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How women are portrayed in the Wessex Tales

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Wessex Tales Coursework In this essay I will explore the ways that Thomas Hardy portrays women in his book the Wessex Tales. Women's reputations and their appearances were of paramount importance. A woman's role during 1840 and after in society was to look very decorative towards men. In the tale "The Withered Arm" there is two main female characters Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge and from the very beginning of this tale these two women are contrasted, mainly because of their appearances. Gertrude Lodge is described as a "rosy cheeked, tisty-tosty little body" while Rhoda Brook is describes as solitary, "thin" and a "fading woman of thirty" While Gertrude is described as blooming and beautiful like a flower in full bloom. Rhoda is described as a withered old flower which has been neglected. This description is true, because Farmer Lodge neglected Rhoda, because she was getting older and he only went for young, beautiful and attractive women. Farmer Lodge sonly after he had neglected Rhoda for the beautiful Gertrude as a good replacement. ...read more.


The reader maybe has sympathy for Mrs Fennel, but Hardy is trying to convince the reader that she isn't a nice woman. In the tale 'The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion' there is only one main female character, Phyllis Grove who lives with her father. Phyllis is a single woman and thinks her future is merely bleak while she is living with her father on a farm. In reality, Phyllis wanted a man to love, marry and be with for the rest of her life. This is shown when Hardy says 'the daughter's seclusion was great' and she 'became so shy that if she met a stranger...she felt ashamed at his gaze, walked awkwardly, and blushed to her shoulders'. Hardy makes the reader learn that every man or stranger walks past Phyllis she blushes and feels embarrassed to talk to him, even if she likes him. When the German army came to were Phyllis lives, one of the Hussar's notices Phyllis, she immediately likes the Hussar soldier and Hardy writes a short sentence to make out Phyllis wasn't blamed for liking him. ...read more.


During the tale, Farmer Darton describes Sally to a close friend as just being 'simple'. This tells the reader that Darton doesn't think Sally is really anything special just a woman he can begin to love for a couple of years and then divorce and move onto another young woman who is desperate to marry a wealthy man When Sally is waiting for Farmer Darton to turn up with her wedding dress, she says to her mother; 'I don't care if he comes or not'. This shows that Sally isn't really that keen on marrying Farmer Darton in the first place and is showing that there relationship is on leaps and bounds and there is a weakness between them. Throughout all the tales of Thomas Hardy, portrays women differently in each individual story. Hardy describes some women in his tales as weak and vulnerable, whereas in other tales they can be strong minded and independent. Hardy does this to create a lot of tension for the reader to be engaged in the lives of woman during the 18th century. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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