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'Rhoda and Gertrude suffer equally, but in different ways. How far do you agree with this statement?'

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Introduction

Daniel Godfrey Mrs. RH Churchill Coursework 29th of January The Withered Arm- Thomas Hardy 'Rhoda and Gertrude suffer equally, but in different ways. How far do you agree with this statement?' Although it is arguable whether Rhoda and Gertrude suffer equally, I agree that they suffer in different ways. They both struggle unsuccessfully to gain Farmer Lodge's love although neither gains this,although they both go o great lenghs to try to achieve this feat. I think that Rhoda and Gertrude suffer constantly throughout the story, which is ironic as they are the cause for most of each others suffering.I feel that Thomas Hardy's potrayal of the suffering of the characters is both sarcastic and cynical. After reading the story it is obvious that suffering and unrequited love is the theme. This love is present in both the characters. In the beginning of the story we are introduced to Rhoda Brook. It starts in a field, with milkmaids talking while milking the cows. 'The discussion waxed so warm that the purr of the milk-streams became jerky, till a voice from another cow's belly cried with authority, "Now then, what the Turk do it matter to us about Farmer Lodge's age, or Farmer Lodge's new mis'ess! ...read more.

Middle

Soon after this she has a weird dream involving Gertrude. She suspects that she has somehow cursed Gertrude unintentionally. The prediction is realised soon after Gertrude's arm becomes disfigured. This causes Rhoda immense guilt as she has done this to Gertrude. She is remorseful and annoyed with herself that she harbored such feelings towards Gertrude as to unconsciously cause this ailment. As Gertrude's arm slowly shrivels, she is caused mental pain as well as physical. She is seemingly discarded by Farmer Lodge, which draws comparisons with Rhoda previous affair with him.I feel that this conveys how alike Gertude and Rhoda are,which leads the reader to believe that the story shall end in much the same way, Gertrude losing his affection. She is annoyed at her husband's lack of enthusiasm for trying to cure her arm. This leads to Gertrude becoming isolated from her husband by trying thousands of remedies and ancient potions. It becomes an obsession for Gertrude, more so after all her attempts fail miserably at achieving her goal. In this period of the story, Gertrude is blinded from Farmer Lodge's detestation of her condition. This becomes apparent from hearing how Gertrude has grown out of favor with her husband. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rhoda lives the rest of her life in seclusion, away from civilization. She takes herself out of the local community as if punishing herself for the previous problems. She dies without love or friendship, much like Gertrude. I feel it is hard to compare both their suffering as equal as they both suffer differently.On one hand Rhoda suffers more mental pain but on the other Gertrude suffers this and physical pain. In my opinion,to agree with the statement would be to agree that mental anguish and physical pain are equal. Overall, I agree statement.Gertrude dies with the burden of her doingd but Rhoda must live with hers Therefore I think that I would agree lightly with the statement although to do so would be stating that physical and mental pains are equal. On the other hand, I do strongly agree with the fragment of the statement that they suffer in different ways, although they are the cause for most of each other's dismay. I feel that the two characters go through a lot of suffering for the love of one man, a love that I feel neither of them receives.I feel that the writers sarcasm is evident towards the end of the story,by judging the society of the time, where male dominance was evident. ...read more.

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