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

Choose Three of Thomas Hardy's short stories - Write about what you learn about C19th life in Wessex - Explain how this helps us to appreciate the stories.

Extracts from this document...


Choose Three of Thomas Hardy's short stories. Write about what you learn about C19th life in Wessex. Explain how this helps us to appreciate the stories. Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in the tiny village of Higher Bockhampton near Dorchester which is the county town of Dorset. There were only about fifty people in total living in the village, which consisted merely of eight workers' cottages, on the side of an isolated stretch of heathland. Hardy's father was a stonemason and builder, carrying on the trade of his own father. However, his mother, who could read but could not write, was determined that her eldest son would have a better education than herself. Compulsory education did not exist during this time and many children in the countryside grew up illiterate. Therefore, at the age of nine he was sent to a school funded by the church in Dorchester. His mother also pushed him into reading a wide range of "good" books at home. Leaving school at sixteen, Hardy began a career as an architect, training with a Dorchester firm for five years before moving to London in 1862, where he began to learn the art of church restoration. He also continued to educate himself during this time by studying painting and teaching himself Greek and Latin. ...read more.


People were obviously used to getting about under their own steam as there was no railway or any reliable system of public transport: Tony Kytes therefore goes to market with his wagon and horse and stops to give his sweethearts a lift along the way; Hubert, the yeoman's son, goes on errands for his father on horseback and even old Mrs Chundle thinks nothing of walking the five miles to market every fortnight! Hardy even uses rural knowledge and imagery to show the passing of time, for example, the opening sentence of The Thieves who Couldn't Stop Sneezing tells us that the story took place "when oak trees now past their prime were about as large as elderly gentlemen's walking sticks". Although we might find this timespan difficult to imagine, it would seem perfectly logical to the village folk to have it explained to them in this way. Hardy provides us with a very clear contrast between the different social classes that existed in the nineteenth century in the way that his characters talk. Old Mrs Chundle and Tony Kytes are lower class and therefore they speak using the dialect and "local slang" of the region: "Unity"...says he, "I shall catch it mightily if she sees 'ee riding with me." (Tony Kytes) "What's the good o' my lumpering all the way to church and back again when I'm as deaf as a plock?" ...read more.


a wife to be whipped by her husband, most women would still prefer a loveless marriage to the hardship of life on their own. Hardy helps us to understand this in the way that, although Tony Kytes is obviously a liar and a cheat, he still has three women who are almost throwing themselves at him! Even Hannah, who in front of her father declares that she "would sooner marry no-nobody at all," secretly knows that " she would not have refused Tony if he had asked her quietly, and her father had not been there." In conclusion, the picture that Hardy paints for us of the Wessex countryside gives us an impression of a way of life that was much slower, simpler and somehow gentler than the way we live today. There is evidence of crime being committed, such as the waylaying of Hubert and attempt at housebreaking by the thieves in The Thieves Who Couldn't Stop Sneezing, but overall, Hardy's gentle humour allows us to get the impression that it was a much safer and happier way of life, where Mrs Chundle would be able to leave her door unlocked without the worry of being burgled. The obvious advance of technology is shown, for example, with the curate's purchase of the "special machinery" of the ear trumpet, but its impact is made to seem hardly noticeable as the people of Wessex go about their daily lives. ...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. The Thieves Who Couldn't Help Sneezing

    Ensuring they did not see him, Hubert hid beneath the table and witnessed the robber's hide in a closet. When the inhabitants and guests to the mansion arrive back, Hubert quickly decides to hide himself in a dark corner of the porch and wait until they are all back inside before kicking the door to get their attention.

  2. Compare and Contrast a selection of Thomas Hardy's Poetry

    As the poem leads into the fifth and final stanza, the tone changes as the haunts are brought to aclose, and we are given commands from Emma to 'O tell him! Quickly make him know If he but sigh since my loss befell him Straight to his side I go...'

  1. Explore Hardy's representation of women in his collection of short stories 'The Wessex Tales'

    This is similar to Sophy because she also had an intriguing past Although the author represents Sophy as intriguingly beautiful, he also represents her as physically incapacitated. This can be read on the third paragraph of the story, which states " She was a young invalid lady ...

  2. Comparison of "Tony Kytes, the arch deceiver" by Thomas Hardy and "Tickets please" by ...

    In "Tickets Please", the relationships are supposed to be short term, they lack commitment from both sides, and are not about supporting the female partner financially, as the women in "Tickets please" work, and so are financially independent. The relationships that occur on the tram service are generally short term, sexual relationships.

  1. Compare Walt Whitman's poem come up from the fields father and Thomas Hardy's a ...

    'Flashed news', very quick just like the flash of a gun, she has a lot to take in; it is like she has been shot her self, her life as she knows it is over. 'The fog hangs thicker', through the imagery of the fog Hardy coveys her deepening depression.

  2. Thomas Hardy

    The Titanic sinking was a massive event in Hardy's life and I think that he thought it was fate that brought them together. I think that this poem is similar to some of Hardy's other poems because they some how relate back to Hardy's past life, it starts of happily

  1. two short stories by thomas hardy

    There was also a division in society in those days as it was not practical for Sophy, a member of the working class, to marry Mr Twycott, a member from the middle class. This would have therefore caused problems especially for Mr Twycott as he would have been committing social suicide to marry across classes.

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

    It?s an oxymoronic (?later history? is oxymoronic in my book!) way of saying the same as before; the twain are destined to collide. Stanzas X and XI Notes: ?Or sign that they were bent By paths coincident On being anon twin halves of one august event, Till the Spinner of

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