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The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy: Rhoda Brooke - a thin, fading woman

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The Withered Arm The first three chapters are mainly focused on Rhoda Brook and you instantly recognise how emotionally isolated she is, other members of the milking farm chat together about the happenings of the past week in their neighbourhood of Holmstoke but Rhoda does not seem to join in, she is described as. " A thin, fading women of thirty that milked somewhat apart from the rest." The use of the word "fading" indicates that she is seen as a stranger in the background and she is ignored because she fading into the surroundings. The phrase "milked somewhat apart from the rest." I believes that Hardy is trying to tell us that she is not a social person and that she "milks apart from the rest" not just specifically at the dairy but in all public places. She stays away from social attention. It is also interesting how Rhoda does not respond to the people talking about her and shows that this has been going on for a long time and she is used to this happening. ...read more.


Farmer Lodge has married a young women called Gertrude and in the story, the impression that is given is that he has only married her because he wants to look good in public, he sees her as a "Status Symbol". "Mr Lodge, he seemed pleased and his waistcoat stuck out and his golden seals hung like a lords." Farmer Lodge goes to church with his new wife and wearing all his finery and best clothing. This is to emphasize that he wants to look good at public occasions. Gertrude's arm begins to worsen and farmer Lodge shows that he is selfish by beginning to not love her anymore because of her appearance. "Half a dozen years passed away, and Mr and Mrs Lodge married experience sank into prosiness, and worse. The farmer was usually gloomy and silent." Farmer Lodge now dislikes Gertrude because of her arm and their marriage is suffering. ...read more.


It was in the exact same place where Rhoda had grabbed her in the nightmare, and it appeared on the same night. Rhoda didn't tell Gertrude about the dream as she feared she would loose her new found friend. Gertrude Experimented with lots of cures, both scientific and magical. None worked and the mark got worse. She went to see a conjurer who told Gertrude it was Rhoda who inflicted the wound. Gertrude and Rhoda stopped talking, and six years later Gertrude still hadn't got rid of the mark. During the six years Mr. lodge had grown less fond of Gertrude and her arm. Rhoda's son had been accused of arson and was set to be hanged. Coincidently Gertrude had been told that if she rubbed her arm over a freshly hanged mans neck her blood would "turn" and she would be cured. She had no clue that the boy she rubbed her arm on was Rhoda's son, that is until she turned around to see Rhoda and Mr. lodge standing behind her she realized who it was and died of shock. ...read more.

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