Andy's Gone With Cattle Symbols, Allegory and Motifs
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Written by Maria Nicola
From the first stanza of the poem, the idea of a battle between man and nature appears .The battle is a symbol for the struggles the Australian common people had to face as a result of the harsh weather. The battle is a struggle for survival and Andy is fighting against nature itself in order to make sure that his family is stable financially. While many would believe that man has no chance in when confronted with the power of nature, the people living in the 19th century in Australia had no other choice if they wanted to live. Because of this, the battle represents a crucial element in the poem, being the idea on which the rest of the poem is built on.
The character Andy is a symbol in the poem and it is used by the writer to make reference to the ordinary people who lived off farming and raising animals. Andy is every man and woman who chose to live of what the earth produced and who was forced to leave their family and go searching for fertile lands.
Aunty and Uncle
The aunty and uncle that appear in the poem also have a symbolic meaning. Just like Andy stands for those who left their families to go droving, the aunty and uncle who wait for the safe return of Andy represent the families left behind. Those families were aware of the dangers droving represented yet they were forced by unfavorable circumstances to accept the possibility of one of more of their family members going away. The families left behind could do nothing for those who were away apart from hoping that their family members will return home safe.
In almost every stanza, a reference is made towards the weather, thus making it become a recurrent motif. The weather is presented as having a great influence over a man’s life. Bad weather can mean death for a man and his family while rain and vegetation is linked with prosperity and life. The weather is mentioned frequently in order to emphasize the power it had over a man’s life during those times and also to show how much weather can influence a family as a whole.
Another recurrent motif is the idea of longing, the desire to see someone who has left in a faraway land. While the separation was sometimes inevitable, the family left behind still felt the absence of their missing family members. The whole left by those who left could not be filled by anyone else and often the absence of those who left was felt by every relative, distant or close in equal measures.
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