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

Compare "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy and "The Schoolteachers Guest" by Isabelle Allende.

Extracts from this document...


"The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy and "The Schoolteachers Guest" by Isabelle Allende although written a century apart both are similar: they involve a son dying, close communities and both span long periods of time. In contrast, Hardy's 19th century short story is set in rural England whereas Allende sets her story in South America both of which strengthen the credibility of the stories. Although they start in different manner both set out to fascinate the reader, Hardy chooses to set the in great detail and brings it altogether at the end, Allende chooses to hit the reader with a shock and fills out the background using a series of flashbacks. During this piece of coursework I shall look closely at parts 1,3&9 of the Withered Arm and the whole of The Schoolteachers Guest and how they engage the readers interest and convince of their reality. To begin with Hardy describes the working atmosphere of an eighty-cow dairy in which we find one of the protagonists of the story. Immediately the reader is transported into the believable yet fictitious setting of Wessex, rural England. The language used backs up and adds to the verisimilitude of the story: "He do bring home his bride tomorrow." ...read more.


This raises the question, 'Is this real?' Rhoda asks when it happened and when Gertrude mentions the exact time and date of Rhoda's incubus. Hardy's era would have been very superstitious and people like Rhoda would have believed themselves to possibly have supernatural powers that help the verisimilitude of the story. At the end of the chapter the reader is left wondering what will happen between Rhoda and Gertrude a point that will keep the interest of the reader. The final chapter has Hardy showing us how fate has a major part to play in how the story finishes. His attention to detail brings to the reader the reality of the current situation: "One o'clock on Saturday... County jail 1793." Gertrude still has the withered arm and her final option given to her by a conjuror is to touch the neck of a man just hung, hence her visit to a county jail. Hardy begins to build slowly and dramatically to the climax by giving each detail of Gertrude's actions: "she crossed the inner paved court beyond he gatehouse, her knees trembling so that she could scarcely walk." ...read more.


This is a point that fascinates the reader as it helps to explain a lot of occurrences especially the murder. The narrative ends with the death of the schoolteacher Ines that releases the people from their duty to keep the murder secret. Allende changes her style from second to first-person, as though she was around when all of this happened: "the death of the schoolteacher freed us, and now I can tell the story." Allende keeps the story present tense, which helps to make the reader feel a part of Agua Santa as all is happening before their eyes. Finally both stories are convincing in use of technique. Hardy and Allende have settings, which convince the reader of their verisimilitude; Hardy's characters actions are accepted because are set, though in Britain, a century ago and gives them licence to do things that would otherwise be cast aside as nonsense. Despite their contemporary nature, Allende's characters are acceptable as they are in a different land and culture; it is because of such strong credible settings the reader is able to accept the goings on. Despite an age difference of 100 years each author has the skill to captivate us. By Paul Southern ...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 ...

    of it', which is what her husband initially said about her arm, this essentially is the beginning of her down fall. Her mind starts to play games with her and an example of this is when she sees the image of Rhoda in the water and egg, she probably thought

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

    The withered arm is also used to reflect common beliefs held at the time the story was written, as woman were thought to have powers to conduct witchcraft. Everything that could not be explained accounted for as witchcraft. Again the differentiation between men and women was if men had supernatural

  1. 'Rhoda and Gertrude suffer equally, but in different ways. How far do you agree ...

    the corpse.The realistation that Gertrude is going to touch the corpse reinforces the change in her personality '"Oh, thank you! I would rather do it this way, as I should like it kept private.""Lover not to know, eh?""No - husband."

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

    The two women's attitude towards each other changed drastically. Gertrude became cold and distant towards Rhoda and Rhoda instead of feeling 'guilty' 'possessed' a sense of triumph, she felt that Gertrude 'should learn that' it was not only her life that was set at odd by 'other influences than' her 'own'.

  1. The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy: Rhoda Brooke - a thin, fading woman

    Rhoda since the affair but also that the milkmaid is talking about Rhoda as if she wasn't there but she is only a few metres away. Rhoda lives in a small hut not far from the border of Egdon heath, it is basic but her and her son seem to be coping alright .

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

    In the 19th Century, women had to conform and obey the strict laws of society. You had to be strong if you were to break these rules like Rhoda, whereas like Gertrude she conformed to society's laws but also she broke under the demands of society.

  1. Deception is a Driving Factor in the development of the narrative. Discuss this suggestion ...

    deceived by Florizel, but in turn Polizenes is deceiving Florizel by being disguised. In the same way Leontes attacks Hermione. He has her put in prison whist she is still pregnant with his unborn child although he believes differently at the time.

  2. Compare and contrast the ways in which Thomas Hardy presents Troys seduction of Bathsheba ...

    He describes the scenic view of the field as it is covered with ?plump Diaphanous.? This place is reflective of the serenity that Bathsheba enjoys in her reason, and it also reflects the beauty of her innocence that has been untainted, like field has an untainted colour, by her suitor?s scandal.

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