How far do the ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘Squeaker’s Mate’ question traditional gender binaries? Introduction Gender binary refers to the division of the world into aspects that can be regarded as either masculine or feminine. The masculine aspects relate to men while the feminine aspects tend to relate to women. Gender binaries connote that men and women have many differences, yet at the same time they can be regarded as having many commonalities. The gender divisions with regard to gender binaries can be with regard to a number of aspects. This paper will look into how the Squeaker’s Mate and the Drover’s Wife question traditional gender binaries. How the ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and ‘Squeaker’s Mate’ question traditional gender binaries The two stories question the gender parity that existed between men and women in the traditional Australian society.
In “The Drover’s Wife”, the hardships faced by the women in Australia are discussed by the author. According to Lawson, the Australian society glorifies men, but the women are left to suffer and they cannot address the difficulties they face. However, Lawson portrays women as people who play crucial roles in society.
This can be seen with the drover’s wife. In the story, the author says that “while the children have already slept, their mother (drover’s wife) does not sleep. ” Rather, she sits and sews and reaches for her stick when she hears some noise. This is an indication of her love and care for her children. The drover’s wife also questions gender binaries by indicating that a woman can take her place in the homestead and act like a man. This is the case when the author says “the thunderstorm and the wind go through the cracks of the house and are about to blow the candle. ” In this context, the drover’s wife looks for a newspaper and covers the candle in order to prevent it from been blown off.
In the traditional society, such roles used to be a preserve of men. However, the author portrays a woman carrying out such roles (Spurr & Cameronm 2000, p. 121). The “Drover’s wife” talks about a strong woman who, despite the gender parity in the Australian society, struggles endlessly to make sure that her children remain safe in a bush, in Australia.
For example, the life of the bush woman (main character in the story) is characterised by emptiness, as well as challenges that inhibit her success. This can be seen in the context where she has to preserve poor conditions in the house; the house in which she stays is not properly built and it can be destroyed by extreme weather conditions.
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