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

In the Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy, who do you feel more sympathy for Rhoda or Gertrude.

Extracts from this document...


In the Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy, who do you feel more sympathy for Rhoda or Gertrude. The Withered arm is typical of Hardy's novellas, as it is a tragedy. It involves two main characters, Rhoda and Gertrude. Rhoda and Gertrude both have their own different problems that the must face. Rhoda and Gertrude become friends after they first meet. Rhoda had an illegitimate child to farmer lodge who marries Gertrude. Before Rhoda and Gertrude meet Rhoda does not know what Gertrude is like so is bitter about the idea of her marrying farmer lodge who hardy hints Rhoda is still in love with. Rhoda is described to be old before her age and works as a milkmaid. She receives no help in the upbringing of the boy she had with farmer lodge so she works hard to care for him. The other milkmaids talk about her and they start to talk about the subject of farmer lodges new wife. This part makes you feel some sympathy for Rhoda as she is being talked about when she is still there. Because of the times Rhoda was not at all respected for bringing up a child on her own but instead she was treated as a social outcast. ...read more.


In allot of the other parts of the story you feel sorry for Gertrude and her afflicted arm but this chapter must be remembered as Rhoda was scared and the vision gave an incorrect view of Gertrude she could not be to blame for Gertrude's arm. When the two women meet, they become friends. They are both alone as they don't have a social equal. Rhoda is scorned as she gave birth to an illegitimate son and Gertrude is the farmer's wife, which is quite an important position so she also has no social equal. The friend ship between farmer's wife and milkmaid seems an unlikely one but in retrospect it makes allot of sense. At this point in the story when the two women first meet you feel sorry for Rhoda more than Gertrude as you do not know the full extent of the injury and the only thing to feel sorry for her is the fact that she is a nice women who Rhoda hurt. Rhoda on the other hand has to live with the guilt that she hurt this woman who is being so nice to her and her family. ...read more.


In those times women did not travel far without men. The town is only about 15 miles away but that is still too far. She borrows one of the farm horses when Farmer Lodge says that he is away on holiday. You feel sorry at her desperation as she is only doing this so farmer lodge will like her for her physical beauty but she does not seem to mind. The body that she touches happens to be Rhoda's son and farmer Lodge is with her. You feel sorry for both the women equally as much at the end of the story but for different reasons. Rhoda has had her whole life taken away from her however little it was and Gertrude has now died as a result of trying to improve her physical beauty. In conclusion I think that you can not feel more sympathy towards either woman as they are both in the same boat and it is because of each other that they had so much grief and hardship. If they had nether met or had anything to do with each other then they would not have been like they were. It was all a matter of situation and circumstances. ...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. The characterization and lives led by Gertrude Lodge and Rhoda Brook in Hardy's The ...

    Also Rhoda Brook was isolated from the community and was driven out of her town, one may also imply that this is a reason for the boy to commit crimes to survive, as he was not familiar with his surroundings.

  2. 'Rhoda and Gertrude suffer equally, but in different ways. How far do you agree ...

    We are first introduced to Gertrude while traveling with her new husband. She soon encounters a young boy, Rhoda's son. It's possible that she becomes annoyed with Farmer Lodge over his reluctance to comment on the boy. I feel that this is the first time Gertrude senses a connection between the two.

  1. To what extent do you believe that there is a fateful inevitability to Henchard’s ...

    to make the wrong decisions, for example confiding in Farfrae or selling his wife. When he gives Jopp the job, Hardy writes "that characters deteriorate in time did not occur to Henchard." The decisions he makes are normally spontaneous, irresponsible and often callous.

  2. How does Hardy portray his grief and loss in The Voice?

    He does this as he only wants to remember her for the good times and good memorys they had together not the bad ones. Thomas Hardy's wife, Emma is referred to by Hardy as a "Woman much missed" she obviously meant a lot to him.

  1. Discuss the relationship between Rhoda and Gertrude in The Withered Arm.

    Un known to her, the hanged man that 'turned her blood' and cured her arm was the son of her old friend who brought about her misery. When Rhoda saw Gertrude touching her son, she thought of neither their past relationship nor her wrong to Gertrude.

  2. Analysing The First Two Chapters of 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' and How They Act ...

    This makes the reader want to continue reading to discover the role and significance of the character. Hardy uses language effectively to get the appropriate mood and atmosphere. He uses sufficient imagery when he wants to give the reader a detailed description of the scene.

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

    She becomes very conscience stricken between the two men; will she go with her father's choice (Humphrey) or her romance Matthaus? She decided the best thing to do was to conform to society and her father and marry Humphrey, "She would stay at home, and marry him, and suffer."

  2. How The Mayor of Casterbridge reflects the social, historical and cultural influences of the ...

    Affairs in those days were total scandal and if people learnt about them, those involved would face a life of misery, being mocked by those around them. Nowadays a relationship that does not end in marriage is commonplace, but in those days it was very serious.

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