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

An Essay on The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy

Extracts from this document...


An Essay on The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy Veejaiyata Barot 'The past is a foreign country. They did things differently there.' 'The Go Between' by L.P. Hartley. Thomas Hardy, a Victorian novelist, based his stories on experience of growing up in rural Dorset. Growing up there, he became familiar with the language, customs, practises and stories of the country folk. These stories draw up on his experiences enabling him to write 'Wessex Tales'. Among many pieces of work is 'The Withered Arm'. 'The Withered Arm' is a well-crafted short story written in the prose format. The quote above portrays what pre-twentieth century literature should embrace; good literature should be insightable, realistic and significant to all people from any era. In this essay I am going to describe the ways in which Thomas Hardy has made his short story, 'The Withered Arm' interesting to the modern reader. 'The Withered Arm' is about Rhoda Brook, a dark milkmaid who retaliates on her lovers beautiful new wife, Gertrude, after her lover, Farmer Lodge abandons her and their illigimate son. Hardy has carefully structured all the elements of a short story making 'The Withered Arm' interesting and perennial to the modern reader. Farmer Lodge's denial of the affair with Rhoda and the neglection of his son causes Rhoda's plotting revenge. ...read more.


Lodge is portrayed as a selfish man who does not like to deal with his problems, instead he runs away from them. Also, at the end of the story, Framer Lodge gives up the farms and goes to 'Port-Bredy' at the other end of the country. The Boy is a victim. He is a constant reminder of the past of his parents and symbolises the pain punishment and retribution for other people. Again, he is a victim when he is hanged because he did not commit the crime. It is almost as if The Boy is carrying this baggage full of everyone's problems, and it is too much for him. Conjuror Trendle is a catalyst in the story. He is engaging to the reader, as people like him no longer prevail in society today. Although we do have wise, old people in our society that we go seek advice to, our modern society shares little belief in witchcraft and supernatural activity. Hardy has made the setting of 'The Withered Arm' very significant to the reader as we can learn important pieces of the plot from it. He makes us comprehend the characters and the moods that they are in through pathetic fallacy; the description of the weather. ...read more.


The themes that are discussed in 'The Withered Arm' are realistic, but more importantly relative to people from any generations. We see themes in our everyday lives; in soaps, movies or maybe even in the life of a close friend or relative. Underlying in the themes are Hardy's philosophies and thought about situations. Despite the fact that 'The Withered Arm' is a outstanding tale, there are a few problem in Hardy's literature that may stop the reader from fully appreciating the aspect of the story. Hardy's style is very skilled and brings out the best in his stories, yet his language maybe a little hard to understand for a modern reader. I do not find the character in 'The Withered Arm' a problem at all because although some of those characters no longer exist, Rhoda, Conjuror Trendle, Hangman, it is still interesting to read about their daily lives and how things were for them; after all good literature should be giving the reader and insight on how things were. Even though the reader may not always agree to the philosophies hidden in his themes, it is captivating to imagine how a Victorian writer can relate to such things. I think that 'The Withered Arm' is a fantastic example of pre-twentieth century literature because not only is it interesting, but it gives us an insight on the different lives of the different characters and yet is still interesting to the modern reader. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Thomas Hardy essays

  1. How does Hardy represent women in the 'Withered Arm' and in four other Wessex ...

    He says, 'Why, how can you be so fast?' She is a lady and a very respectable person. She does not usually rush anything. This is proven, as she does not allow him to kiss her. She appears passive in their courtship by refusing and then giving in to a ride with Sam Hobson, showing that she likes him

  2. An Essay on the withered arm by Thomas Hardy.

    Rhoda's first reaction to Gertrude is of horror and fear. In her dream, she sees Mrs. Lodge as a figure 'with features shockingly distorted and wrinkled by old age.' Hardy uses simple diction to convey the horror of the nightmare.

  1. 'The Monkey's Paw' and 'The Withered Arm' are tales of great suffering and pain ...

    with sudden dread that this might prove her as the malignant influence which was blasting the fair person of Gertrude." Rhoda's suffering continues as Gertrude trusts her and confides with Rhoda and when Gertrude tells her about her failing relationship with Farmer Lodge because of her withered arm.

  2. What can we learn about Victorian society from the story 'The Withered Arm' by ...

    Furthermore, she even visits a conjuror to heal it. Superstition was so extensively believed in as people were not educated and had limited sources of scientific knowledge, hence blamed their problems or incidents on superstition. Another reason is that their religious conviction of Christianity had intermingled with the died out religion of paganism which was occupied with these illogical beliefs.

  1. The Withered Arm

    which had witnessed the agony of the Wessex King Ina, presented to after-ages as Lear" Hardy's use of language and vocabulary, or 'Lexis' as it is known, to describe Egdonheath also creates the setting and adds to the already supernatural feeling.

  2. Rhoda Brook's diary - 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy

    But the biggest shock of all was finding the scheming little hussy, Gertrude with her rotten, withered, arm on my dead son's neck when me and Lodge went to the cellar to see him for one last time before we buried him.

  1. In this assignment we will be comparing the leading female characters in Thomas Hardy's ...

    In 'The Withered Arm' it focuses on the idea that the law is not always fair. For example, Thomas Hardys' father told him about a young boy who was hanged for being present when a hay rick was set alight.

  2. Extended commentary of 'The Convergence of the Twain' by Thomas Hardy

    entity, has allowed and planned for the demise of this here ship. And that?s why the iceberg, which could have been anywhere in a 3,000 mile radius of the vast Atlantic Ocean, just so happened to strike the ship. Deal with it.? So, instead, he has substituted a strictly non-religious term to his idea of Fate.

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