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In this essay I am going to compare and contrast the darkness out there by Penelope lively and the withered arm by Thomas Hardy.

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Introduction In this essay I am going to compare and contrast the darkness out there by Penelope lively and the withered arm by Thomas Hardy. Two short stories themed around prejudice and superstition. Penelope Lively's story is a modern day depiction of one girls prejudices being reversed after spending an afternoon with an old lady and a boy her age. The children find out the old lady is not as sweet and innocent as she appears. In contrast the withered arm features much more superstitious behaviour due to the era the book was written in. the stories are linked with the high level of and prejudice. In the darkness out there the story begins with Sandra and Kerry who are part of the 'good neighbours club' and are going to visit Mrs Rutter. The way the first paragraph is written highlights the fact that Mrs Rutter is supposedly an innocuous, innocent old lady. We know this because Pat describes her as "Mrs Rutter at Nether cottage...She's a dear old thing, all on her own, of course, we try to keep an eye. A wonky leg after her op. and the home helps off with a bad back this week." The writer chooses to adopt a stereotypical view of the lush English countryside but then switches the focal point to the deep contrast of the ...read more.


The withered arm is about a woman named Rhoda who had an illegitimate child with farmer lodge. Rhoda is very bitter of the fact that she has not got farmer lodge as a partner. The reason for this is that she is in a lower social class to him. Farmer lodge got married to Gertude. The story opens with milkmaids chatting about the marriage of farmer lodge and Gertude and they acknowledge quietly that they should not gossip too much as to offend Rhoda whose illegitimate child is the farmers son. Then we find out that Rhoda's 12 year old son has always been unacknowledged by the farmer we know this because he ignores the boy when he sees him in town (market place) with Gertude. Later Rhoda has a vision in which the hand upon which the new brides wedding ring was on became withered. There is a chance meeting between the boy and Gertude in which she promises to bring him a new pair of 'hoot's' which she does later that day out of pity and kindness. Gertude visits the boys house frequently to talk to him and his mother (Rhoda) #as they become better acquainted Gertude reveals her arm has some strange markings in it just as if someone had grabbed it just like in Rhoda's dream. ...read more.


The Thursday before the Saturday of the hanging farmer lodge had to go on business and was very sorry he could not take Gertude with him but he was surprised at her want to stay home there was a time where she would beg the opportunity to go with him. She travelled by horseback to the jail on the Saturday with a note to the servants to close up as normal at 10pm if she has not yet returned. She arrives in Casterbridge and realises she should use her beauty as a pass key into the jail, so she finds out where the hangman lives and goes to visit him and later befriends him. The next morn at noon the man was hanged and later brought fourth for Gertude to touch, she tentatively she touched the mans neck where the noose had lied which indeed turned the blood like Trendle had said but as it did so farmer lodge and Rhoda entered the room to claim the body for burial. Gertude collapsed at the sight and never regained consciousness and died three days later Rhoda and farmer l;odge were only seen occasionly after the event but never in Casterbridge Rhoda returned to her parish whilst farmer lodge moved away to Port-Bredy. COMPARING WITHERED ARM TO DARKNESS OUT THERE WIDE READING ASSIGNMENT WILLIAM HAMBLIN 11 SUA ...read more.

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