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

How women are portrayed in the Wessex Tales

Extracts from this document...


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.

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. How Thomas Hardy portrays women in his stories, the withered arm, the distracted preacher ...

    Even though she has this evil side, you see that she does contain some sympathetic qualities. For example Rhoda recognises the "gruesome fascination" which leads her to find Gertrude but she is unwilling to tell her where to find Conjuror Trendle for fear that she will lose Gertrude's friendship.

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

    her life is boring after she got married to Mr Twycott and now spends most of her time on her hair as she has nothing else to do. 'To the eyes of a man viewing it from behind, the nut-brown hair was a wonder and a mystery.

  1. Good women- Bad men?

    But this judgement can be counteracted by him luring Tess into marriage by calling her his by right and in the eyes of god. Tess is easily made to feel guilty (which Alec knows) and so uses this as a way to get Tess to marry him, making him a bad man.

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

    she is aware of being better off than others around her and so does not want to flaunt her wealth and social status, whereas Farmer Lodge "seemed pleased" with the attention. This gives the reader a negative impression of Farmer Lodge, while the reader warms to Gertrude even more, as she comes across as a very genuine, selfless person.

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

    In Return of the Native, Hardy writes from the point of view of an agnostic as his characters, although uneducated, question traditional beliefs. Conventional Christian religion is conspicuous by its absence in the novel. Although the Church did play a central part in most rural communities at the time, in

  2. 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.

  1. A comparison of 'Old Mrs Chundle' by Thomas Hardy and 'A Visit Of Charity' ...

    The curate cannot understand why anyone would lie about going to church. He is not able to cope when things become difficult or messy and he gives up. When the smell of Mrs Chundle's oniony breath blasts into his

  2. Compare the effects of the values and attitudes of the 1800s on the role ...

    In these stories he would incorporate many different subjects such as the superstition beliefs of the times, the reality of coincidence and fate, the influences and attitudes particularly in a small community and the most obvious the inequalities between men and women in society.

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