In the most anthologised Henry Lawson stories, the Australian environment, identified as the bush, is a harsh opponent to the hardened individuals who struggle to survive against its onslaughts. In My Brilliant Career this idea is present, but is tempered by various portrayals of rural life: Possum Gully is countered by Bruggabrong and Caddagat, and also Barney’s Gap. Barney’s Gap, home of the M’Swats, is an important component, because without it the difference would only be an economic one – Caddagat is pleasant because of wealth and Possum Gully becomes unbearable through poverty. But Franklin’s picture of Australian rural life is a more subtle representation that invites more considered analysis.


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