• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Who or what do you think is to blame for the tragic events at the ends of the three short stories - "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy, "The Melancholy Hussar" also by Thomas Hardy, and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Extracts from this document...


Who or what do you think is to blame for the tragic events at the ends of the 3 short stories? In your answer you should compare the effects of the following contributing factors: * Values and attitudes of 1800s * The characters and personalities of the females * The attitudes of the community towards the female characters * The role and influence of men The tragic events at the end of the three short stories "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy, "The Melancholy Hussar" also by Thomas Hardy, and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, are not the consequence of any one cause in particular. There are many different causes that could explain the tragic events, and these will now be investigated. A woman's activities and learning completely depended on how well off they were; whether they were a rich lady or a poor woman. In Hardy's "The Withered Arm" and in another of his books "The Melancholy Hussar", we see examples of both: Gertrude Lodge and Phyllis are the well off ladies, and Rhoda Brook is the poor milkmaid. They didn't choose what they wanted to be, they were just born that way. There are clear differences between a lady and a woman: a poor woman was not educated (which was very bad in the 1800s), but the rich lady was educated (but only on the skills that she would need to help her get a husband); the poor woman married a working man for a better money income and chose who she married, but a rich lady would usually marry someone that her father chose. ...read more.


The tragic event at the end of "The Melancholy Hussar", is the shooting of Matth�us Tina and his friend Christoph Bless. The actions of Phyllis and her personality explain why they were shot, but society can explain Phyllis' personality. Phyllis Grove is extremely isolated and secluded living with her father in a "half farm, half manor-house". The mention of a manor house suggests that she is wealthy and a member of the higher classes of society. Society enforces the characteristic that all high-class ladies should have a husband. She was being 'owned' by her father, as it was with all daughters and fathers. She had not yet got married because she does not want to become "a possession of another". However, she ends up falling for and getting engaged to marry Humphrey Gould, which was not socially common considering that he was of lower class than her. He had to leave town for a while to tend to his sick father because there were no other relations nearer. He promised he would "return to Phyllis in a few weeks". However, these few weeks pass, followed by the next season but he didn't return. Phyllis was not very inquisitive when the German Hussars camped near to the town, because she became very shy living in seclusion in the manor house: "became so shy if she met a stranger...she felt ashamed at his gaze, walked awkwardly, and blushed to her shoulders". ...read more.


The result is always at first, whatever it may be afterwards, a sense of relief, and a remarkable and often a quite abrupt disappearance of many of the nervous symptoms with which we are all of us only too sadly familiar." The Rest Cure and the way that John her husband has acted to her illness are examples of how men have authority over women. The main female becomes more and more interested with the yellow wallpaper, slowly discovering new things about it. Her mental condition continues to worsen and she starts to think that she can see people behind the wallpaper, a woman, trying to get out. This woman could be a representation of the main character in society. Trapped, and unable to break free of all the laws and regulations. Eventually, she becomes nearly completely insane due to her being trapped in he room for three months, having to constantly look at the yellow wallpaper. She starts tearing bits off, trying to free the women behind, but also to get rid of it because it was driving her insane. At the end of the story, the main character loses her mind and speaks as though she was the women she had seen behind the wallpaper, and she had finally got out and couldn't be put back: "I've got out at last...I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Thomas Hardy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Thomas Hardy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Thomas Hardy - analysis of three poems. Afterwards, During wind and rain ...

    3 star(s)

    Here, we may take "they" to mean also both ancestors and 'postern' who have heard and will hear the bell throughout history. At the end Hardy looks on after death recalling the title of the poem 'Afterwards'. Moreover, there is the image of those who will come after Hardy, gazing to the night skies and remembering the poet.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Explore the role of nature in the first three sections of the novel "Tess ...

    3 star(s)

    to be punishing her, or she punishes herself by working herself too hard. It is then revealed that Tess has a newborn baby, which is widely regarded as the greatest gift Nature offers. For Tess, and for man, however, this separates her from them - she has sinned in their

  1. Good women- Bad men?

    women with bastard children to ask for their children to be buried. But I think the main reason is social construct. Tess's lover Angel Clare is seen by Tess as wonderful man, until Tess tells him of her troubles with Alec in the past, where Angel becomes extremely agitated and

  2. 'Father and Son' by Bernard McLaverty - short story review

    They both fear for the son's safety, hiding weapons in order to protect against any potential threat. The father's weapon is a gardening implement, that is within the boundaries of his experience but he is outraged when he sees his son with a gun.

  1. On The Western Circuit by Thomas Hardy

    In the market square, she soon finds Anna and demands that she comes home. The account of Mrs. Harnham and her conversation with her butler could be Hardy's own reflection of his marriage to the vicar's daughter in Cornwall. Perhaps it was a reflection of Hardy's own wife and her conversations with her father.

  2. The characterization and lives led by Gertrude Lodge and Rhoda Brook in Hardy's The ...

    When Gertrude suggests the visit to Trendle, the reader can see how Rhoda Brook reluctantly agrees to go, and how she dreads Trendle informing young Gertrude about the cause of her withering arm: "ruined irretrievably", this enables the reader to share in Rhoda Brook's feelings because of the skill Hardy employs in his use of language.

  1. Compare the Ways in Which Susan Hill and Thomas Hardy Present Their Narratives of ...

    Events that do not happen to Arthur are being known to the reader in a manner which suits the story. Hardy uses his characters in a different way. Unlike Hill, where the moral classifications are immediately set, Hardy's characters have no obvious categorisation into hero, friend or villain.

  2. How Thomas Hardy portrays women in his stories, the withered arm, the distracted preacher ...

    This jealousy links in with the superstition of that time when Rhoda's dream about Gertrude having a withered arm comes true. At that time everyone believed each village had it's own witch. The witch could curse victims and make limbs wither or in extreme cases fall off.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work