• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast Hardy's presentation of the two women throughout 'The Withered Arm'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast Hardy's presentation of the two women throughout 'The Withered Arm' Hardy is very successful and skilful in controlling the reader's response to "The Withered Arm". In the very first chapter, we can see how Hardy focuses our attention in order to control our response. We can see that Rhoda Brooks is a lonely figure set aside, but Hardy's skills make us want to know more about her and why she is lonely when the other milkers refer to her. The first chapter is intriguing. We constantly want to find out more about the mysteries character of Rhoda Brooks, who we notice is sitting apart from the other workers, and later find out also lives apart from the other workers. By the end of the chapter, we assume that Rhoda is a rejected girlfriend of Farmer Lodge. We deduce this from the clues in the language used by Hardy. At the time that Hardy was writing, the life of a poor woman was harsh. They were thought of as second-class citizens and had poorly paid jobs such as milkmaids and wee dependant on their men, which Rhoda had lost. Most women married men such as Farmer Lodge for security and money, also most rich men married women because of their good looks so they could show them off. ...read more.

Middle

We find Rhoda afraid and wanting to hide, the nightmare left a bad impression on her. She expects to see the same features as the ones she had formed on her mind, and is quite surprised when she meets her. We see that Rhoda begins to like Gertrude, but also suffers a conflict on emotions. Gertrude brings Rhoda's son some boots which she had promised, lifting this stereotypical thought Rhoda had on her. Just as they were getting to like each other Gertrude revealed her arm, casting a cloud of guilt over Rhoda. Hardy makes us share Rhoda's puzzlement at the coincidence of her dream and Gertrude's afflicted limb. This makes the nightmare become more frightening as we learn that Rhoda did conjure up an incubus, but the two rivals have become friends. At this point the tension mounts and the idea of the malignant powers worries us further. This tension is maintained because the arm does not better and we wonder about the outcome of all this. Rhoda often asks to see the wound, and seems fascinated by the clear indication of the marks of four fingers which are increasingly visible. Gertrude relies on Rhoda for a sympathetic understanding of the growing estrangement between herself and her husband, who 'knows the disfigurement is there'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gertrude's meeting with the hangman reveals her obsession: she has in fact prayed each evening for some 'guilty or innocent' person to be hanged Rhoda and the hangman having a discussion in which she says: 'o- a reprieve- I hope not!' Here she is saying even if the person is innocent she hopes he will not be let off. Through out the story it is full of irony- you have farmer Lodge marrying to have a son, even though he has one which he does not recognise. Hardy chose not to give the illegitimate son a name; this may be because Lodge failed to recognise him, even though he wishes for a son: 'I once thought of adopting a boy!' Gertrude befriends the boy but unknowingly wishes for his death, in which when she finds out the identity of the hanged man she dies from shock. The denouement of the finial gruesome meeting between the two women brings all interaction to an end. The scene is highly dramatic and needs few words. This is where we learn that it is Rhoda's son that has been hanged and due to this Gertrude's 'blood had been turned indeed- too far'. Rhoda and Gertrude had been running the same race just with a staggered start, Gertrude managed to overtake Rhoda but in the end Rhoda finished first. Avninder Gidar - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Thomas Hardy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Thomas Hardy essays

  1. Discuss Hardy's use of the supernatural element in The Withered Arm. To what extent ...

    As I said earlier Hardy knew conjurors and liked to use memories of his youth in his stories. The location of Thomas Hardy's town also meant that conventional methods would have been applied to earn a living as there was not much technology, people did not get remedies from doctors and instead used conjurors or fortune tellers to help them.

  2. The characterization and lives led by Gertrude Lodge and Rhoda Brook in Hardy's The ...

    When the arm is mentioned it somewhat deteriorate further: "It is rather worse", this shows that for each repetition the reader is suppose to recognize the fact that the arm is deteriorating. Furthermore, one may imply that the arm is mentioned for dramatic affect, as every time the reader encounters the arm it has subsequently got worse.

  1. Discuss the relationship between Rhoda and Gertrude in The Withered Arm.

    As soon as Gertrude arrived to the village she started giving out gifts to the poorer people around the village. Rhoda who had decided that she ' wouldn't even look up at' Gertrude 'if she were to pass' her

  2. Thomas Hardy "The Withered Arm" and "The Sons Veto".

    Gertrude is seen to be a 'benevolent' trophy wife and a conventional woman of her time. When the women at the dairy gossip of the new bride we see what they think of her, 'Rosy-cheeked, tisty-tosty little body enough.' From this we see that she is shy and that she is a 'lady' unlike Rhoda some say.

  1. Compare how Hardy and Shaw present women. To what extent do they use this ...

    Hence we feel sympathetic towards her when she has to work at Flintcomb - Ash, where the "stubborn soil" and "stony lachets" make working condition very horrific. Shaw describes Eliza as "not all a romantic figure" to highlight that this is the consequences of her living conditions; she lives in

  2. How does Hardy portray his grief and loss in The Voice?

    The breeze is described as listlessness which tells us that the breeze was very gentle. In the third stanza Thomas Hardy uses coinage of terms to create the word wistlessness, this is a made up word to rhyme with listlessness to keep the mood of the poem and for it to flow easier.

  1. Good women- Bad men?

    Alec also comes back to Tess at the end of the story, which some men would never do. But some say that he only came back to her for sinister reasons. He is also a preacher when he and Tess meet again, this could mean that Alec has really changed and that he has turned over a new leaf.

  2. Who suffers most in 'The Withered Arm'?

    left Rhoda, he married Gertrude who also suffered a lot throughout the story. She was described by the society as a beautiful, innocent, lady like young women, 'But she's very pretty - very. In fact, she's lovely.' Hardy also uses a simile to portray Gertrude's beauty, '...soft and evanescent, like the light under a heap of rose-petals.'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work