• 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)

    By using the word 'whim', Hardy possibly wants the reader to understand how he feels, as if justifying himself for viewing his wife as a ghost, he is out of control. The latter is also emphasized by the line 'Up the cliff, down'.

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

    Due to the fact farmer Lodge attended the court case and also in the process lied, it allows one to suggest that his wedding vows to Gertrude Lodge were neglected and betrayed. Both women suffer to an extent but one more so than the other, as Rhoda Brook is financially

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

    Rhoda was seen to be an unconventional woman but she was also strong willed and knew how to face society. The actions that took place in her life were frowned upon by society, however; she takes the blame for whatever crime was committed even though Farmer Lodge was involved.

  2. On The Western Circuit by Thomas Hardy

    Within the scene which Hardy describes perhaps there is a lustful longing for the young girl, maybe here Hardy is thinking through his own unhappy marriage situation and looking for an escape. Hardy then goes on to describe Mrs. Harnham as a lady who lives in a house in the remote corner of the square.

  1. How does Thomas Hardy delelop suspense and tension in order to maintain the reader's ...

    Rhoda struggled and then "In a last desperate effort, swung out her right hand, seized the confronting spectre by its obtrusive left arm, and whirled it backward to the floor." The dream is extremely real and frightening for Rhoda, and it changes the story completely for the reader.

  2. Compare and contrast at least two of the female characters in two or more ...

    At this point in the tale, I had no sympathy for Gertrude Lodge, who had become selfish enough to hope for a fellow human being's death, even though her affliction was not her own doing, she became obsessed and let it take over her life and lose her closest friend, and husband.

  1. How does Hardy use his knowledge of the Bible, Art, the universe and Wessex ...

    From the point of view of Mrs Yeobright's experience of rejection by Clym, the novel echoes the themes and actions of Shakespeare's play King Lear, as it explores the themes of the parent-child bond, pride, arrogance, misunderstandings, justice, blindness and madness.

  2. The return of the native by Thomas hardy - review

    Many men cut and gather furze for bonfires, but Eustacia and Mrs. Yeobright are horrified and ashamed that Clym becomes a cutter. Heath Customs 11: The gipsying is a custom the villagers enjoy heartily. The heath-folk very much enjoy singing, dancing, and socializing; this gipsying, which is a picnic and

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