"Lawson's Stories display a great empathy for the ordinary person."

Essay by bee5Junior High, 8th gradeB+, November 2006

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Henry Lawson portrays the lives of ordinary, everyday people in his short stories living in harsh, hostile circumstances and going about their daily lives. Whether they are dealing with death, tough marriages, alcoholism, depression, isolation, loneliness, or natural disasters he manages to draw such great empathy from his readers with his fluent words of description and capability to write in a way we understand the characters and share their emotions and feelings.

The Drover's Wife describes the life of an unnamed mother of four, whose main goal is to keep her family safe from all harm. We as the readers cant help but to feel such empathy f this women who risks her lie to fight bushfires, ride for miles on horse back carrying her deceased child, suffers through labor without a decent doctor and will sit up all night to protect her children from a snake which lurks in the cracks of their one roomed house.

She has to go through so much without any support from her husband who leaves for months at a time droving. Empathy is proven all throughout this tale but when she sits, alone of a night and finds humor in her misfortune we realize how brave and genuine she really is. Some may even come to idolize The Drover's Wife. To end the story a simple quote from her oldest child to add a sign of care "Mother, I won't ever go droving, blast me if I do."

The bush undertaker is another story that entices compassion from its readers. The reality that the old Shepard in this story lives such a lonely and isolated life, away from all civilization, only left to interact with himself, his dog and his lifeless friend Brummy is heart-rending. Recognizing that there are many people like...