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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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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