She has sacrificed her femininity because “her surroundings are not favourable to the development of the ‘womanly’ or sentimental side of nature”. The only thing to feed her womanhood is the Young Ladies’ Journal. It is a reminder of the dreams she had as a girl that never came to be.

Amazingly, the drover’s wife is able to confront challenges single-handedly. Every difficult experience that she can remember has taken place in her husband’s absence. She has raised their children on her own and constantly protects them from dangers like snake bites and fires. Many people would not be able to handle the incredible loneliness of life in the bush, but the drover’s wife says she “is used to being left alone. She once lived like this for eighteen months”. She must miss her husband terribly, but she explains that “they are used to being apart, or at least she is”. She speaks of the “maddening sameness of the stunted trees–that monotony which makes a man long to break away and travel as far as trains can go, and sail as far as ships can sail–and further”. She is stronger than these men, and perhaps stronger than her husband who has also broken away from this dull life. She stresses that the monotony is not a problem for her, and that “she would feel strange away from it”. By repeating the fact that she is used to loneliness, she is able to cope with being alone for so long.

Beneath her tough exterior, the drover’s wife is a sensitive and expressive person. When a flood breaks the dam that the woman’s husband made, “her heart [is] nearly broken too, for she [thinks] how her husband would feel when he [comes] home and [sees] the result of years of labour swept away. She cries then”. It is not for herself that she cries, but for her husband. She cries again at the collapse of a woodpile that was stacked by a native man. The bushwoman trusted the man and praised him for his fine work only to discover that “he had built that woodheap hollow”. She is genuinely hurt by this breach of trust and “tears spring to her eyes”. The drover’s wife is overcome by emotion once more at the end of the story, after the snake has been killed. The battles of her life have worn her out, and in her exhaustion, she begins to weep. Her eldest son notices her tears and comforts her, saying, “mother, I won’t never go drovin’; blast me if I do”. This perceptive child realizes that his father’s absence is the cause of his mother’s suffering. Like the boy, the reader is drawn closer to the drover’s wife by seeing her pain and understanding the reasons for this pain.

Lawson is successful in creating a bond between the reader and the protagonist through his powerful scenery and the highly developed characterization. This bond enables the reader to truly appreciate the accomplishments of this young woman and other women like her. “The Drover’s Wife” is a tribute to these women and gives them the recognition that they rightfully deserve.

Adapted from Cafe Des Portes


The Drover’s Wife: Holiday Assignment March 14, 2009

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Holiday Assignment December 4, 2008

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Dear kids,’s the holiday so far. As for me, today is my last working now I am free! Well, I’ve finished marking your papers, goodness.. you guys really to brush up on your writing, year we work harder and smarter, ok..

For the holiday assignment, I just need you to write a review of a book that you have read. The review must not be no longer than 200 words. Please include why you like the book and some lessons learnt from it. Please e-mail your reviews to me to Kindly inform the others about the assignment, okay. Tq. Have a pleasant holiday..

Pn Ida


MUET SPEAKING TEST – Managing a Group Discussion September 13, 2008

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One component under the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is managing a small group discussion. Many feel that this is very challenging due to language limitation. This is because the success of a group discussion lies upon one’s ability to communicate effectively in a group whilst ensuring the task is fulfilled and accomplished effectively. This is a task that requires thorough preparation, good team work and most importantly understanding the mechanism of managing a group discussion. The communicative ability includes fluency, pronunciation, stress, intonation and the use of effective language to convey meaning. Many are able to talk but not many have the ability to speak sense especially when in a group. Thus, in group discussion, the fulfillment of the task given is vital. This is achieved when candidates display an understanding of the topic, good and coherent content or ideas and the ability to make decisions based on a group consensus.

What is a Discussion?

It refers to a group of people that come together for a face-to-face interaction to explore orally a certain topic of interest. It aims to work towards achieving a common goal despite the fact that the group members may have differing points of view and opinios. Thus, to achieve this objective, it is vital for each member of the group to possess a good listening skill so that the view of others could be comprehended and digested accordingly.

Who should lead the discussion?

Unlike in schools, MUET private candidates do know the individuals who are going to be in their groups. Due to this, it is vital for each member to promptly break the ice before the test starts. This should be done while waiting for their turn for the test.

It is vital to appoint one person to play the role as the group leader. The group leader serves as a facilitator or moderator of the discussion. If you are a group leader, you should try your best to fulfill the following:

1. Initiate the discussion – introduce yourself and the topic of discussion. Next, get the group members to introduce themselves.

2. Provide opportunities for every member to present their views – ensure that no one monopolizes the discussion and turn taking is practiced.

3. Remain impartial and respect all opinionss – do not use your position to influence the outcome of the discussion.

4. Maintain the discussion – Summarize ongoing views and encourage members to look for common grounds so that a consensus can be reached.

5. Manage time – keep a watch on the time so that a decision can be reached within a given timeframe (10 minutes for the discussion).

6. Conclude the discussion – Summarize the findings and present the decision reached. Please thank everyone for their contribution and cooperation.

The role of Group Members

It is vital for the group members to work as a team. One should:

1. Be well prepared so that you can contribute to the discussion.

2. Be willing to share your ideas so that the final consensus arrived by the group reflects the best decision.

3. Respect turn taking and allow everyone to contribute their views. But do not be passive during the discussion.

4. Respect all opinions and do not belittle the views of others.

5. Think before speaking to ensure that you do contribute constructively to the discussion and not side track the issue being discussed.

6. Listen attentively so that you do not repeat issues already discussed. Engaged listening also enbales you to ask relevant questions to seek further clarification and respond appropriately.

UP NEXT: Initiating, maintaning and concluding a discussion – Language Forms and Functions


Tips on Answering Literature for PMR September 7, 2008

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Hi..I am preparing some online quizes and tests for PMR English papers. I hope this will be helpful to all, students, teachers and parents. I am working on something for MUET as well. I understand that this paper is extra tough, thus I hope all of you would gain some useful info here. Good Luck!