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The Withered Arm - This story belongs to the collection of Hardy's "The Wessex Tales"

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Introduction

THE WITHERED ARM This story belongs to the collection of Hardy's "The Wessex Tales" The withered arm was inspired by a local story about witchcraft. The story is about a lower class woman called Rhoda who has an affair with an upper class man called Farmer Lodge, they have a son. Lodge shows no interest in his child. Twelve years later Farmer Lodge gets married to an upper class woman called Gertrude. Rhoda was jealous of Gertrude. One day Rhoda had a dream that she hurt Gertrude's arm. The following day Gertrude shows Rhoda her arm. Rhoda was shocked to see it. Gertrude later asked Rhoda if she had some medicine for her arm because it was getting worse. Gertrude asks Rhoda to go with to see a medicine man who is into witchcraft but Gertrude does not mind because she wants her arm back to normal. ...read more.

Middle

People believed it was pointless to educate women and some people never educated their sons because they did not have enough money. Hardy portrays Rhoda Brook and Gertrude as contrasting characters .Rhoda is often portrayed in a negative light and Gertrude in a positive light. Gertrude is portrayed as a poor unmarried single mother, ageing, tall and dark but proud. Rhoda is a jealous, bitter and obsessive woman of the lower working class. On the other hand Hardy portrays Gertrude as an upper class lady, married but childless, she is easy going, very kind, generous and caring. Hardy describes her as a young woman, fresh face, short, plump and rich because of her large house that has a lot of land behind and in front. Rhoda's house is described as a hut with mud walls. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also fell in with the wrong people and was accused of arson and then got hanged for it. In Rhoda's view Gertrude was evil and this was seen as a vision and not a real thing. We know this because in the story Rhoda said "this is the meaning of what Satan showed me in the vision! You are like her at last!" Gertrude was an innocent victim. She was vain and obsessed with being perfect but it was the societies fault because of the gossip and the image of Gertrude as being a lady and not an outcast. Lodge is also made to look irresponsible because he abuses his status and the power it gave him in society. Also he was insensitive and did not support Rhoda. He was selfish and uncaring. Overall I think Farmer Lodge is more to blame because he did not care for Gertrude or Rhoda. ...read more.

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