Henry Lawson’s art

The impact of Henry Lawson’s art on my understanding of Australia

As I indicated in my introduction already that Henry Lawson deepened my knowledge about the vastness of Australia to a large extent. This in terms of geography and culture.
lawson bush

Extract from my Literature Blog:
http://studentblogs.acu.edu.au/myimpressions/

Before enrolling in this course my knowledge about Australian history was pretty basic. Yet, while attending the course it got deepened. Therefore, reading the first short stories of Henry Lawson’s was quite difficult. Due to lacking knowledge about the author it was hard to read between the lines.

However, now being aware of him being a son of Scandinavian invaders and being brought up in the bush, it became clear what he is dealing with in his short stories. What made the understanding of his work very hard was the usage of vernacular English, which makes him “the man of the people” (http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/lawson/; 14.10.09). Moreover, he does this at a very stripped back level, yet you can get an essence understanding of his descriptions as well as of his odd view on things happening.

[Further interpretations on his work are to be found in my blog: http://studentblogs.acu.edu.au/myimpressions/%5D

Due to this my understanding of his literature was very poor in the beginning. Yet it turned out to be much clearer and I gained a very clear image of the bleakness of the bush and the related loneliness of the people living there.

“Lawson is able to stimulate my imagination within little text, so that I grasp a picture of the bush, the concrete setting and its poor living conditions, rendering me a new insight into Australian everyday life. He appeals to my senses, rising emotions to a greater understanding of the harshness the outback offers and hence minimizes the romantic view on this part of the country.[1]
Lawson’s pieces of writing increased my awareness of the inequity Australian Aboriginals were faced with and how wrong it actually is to complain as non-Aboriginal about the bush’s harshness, as it was to some extend the free will or ambition of Europeans to settle down in this area and to earn a good living. I trace my opinion also back to the impressions I gained while reading other poems (e.g. Dunlop Hamilton, Eliza : The Aboriginal Mother, Kinsella 31) and by reading Kate Grenville’s book The Secret River.

dark land

I value Lawson’s ability to depict Australia in a very realistic way, especially as he experienced many events on his own[2], so that I regard him as a very trustworthy writer. Hence I enjoy the immediacy and truthfulness that lays in his art. Especially tends to depicts ordinary people with colloquial English (e.g. Rats). Therefore it can be said that Lawson is like Malouf provided with the skill to detect extraordinary elements within the ordinary.


[1]Stephanie Heinen: http://studentblogs.acu.edu.au/myimpressions/%5D

[2] For example does Lawson‘s walk from Bourke to Hungerford build the background to his sketch “Hungerford”, where he glimpses satirically at the drought in that area.

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