Theme and message

Table of contents

Survival

The theme of the short story “The Drover’s Wife” by Henry Lawson is survival.

The characters in the story live in harsh conditions, in an isolated and dangerous environment. The drover’s wife is responsible for protecting her four children. The only help she can count on is the family dog, Alligator. The dog’s presence is vital to their survival, as suggested by the line: “They cannot afford to lose him.”  However, the drover’s wife fears that a snake might eventually kill him: “he has killed many, but he will be bitten some day and die; most snake-dogs end that way”. This highlights her fear that their chances of survival in the outback are low. 

The four children have been taught to recognize dangers and react accordingly: “Four ragg...

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