• 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...

Introduction

An Essay on the withered arm by Thomas Hardy. By Jade Price. The withered arm is a pre-20th Century, short story. It is full of supernatural elements and coincidences. The story involves the characters Rhoda, a jealous middle aged woman who has an eligitermaite son by farmer Lodge. Farmer Lodge has just married a young, beautiful woman called Gertrude. Rhoda being a jealous woman unconsciously conjures up an evil incubus. This causes Gertrude's arm to weather, she tries all the cures she knows off, but resorts to using the supernatural to heal it. This leads to a dramatic ending. How effective or convincing are the events in the story and how effective are they from the point of view of the reader? Right at the beginning of the story we are in suspense because there is much speculation about the new bride. At the beginning of the story it is thought that Rhoda and Gertrude are rivals, as they have both had a realashipship with farmer lodge. They occupy traditional roles in the story; Rhoda is the older neglected lover with her looks fading. Gertrude is the young, beautiful blooming new wife. ...read more.

Middle

At this point the tension mounts and the idea of the malignant powers worries us further. This tension is maintained because the arm does not better and we wonder about the outcome of all this. Rhoda feels guilty. It was Rhoda's obsession that is responsible for Gertrude's affliction, which leads to paralysis as well as the loss of both her looks and her husbands love. The developing relationship between the two women has elements of the macabre. Rhoda often asks to see the wound, and seems fascinated by the clear indication of the marks of four fingers which are increasingly visible. Gertrude relies on Rhoda for a sympathetic understanding of the growing estrangement between herself and her husband, who 'knows the disfigurement is there'. The choice of the word 'disfigurement' reveals his attitude to appearances. As the arm is getting worst and she has visited a doctor who cannot help her, she becomes increasing desperate for a cure as her husband is starting to love her less. She turns to Rhoda to take her to see Trendle; much to her dismay. Rhoda fears for the loss of a good friendship. ...read more.

Conclusion

Here she is saying even if the person is innocent she hopes he will not be let off. Through out the story it is full of irony- you have farmer Lodge marrying to have a son, even though he has one which he does not recognise. Hardy chose not to give the illegitimate son a name; this may be because Lodge failed to recognise him, even though he wishes for a son: 'I once thought of adopting a boy!' Gertrude befriends the boy but unknowingly wishes for his death, in which when she finds out the identity of the hanged man she dies from shock. The denouement of the finial gruesome meeting between the two women brings all interaction to an end. The scene is highly dramatic and needs few words. This is where we learn that it is Rhoda's son that has been hanged and due to this Gertrude's 'blood had been turned indeed- too far'. In conclusion the withered arm is an effective story of the supernatural from the point of view from the reader. When it was written as people heavily believed in the supernatural and witch craft, this is another reason the story is effective. It differs from today's horror stories as it is not full of blood and guts. ...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. What can we learn about Victorian society from the story 'The Withered Arm' by ...

    in essence "move away from old traditions and let us live in a more open society where both rich and poor, men and women are one and the same and where pure love rules the aspects of matrimony".

  2. Show how Hardy responds to the death of his wife, the thoughts and feelings ...

    sees them differently now in a worse light, as this is the effect his wife's death has had on him. Hardy says 'the woman is now--elsewhere--'; the pauses are showing he doesn't want to say Emma is dead, and he is thinking of a euphemism.

  1. Prose Study " The Withered Arm And Other Wessex Tales" By Thomas Hardy

    she opens up and tells Sam that, " 'I have a son... I almost fancy when I am miserable sometimes that he is not really mine, but one I hold in trust for my late husband.' " By this point in the story Sophy realises that the rift between her and her son has grown larger.

  2. "The signal man" and "The withered arm" both create mystery, intrigue and suspense effectively. ...

    I think that the chapters in this story are quite effective as they give the story a, "soap opera," effect. Hardy has set this in the 1800's in the countryside. This story shows the qualities of rural communities, and gives you an insight to life in the country.

  1. This essay is aimed at discussing the differences between two short stories, called 'The ...

    Marroner leaving together and starting a new life with the baby somewhere else. In this story the young person in the storyline has come in and changed the situation by the way that the two women who in those days had done the unthinkable and left the man, (Mr.

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

    This means that she has no power or control. Also her son is male and her controls her. Sophy gives the impression of being chaste with her dealings with Sam Hobson. He says, 'Why, how can you be so fast?'

  1. An Essay on The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy

    Rhoda's jealousy plays an important role throughout the story. In her desperation and curiosity to see her antagonist's appearance, she sends her son in search for Gertrude, asking him to report back on her appearance. 'I shall want to send to the market, and you'll be pretty sure meet her.'

  2. In this assignment I am going to write about two stories, the Withered Arm ...

    Rhoda brook's lives in a small house built of mud walls, with the surface wearing as the rain has washed off the mud. In the story it tells of how Rhoda uses turf to make the fire, from this I can tell that lives in a poor conditioned house.

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