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'Almost all of Hardy's heroes stand aloof from life, even play the role of spectator or onlooker... Certainly he has created more credible heroines than heroes' discuss this quote with reference to at least 3 of Hardy's stories

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'Almost all of Hardy's heroes stand aloof from life, even play the role of spectator or onlooker... Certainly he has created more credible heroines than heroes' discuss this quote with reference to at least 3 of Hardy's stories The statement is true, to an extent, Hardy develops his female characters in greater depth than his male character, causing them to play a more prominent role during the story. However, the male characters play a more influential role than spectator or onlooker, often providing the basis of the story, despite the reader not being aware of their characteristics. This feature is typical of Hardy's work. Many critics believe this focus on female characters is largely due to Hardy's upbringing; for the most part of Hardy's childhood his father was away and subsequently he was brought up by women. He was born, and lived the greater part of his life, near Dorchester, and the county town of Dorset. Most of what he wrote is set in Dorset and other neighbouring counties. To this section of south-west England he gave the fictional name Wessex, and called his first collection of short stories Wessex Tales. Very often either the whole story or details in it can be traced to experiences known to the Hardy family or some members of it. ...read more.


The writer pokes gentle fun at the girls: "and away walks Unity Sallet, though she looked back when she'd gone some way to see if he was following her." The final sentence in the story is a good example of the gentle irony that runs through the piece: regarding the wedding between Tony and Milly, "everybody in Long Puddle was there almost" the obvious exceptions were Unity and Hannah! Another feature of Hardy's writing is the use of words that are not in common usage in the English language today, including local dialect. An example of this is when Gertrude offers money to Conjourer Trendle, "He would not take a farthing", a notable feature of the short passage is the use of the use of the word farthing, being part of the currency abolished back in the 1970's, this is a word which you would not expect to be used in current times. Also, he also uses words that were not being used even then. This could relate back to Hardy preferring the past style of life which he would have experienced in his younger years. Both The Withered Arm and Tony Kytes: the Arch Deceiver show how young women can be misled by somewhat more experienced men. This is shown by their innocence and tendency to follow the male initiatives, to the extent that the young ladies in the Tony Kytes story are even willing to suspend common sense and ludicrously conceal themselves beneath tarpaulin. ...read more.


She is restricted to the wheelchair and it mirrors her class situation. It shows that she can never leave her class, and it will also be there to stop her doing what she may want to do, such as marrying Sam. Also, the wheels on the chair could represent the monotony of her life, as they have no other purpose than to go around in a circle, eventually becoming broken and unusable, this could be comparable to Sophy's life where she supposedly dies from a 'broken heart'. Overall, the female characters do play a more important part than the male characters, which often makes the male characters slip into a spectator or onlooker role. However, I believe that such characters are essential to the story, as both male and female characters are used to convey Hardy's feelings about certain issues, especially loneliness and isolation. These stories are very good indicators of the change in the role of women between the times the stories were written and current day. You only have to look at difference between what happens to the unfaithful male characters to see this. Tony marries 'a nice, light, small tender thing', and Farmer Lodge is left to live his life alone again. The women in all of Hardy's short stories appear at first to be from different worlds with nothing in common. However they are, in fact, united by their femaleness; by the vulnerability that they share simply by being women, trying to have a relationship with a man. ...read more.

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