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

How does Thomas Hardy create and maintain a sense of mystery and malignant, uncontrollable forces in "The withered arm".

Extracts from this document...


Pre twentieth century literature Thomas hardy How does Thomas Hardy create and maintain a sense of mystery and malignant, uncontrollable forces in "The withered arm" Thomas Hardy creates and maintains mystery and malignant, underlying forces by using symbolic descriptions of the setting, the atmosphere and the strange unguessable plot. Thomas Hardy sets the story in the fictional village of Holmstoke. Holm means home and stoke means fire. This gives two impressions, one of a nice cosy warm story, but it also gives the impression that fire is also connected with bad things like Hell and witchcraft. This makes you start to wonder what the story will be like. Thomas Hardy uses natural settings to contrast with unnatural events or behaviour. The heath is used a lot because of this. He also uses the heath because it helps create atmosphere and because it is outside he also uses the weather to reflect the characters mood. An example of this is when Rhoda and Gertrude cross the heath to see Conjuror Trendle and Rhoda does not want to and "would have done anything to escape this enquiry", the weather and the atmosphere reflect her dread of what will happen. ...read more.


Thomas Hardy uses Conjuror Trendle a lot to help create mystery and uncontrollable forces. Just the fact that conjuror Trendle lives on the heath starts to make the reader feel a sense of mystery because the heath represents the weirdness or the story. Trendle also helps create mystery by doing magic in secret and not openly "He did not profess his remedial practises openly" and it also helps that he was in disguise. He was disguised as a dealer in furze , turf sharp sand and other local products". He had to be disguised because people in that time were very superstitious. I think Thomas Hardy uses Gertrude to help create a sense of uncontrollable forces, this is because things are happening to her mentally and physically which she has no control over. Also because the things that are happening to her are unexplainable, it helps create and maintain malignant uncontrollable forces. Hardy illustrates this physically when her incredible beauty is which is described as "the light under a heap of rose petals" becomes ruined and scarred by her withered arm; and mentally when she turns from a very nice person to an "irritable, superstitious ...read more.


Thomas Hardy uses many different languages effects. He uses similes and metaphors, to describe Gertrude "her face as comely as a live doll's" and her face "like the light under a heap of rose petals". Hardy also uses extended imagery when he uses the river outside the executioner's house to link him to the village, "it stood close to the same stream". He also uses personification in describing the river "the waters of which emitted a steady roar". Thomas Hardy shows us which characters are "common" and which aren't by having the "common" ones use dialect. The only person not to use dialect is Gertrude. Another important factor in creating and maintaining a sense of mystery and malignant uncontrollable forces was the plot. The vision coming true and Rhoda beginning to doubt herself really draws the reader in to the story. I think it was a very effective ending giving no clear answers like yes, Rhoda was a witch or not or no, it was all a coincidence and leaving it up to the reader. That really helps maintain mystery In conclusion I think that by using the characters, settings and a strange plot, Thomas Hardy successfully creates and maintains mystery and malignant forces in the withered arm. Iram Tariq 1 English coursework ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Thomas Hardy - analysis of three poems. Afterwards, During wind and rain ...

    3 star(s)

    In the opening line of 'After a Journey' 'Hereto I come to view a voiceless ghost', eliminates the possibility of speech. Again, the poem deals with the immanence of memory and the production of an image of Emma; an image of courtly love.

  2. Who or what do you think is to blame for the tragic events at ...

    at the chance. He says in a written account of himself: "The moral uses of enforced rest are readily estimated. From a restless life of irregular hours, and probably endless drugging, from hurtful sympathy and over-zealous care, the patient passes to an atmosphere of quiet, to order and control, to

  1. The attitudes and beliefs which influence the outcome of the story 'The Withered Arm' ...

    Gertrude becomes obsessed with her arm because she knows that the way she looks results in how much Farmer Lodge will love her too. She said to Rhoda "Men think so much of personal appearances" and she is right. Farmer Lodge starts to find her less and less attractive because of her withered arm.

  2. Compare two mystery stories; 'The Superstitious Man's Story' by Tomas Hardy and 'Night-Fears' by ...

    'The Superstitious Man's Story' is quite easy to explain, due to the presence of superstition, where as L.P.Hartly's story-'Night-Fears' can have two possible explanations. L.P.Hartley's story is about a night watchman guarding a factory after First World War. He has not slept for two nights and lack of sleep together with loneliness starts taking over his mind.

  1. How does Hardy create a sense of tension and terror in "The Withered Arm"?

    The Heath on which Rhoda Brook lives is described as a "lonely spot high above the water meads" The description makes it seem vulnerable to nature and at its mercy but mostly secluded from society. The Heath is described as having a "dark countenance" this idea of the brooding presence

  2. Read the Short Stories the Three Strangers By Thomas Hardy, and a Vendetta By ...

    'His hat hung low over his head.' It is evident that the stranger doesn't want to be recognised in the house. Overall, Hardy gives the impression to the reader that the man did not want to be recognised, and he did not want too many questions to be asked about him.

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

    her community: "disappeared from the neighbourhood", this reflects the vindictiveness between community gossip. The community assumed that Rhoda Brook had superficially persuaded Farmer Lodge to have a child with her, using the act of witchcraft, and her powers of extra sensory to supposedly trap him.

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

    the fact she did not conform to the rules of society, and due to this she was accused of having magical powers.We see when the new bride arrives Rhoda has some sort of obsession of what she is like, we this when she tells her son, 'you can give her

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