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AS and A Level: Thomas Hardy

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Five key concepts for a discussion of Hardy's novels

  1. 1 Irony.
  2. 2 Fate.
  3. 3 The pathetic fallacy.
  4. 4 Pessimism.
  5. 5 Agnosticism.

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  1. With reference to the first seven chapters of 'The return of the native', show how Hardy uses the novels setting to develop character.

    The weather upon the heath through the early chapters is somewhat harsh, "the storm was its love, the wind was its friend" yet still the characters persist to roam the heath at night, Eustacia especially, searching endlessly for an escape. One good example is where Eustacia awaits Wildeve upon a barrow, but she utters a sigh as she waits, pondering whether he will arrive, "thrown out with the winds, it became twined in with them". It is events like these which Hardy gives us insight to, that we can see the development of the characters, for example, this is just another step of Eustacia becoming even more heavily buried within the land.

    • Word count: 997
  2. Critics have often claimed that the principal 'character' of this novel is Egdon Heath itself. Explore Hardy's description and portrayal of the Heath from this point of view. What is your view of its role and personality?

    The heath has a broad, symbolic role in The Return of the Native- it is the unity of place; where all events take place. The entire novel is played on Egdon and in turn, the heath plays on its characters. Such importance will no doubt have a 'character' of its own. The heath can be characterized by a "chastened sublimity" and described as "a place perfectly accordant with man's nature". The heath is personified as a man when the narrator describes it as "slighted and enduring" with a "lonely face" and "the storm was its lover; and the wind was its friend".

    • Word count: 1223
  3. How does Thomas Hardy create tension and suspense in "The Withered Arm"?

    It is important for an opening chapter to pose questions because it makes the story more attention-grabbing and it will make the reader want to read on. The type of questions that Hardy pose's about the characters and events in chapter one are questions such as, "Tis hard for she" and "He ha'n't spoke to Rhoda Brook for years" it makes you wonder what had happened in the past to Rhoda Brook. The first significant moment of tension in the story is Rhoda's dream.

    • Word count: 1062
  4. Thomas Hardy - 'Isolated figures denied the fulfilment they crave by forces that appears to conspire against them'. To what extent is this true of the characters' lives from your understanding of The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion?

    Despite of first impressions, Gould is, in fact, "poor as a crow" but he gives an impression of having class status. The marriage arrangements were not based on love but were simply a convenience, which results in it being for material security rather than a romantic affair. Gould is then forced to leave to for Bath, an excuse about his father covering up his "pecuniary condition" leaving Phyllis bemused. The date of his return passed and winter arrived. This change of season is a metaphor, which represents the colour of Phyllis' mood, described now as "lonely in the extreme" as she had no knowledge of why her husband to be had delayed his return.

    • Word count: 2228
  5. Through the two main characters of Rhodaand Gertrude the writer allows the reader to know his opinion on gender equality at the time.

    This leads the reader to think what Rhoda has done in order to be isolated from the group and be treated with such an obvious mix of contempt and sympathy. The initial conversation in the workplace also highlights how differently men and women are treated and how differently their roles in life really are. The reader can see that Rhoda and Farmer lodge have some kind of history and they are aware of what people's reactions to Rhoda are, yet it is clear that the man, who has presumably participated in the same secretive affair is treated with a more positive and accepting attitude.

    • Word count: 1042
  6. Analysing The First Two Chapters of 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' and How They Act As A Prologue To The Rest Of The Story.

    His disinclination to go to the furmity tent is shown when he says, "I've never tasted it.' At this point, he finally shows some responsibility as he 'gave way to he representations...'; the 'her' being Susan. His carelessness is again shown on page six, where he gets drunk from the excessive rum in his furmity. He then goes on further, when he states how he got married too young. Michael puts himself and Susan in great shame when he auctions her.

    • Word count: 3224
  7. Show how the social, cultural and historical contexts of the early 19th century, as revealed in Hardy's short stories, contribute to the 'reality' and effectiveness of the characters and the events he creates.

    The different classes often didn't get on very well. These are social points. Also, another social point is that the farmer's wife would go out and give charity; she would help the poor and the needy. Some historical points would be the tools that were used on the farm and all the cows were milked by hand. Hardy writes, 'When the milking was done they washed their pails and hung them on a many-forked stand made as usual of the peeled limb of an oak-tree, set upright in the earth, and resembling an colossal antlered horn.'

    • Word count: 843
  8. 'I thought it was the end.' I watched my own son slowly; painfully pass away for a crime he didn't commit. I couldn't believe that it was happening. Why? I kept asking myself and I just couldn't find an answer.

    He seemed as if he needed something, like he wanted me to give it to him. I enquired as to what he wanted. But then I looked closer at the expression on his face, it was clear now that it was company that he wanted. He picked me up and led me to his house. At first we were just talking and everything was fine although a little surreal but that was soon to change. Thinking about it he didn't take advantage of me as I would have said a few years back it just happened.

    • Word count: 1541
  9. "Discuss the character of Clym Yeobright in 'The Return of the Native'. Do you consider that his altruism is genuine or a vehicle for self-fulfilment?" Discuss.

    His character gives the lives of the members of the Heath a sort of extension, when he is in Paris they are able to both live through, and aspire to him, making him an important part of the Heath regardless of his absence. Hardy presents him as a product of the heath, saying "hardly anybody could look upon it without thinking of him." In the novel characters are defined by their relation to the Heath, so seemingly, with Clym practically being the quintessence of it, he and Eustacia would form an ideal couple.

    • Word count: 776
  10. Discuss how Hardy introduces the characters of the three women, how their fates are intertwined and what importance they have in the rest of the novel.

    She is first introduced, unnamed, in chapter two, when she is seen by Diggory Venn on the mount of the Heath on bonfire night. She is poetically described, "Such a perfect, delicate, and necessary finish did the figure give to the dark pile of hills that it seemed to be the only obvious justification of their outline." Chapter five of the novel is then dedicated to her, entitled 'The Figure against the Sky', as is chapter seven, 'Queen of Night' in which Hardy gives the reader various passionate descriptions of Eustacia, referring to her as "the raw material of a

    • Word count: 953
  11. Compare the Ways in Which Susan Hill and Thomas Hardy Present Their Narratives of Suspense and the Supernatural in the Woman in Black and the Withered Arm?

    Therefore person, place and object create a very effective example of the scenic code in The Withered Arm by Hardy. Hardy uses his flair for being succinct and concise to not only decrease the amount of words needed to tell the story, but to also increase the amount of hidden and inconspicuous messages in the written and spoken dialogue. This can explain the amount of detail in the book in relation to the length of the story. The concealed details give indications and suggestions into events further on.

    • Word count: 1758
  12. Who or what do you think is to blame for the tragic events at the ends of the three short stories - "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy, "The Melancholy Hussar" also by Thomas Hardy, and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    By these two facts, it is clear to see that women were simply thought of as possessions of men, nothing more. This is illustrated in Hardy's "The Melancholy Hussar": she considered herself "likely to become a possession of another". Wealthy men had to go through a lady's father even to make her acquaintance: "made her father's acquaintance in order to make hers". Rich women hired poorer women to work for them as housecleaners and maids. This is an example of how class was considered to be important in Victorian society.

    • Word count: 1928
  13. "The Withered Arm" and "The Superstitious Man's story" - Explain what makes them examples of a 'good short story'.

    Rhoda and her son left town because Rhoda understood why and how it got there. Gertrude got worried and went to get help of a local man. She was told that "for it to be cured she must touch with the limb the neck of a man who's just been hanged." Afterwards she went to Casterbridge where a hanging was to take place. She next did what she had been told to do and as she was doing so she found that Rhoda and Farmer Lodge were behind her, due to the person who had been hung was Rhoda and Farmer Lodge's son.

    • Word count: 1527
  14. The withered arm, a short story written by Thomas Hardy, this story is written in a different way to some of Charles Dickens short story such as 'trial for murder'.

    They judge farmer lodge about his age and his marriage "Years younger than he say... "Thirty or so..." "More like forty" Rhoda Brook was one of the milkmaids but she did not take part in the conversation because she is judged by society for having a child with farmer lodge outside marriage. Through jealousy Rhoda tells her son to find out details of Gertrude, Farmer Lodge's bride and even more so to find out if she is better looking than Rhoda when she was younger.

    • Word count: 1382
  15. The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy: Rhoda Brooke - a thin, fading woman

    " Tis hard for she, signifying the thin ,worn milkmaid" The word "worn" shows that even though she seems to be ignoring the gossip about her, its is wearing her out inside and she is emotionally worn as well as physically worn. Rhoda is referred to as a "she" , not a person but an inferior being because of her disgraceful affair with the wealthy farmer Lodge. "He hadn't spoken to Rhoda for years." This is a statement made by another milkmaid, this is significant because upfront it obviously means that farmer Lodge has not has anything to do with

    • Word count: 859
  16. In the short story entitled the withered arm, Thomas Hardy introduces us to a world in which single, working class women, are faced with enormous difficulties. A rich farmer called Lodge has dumped Rhoda Brook a milkmaid in her 30s.

    Just because she was a woman. Men were very sexist and just used woman as sex objects. Men went for good looks and never would they see how there personality was. This would off made Rhoda Brook think she was worthless and she wouldn't have the confidence in herself again. We realize that farmer Lodge is in many ways a self-centered man. At the moment where his son meets Lodge and Gertrude, as he drives his new wife Gertrude into the village for the first time, he feels very awkward.

    • Word count: 2020
  17. How many mlies to Babylon? - Why does Alec kill Jerry?

    This is probably not because he is in anyway antisocial but he knows no children of his own age. An additional thing that brought the pair together and made them more inseparable was their passion for horses and horse riding: especially racing. Their dream of one day training horses, for Alec, and, for Jerry, riding them becomes even more realistic and clear when they name lots of famous race courses 'Newmarket...Longchamp...Ascot'. Another was the fact that Alec taught Jerry to ride in return for fighting lessons after Jerry easily dominated Alec who was almost twice Jerry's size at the bank of the river.

    • Word count: 1146
  18. The Withered Arm - Trace the developing relationship between Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge. How does Thomas Hardy use the supernatural to engage the readers' interest, build up tension and keep the story going?

    When we are first told about Rhoda Brook she is portrayed as a woman in her early thirties who hasn't aged to well. She is a milkmaid working on a farm for most hours of the day not having much time to rest. She has a twelve-year-old son although she isn't married and we don't find out the identity of the father until the end of the story. Rhoda lives in a small cottage, built out of mud blocks, on the side of a hill.

    • Word count: 1045
  19. Love and Jealousy within'

    exceptionally jealous of Gertrude as she is young and beautiful and everything Rhoda isn't now, furthermore she knows any hope of Rhoda getting back together with Farmer Lodge had vanished when Gertrude appeared of the scene, this jealousy had come to such a breaking point that to the result of this during a night Rhoda had a real to life nightmare of Gertrude being in her bedroom, the jealousy of Gertrude exquisiteness had been too much for her to take and caused her to fling this image of Gertrude off her bed.

    • Word count: 1212
  20. In this essay I am going to compare and contrast the darkness out there by Penelope lively and the withered arm by Thomas Hardy.

    woods in Packers End, "She walked through flowers, the girl, ox-eye daisies and vetch and cow parsley...It was a rank place, all whippy sapling and brambles and the gully with a dumped mattress and bedstead and an old fridge. And, somewhere, presumably, the crumbling rusty scraps of metal and cloth and... bones?" When Kerry and Sandra amalgamate at the cottage Mrs Rutter instantly suggest Kerry does all the work while Sandra sits and talks with Mrs Rutter, for the best part of the conversation witch takes place it is bland but pleasant, they talk to each other playing on each

    • Word count: 1357
  21. Read the Short Stories the Three Strangers By Thomas Hardy, and a Vendetta By Guy De Maupassant. Compare and Contrast the Way the Authors Develop a Sense of Mystery In These Stories.

    The setting for Maupassant's story builds up mystery too. It opens with a horrific murder. On page 201, we are told that the victim was 'treacherously knifed'. This is important, as straight away there is some action in it, which makes us wonder what's going to happen next. This is a clever way to build up mystery. Like Maupassant's, Hardy's story gets to the point almost straight away: 'an incident had occurred' (page 133). This is mysterious, because it doesn't tell you what the incident was until a little bit later. This builds up suspension and mystery very well.

    • Word count: 2171
  22. A directors notes for Hoodwink.

    DOOR BURSTS OPEN O'DONOGHUE- You fucking cunts set me up + Pauses + What are you doing 187 lockdown by kung fu, tune kicks in as matt says 'thirty....' Bass kicks in as camera cuts to group playing cards NARATIVE - SHAH - Thirty minutes ago we were all mates, now look at us. Right old mess this turned out to be, it was meant to be the easiest job in the world. Camera cuts back In time to the same room, LOUCA, SHAH and PARKER are all drinking and playing cards round a table.

    • Word count: 1411
  23. How does Thomas Hardy create and maintain a sense of mystery and malignant, uncontrollable forces in "The withered arm".

    "The thick clouds made the atmosphere dark" and it was only early after noon and "the wind howled dismally". Hardy also uses the weather to help him describe the changing of time like at the beginning of a paragraph. All the gossip was going on in "winter" and by the end of the paragraph it's "in the spring" I think Hardy also uses the changing of the seasons as a sort of metaphor to symbolize the changing of the characters.

    • Word count: 1173
  24. Hardy's Tess of the D'urbevilles is a product of its times. Discuss this statement.

    Women were often marginalised and double standards prevailed. Furthermore, women were judged and valued in terms of their appearance. "How pretty she is; and how that best frock do set her off!" Tess is constantly complimented on and this elucidates the importance of physical appearance for a woman in a Victorian milieu. Angel goes so far as o use the term as a proper noun, substituting her name for a word which describes her appearance. "Is it too sudden to be asked thus, my Pretty?" Through constant usage of this phrase, it depicts the fact that Angel loves Tess mostly because she is beautiful and this further elucidates the values of the 18th Century context.

    • Word count: 731
  25. A letter to Mr.Lodge from Thomas Brown.

    How wrong we were, our problems started just a few weeks after we arrived. Gertrude awoke one evening with a few marks of unhealthy appearance on her left arm. This affliction gradually took hold of her arm making it look extremely unpleasant to the eye, because of this I found Gertrude less attractive and we began to drift apart, which I must confess was due to my moodiness and remorse. She saw a doctor on a regular basis but he was unable to do anything for her.

    • Word count: 753

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