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The Withered Arm

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"No One Knows How To Love, All Relationships Are Dysfunctional". In this essay, I will be talking about the story by Thomas Hardy "The Withered Arm". Throughout the essay the main statement I will be discussing is "no one knows how to love, all relationships are dysfunctional" I will be explaining all the relationships between the four main characters Rhoda Brooks, Gertrude Lodge, Farmer Lodge and The Boy. Firstly there's Rhoda Brooks who has many relationships in this story. I will be talking about her first relationship, which is with Farmer Lodge. Rhoda and Farmer Lodge used to have a past, Rhoda had an affair with Farmer Lodge and during that affair Rhoda got pregnant. Farmer Lodge left Rhoda to bring up their son alone. This was because the Rhoda that he had fallen in love with for her stunning looks had got old and was fading "a thin fading women of thirty" this shows us that she was getting older. Farmer Lodge wanted nothing to do with this boy because he was illegitimate so after Farmer Lodge died he would not have been able to inherit all of the riches Farmer Lodge had. This tells us that the type of love that Farmer Lodge had for Rhoda was sexual, physical and superfitual. The love that Rhoda had and until a certain extent still does have was admiration, obsessive and unrequited she loved him loads but he had no love in return for her. ...read more.


Mrs lodge suddenly inquired, after a long pause" this shows that the idea that Gertrude suggested has been blamed on Rhoda so we get the idea that Gertrude has seen something bad involving Rhoda, whilst getting her arm checked by the conjuror. This is may be one of the reasons Gertrude's attitudes to Rhoda. From this we gather that there is friendly love at the beginning of their relationship but towards the end all the love is gone. Furthermore, we have the relationship of Rhoda Brook and the boy, her son, Rhoda does not have a very strong relationship with her son, they don't talk much and Rhoda only talks to him when he needs him to do something for her; for example spying on Gertrude. So we can see from this relationship that Rhoda was not a very good mother to her own son. Then we have farmer lodge he has many relationships in this story, but he is main is with Gertrude. Farmer Lodge left Rhoda and married a new wife who was 'years younger than him' named Gertrude. When farmer lodge turns up with his new wife he shows her much affection, the main reason for this is because of her young age and beauty, 'my pretty Gertrude'. So again he is using Gertrude for her charming looks, like he did Rhoda, this shows that farmer Lodge's love for Gertrude is not anything to do with her personality at all. ...read more.


The boy's relationship with his mother is not a very high-quality relationship, she just seems to use him for her selfish needs and pleasures. So we can tell that he suffers from neglect from his mother and his father. Finally we have the relationships of Gertrude Lodge. Gertrude at the beginning of the story was a very kind and charitable person she was helping around the town giving and caring for the people in the town. But her attitude change towards the end of the story when conjuror Trendle says that the only way she can cure her "Withered Arm" is by touching a corpse, she then begins to pray that someone dies just so she can heal her arm Lord, hang some guilty or innocent person soon!" This shows us that she has changed her charitable love has gone she has become self-obsessed with her arm. So we can see that the people that Gertrude loved and cared for are no longer loved and that she has changed the way she acts and thinks to heal her arm. She has love for Farmer Lodge at the beginning of the story but then that love turns into obsessive love. In conclusion to this, I have decided that some of the relationships are functional to a certain extent and that at the end of the story all the relationships fall apart and all the relationships become dysfunctional. Rhoda being jealous, feeling cheated. Farmer Lodge: selfish, unfaithful. Gertrude: self obsessive, old and the boy unloved and neglect. WORDCOUNT: 1,436. Aakash Pandya 10A2 English ...read more.

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