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Introduction & Overview of Drought Year by Judith Wright

This Study Guide consists of approximately 16 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Drought Year.
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Drought Year Summary & Study Guide Description

Drought Year Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Study on Drought Year by Judith Wright.

If Americans know any of the work of one of Australia's premier poets, Judith Wright, they are likely to know "Drought Year." The main reason is the poem's inclusion in the popular American collection The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1988). "Drought Year" is among Wright's most distinctively Australian poems because of its use of plants, animals, and sites specific to Australia. As such, the poem serves as an excellent introduction to not only the work of Wright, but modern poetry from the "land down under."

"Drought Year" is from Wright's third volume of poetry, The Gateway (1953). The poem's narrator finds herself witness to a drought in the Australian outback, a witnessing that becomes a warning, one repeatedly punctuated by the cries of dingoes, wild dogs indigenous to Australia. Wright represents the drought as nature, powerful and intimidating, a nature to be avoided. At the same time, the animals and plants subject to the drought represent another side of nature: nature as victim—except, that is, the poem's wagtail, an Australian bird taking advantage of the drought's killing fields by pecking out the eyes in a "seething skull." While Wright's drought is, in no uncertain terms, a hellish matter, the multiple kinds of nature she portrays (frightful drought, tormented animals, opportunistic wagtail) renders nature too complex to easily sum up. This is most likely the reason Wright selected the dingoes' enigmatic cries as the poem's recurrent and eerie motif.

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This section contains 239 words
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Poetry for Students
Drought Year from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.