THE HOUSE THAT WAS NEVER BUILT BY HENRY LAWSON I’ve choosed The House That Was Never Built by Henry Lawson as a subject for me to discuss on the relevant theories in it. After reading and analysing the story, I’ve discoverd psychoanalytic criticism is the most relevant theories that suit with the main character and the narrator himself. What is Psychoanalytic Criticism? Psychoanalytic Criticism here means when the narrator apply methods of treating emotional and psychological disorders in literature.
Sometimes it also reflect the narrator’s childhood traumas, family life, sexual conflicts, fixations, and such will be traceable within the behaviour of the characters in the literary works. At the beginning of the story, everything seems normal where the narrator describes about the place and the life of the people. Then, when the narrator talk about the main character that is the bushman he starts to describe him as a madman through bushman’s actions and words. …..
At first I thought he was going to built a stone hut in the corner, but when I got close to him I saw that he was working carefully on the original plan of the building: he was building the unfinished parts of the foundation walls up to the required height…… ” ….. “That house must be finished by Christmast. ” “Why? ” I asked, taken by suprise. “What’s the hurry? ” “Because,” he said , “I’m going to be married in the New Year-to the best and dearest girl in the bush. ”….. I sense madness in the bushman’s behaviour when he wants to continue building the unfinished house alone.
The work that need several men such as carpenters and bricklayers sounds impossible for a man like him to build a two storied house himself. He also mentioned about finishing the house by Christmast clearly showed to us that nobody can make it on time alone. He tried so hard to realise his dreams ignoring on what the other people’s think or say about him. The bushman also having a mental disorder when he mentioned about married a girl in the New Year. He was mixing up with his past and the present. The actual situation was, he already married the girl nd the girl died a year after she was admitted to the assylum. The pressure he had to face changed him from a normal person to a madman. ….. ”Could you postpone the marriage? ” I asked. “No! ” he exclaimed, starting to his feet. “No! ” and he looked round wildly on the darkening bush. There was madness in his tone that time, the last “No! ” sounding as if from a man who was begging for his life. “Couldn’t you run up a shanty then, to live in until the house is ready? ” I suggested, to soothe him. He gave his arm an impatient swing. Do you think I’d ask that girl to live in a hut? ” he said. “She ought to live in a palace! ”…… …. ”I am sorry,” he said, “that there’s no one at home. I sent the wife and family to Sydney for a change. I’ve got the two boys at the Sydney Grammar School. I think I’ll send the eldest to King’s School at Parramatta. The girls will have to get along with a governess at home and learned to help their mother. ”…… The narrator uses the physic energy (libido) when he creates the bushman as the person who always in dreams and fantasies.
His desire was the motivating force for him to keep on going with his dreams. An inordinate desire to win honour and the love of women make his madness became worst. He lives in his own world, he tried to realised his dreams even though his actions were out of the track as a normal person. The narrator creates the character of the bushman as a person who never smile, always avoid eye contact, try to make his impossible dreams come true, talk about his wife and children that was never exist, and his unstable character.
We can see clearly the unstable character of the bushman and mental disorder when he talk about his never exist family and how he manage the children to the best school in Sydney. Who is the Bushman? He is the son of the richest people in the bush. He is known as young Brassington the person that all the people were talk about whom getting married to a girl that comes from another richest family. The planned was, to build a big house and while waiting they are going for their honeymoon for twelve months and when they came back, the house should be finish and ready for them.
All his plans were ruined, the honeymoon was cancelled, his wife died a year after she was admitted to the assylum and the constructions were stop. This issues provides a great impact and caused him mental disorder. …. I don’t suppose he looked at me half a dozen times the whole while I was is his camp. When he spoke he talked just as if he were sitting yarning in a row of half dozen of us…. ….. He folded his arms tight, and seemed to me to be holding himself. After a while he let fall his arms and turned and blinked at me and the fire like a man just woke from a daze or rousing himself out of a deep reverie. Oh, I almost forgot the billy! ” he said. “I’ll make some tea-you must be hungry. ”…… …… One thing I noticed about him;when he spoke as a madman, he talked like a man who had been faily well educated (or sometimes, I fancied, like a young fellow who was studying to be a school teacher); his speech was deliberatel and his grammar painfully correct-far more so than I have made it; but when he spoke as an old bushman, he dropped his g’s and often turned his grammar back to front….. ……
The hatter warmed the tea-billy again, got out some currant buns, which he had baked himself in the camp-oven, and we were yarning comfortably like two old bushmen, and I had almost forgotten that he was “ratty”, when we heard the coach coming. I jumped up to hurry down to the road. This seemed to shake him up. He gripped my hand hard and glanced round in his frightened, haunted way. I never saw the eyes of a man look so hopeless and helpless as his did just then. “I’m sorry you’re going,” he said, in a hurried way. “I’m sorry you’re going. But-but they all go.
Come again-we’ll all be glad to see you. ” I also sense a personality disorder at young Brassington’s character when sometimes he act as he was talking to a dozen of people and suddenly he will change into a normal person. When he is the bushman, he can talk normally, make some tea and serves some meal to his guest even though he never knew who his guest was, where he came from or what he was doing in those area. He could talk about his experiences through wandering all over Australia and his speech slightly change, he dropped his g’s and often turn his grammar back to front.
He was able to regain his sanity when he had a company, a person he could talk with and shares his stories. But, when he as a young Brassington, he brings all his dreams around him. Loneliness, hopeless and helpless will suddenly change him from a normal person to a madman that act as all the person in his dreams were alive. The way he talks will change deliberately with correct grammar, like a true gentleman. Through reading and analyzing the main character of the story, I strongly believe that Henry Lawson put himself as the character of young Brassington.
The character and the story line were related to his life. Based on his depression and unsuccesful marriage, he creates the character in order to unleash his mental ilness and depression. He describes young Brassington as a loneliness and hopeless person closely related to him as he was suffering deafness and facing the unhappy marriage. He was able to regain his sanity through his writing just like young Brassington who was able to be normal when he has someone to talk with.
In conclusion, the criticism in this story clearly showed to us how a person transfer his mental ilness and depression to another medium. As we can see, the narrator put all his life experience and feelings to the story and the young Brassington gather all his effort to built the house himself due to remain his sweet memories. Although Henry Lawson and young Brassington were facing almost the same problems, whether they were insane or not, the most important aspects is their spirit on making their dreams come true should motivate us to keep on going with our life.