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Compare a 20th Century text ('Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck) with a 19th Century text ('The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy).

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Introduction

English/English Literature Coursework Wide Reading Compare a 20th Century text ('Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck) with a 19th Century text ('The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy). Dreams In both 'The Withered Arm' and 'Of Mice an Men', the themes of loneliness and dreams can be found. The dream in 'The Withered Arm' is very different to the dream in 'Of Mice and Men', although they are both the basis of the stories entire plots. In 'Of Mice and Men' the dream is a fairytale type thought about how two people, Lennine and George, see the dream life that they should lead. The story is about the two men trying to achieve that goal. However, the dream in 'The Withered Arm' is a very different story. This dream is about one person, Rhoda Brook, wanting to inflict pain upon another and prevent them reaching their dream life. I think that the texts are structured in similar ways but are meant to be read in different ways. Both of these stories have been written so that they can be read in parts and split up by the reader so that they can read a bit and then come back to it. ...read more.

Middle

We are told that Farmer Lodge is the boys father and that Rhoda is his mother, however now they are no longer together. This is the source of Rhodas jealousy. Also in both stories, the theme of loneliness is very prominent. In "The Withered Arm", the theme of loneliness is centred around Rhoda Brook, the boy and Gertrude Lodge. Rhodas loneliness is mostly based on the fact that she is not socially accepted. We see this in the first scene when she is at work and she is not involved in the conversation taking place between the other 'milchers' (one who milks). The author gives us the message that she is unwanted and for a reason that we do not yet know. Later though, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Rhoda Brooks son, is also the son of Farmer Lodge. The relationship between Rhoda and the farmer is over and long gone, but their son is still very much around. The situation surrounding Rhoda and Farmer Lodges son is the key theme of loneliness. Throughout the story, we never actually find out the boys name. This is another of the authors of getting a message across without printing it in plain English. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the year 1813 was twelve years ago, then the current year must be 1825. The story is set in Wessex, the collective term for most of the southern counties including Hampshire, Wiltshire and Thomas Hardys home county and the setting for most of his work, Dorset. In "Of Mice and Men", there is no indication about when it is set, but we can say that it is set after the Wall Street Crash, during the 'Great Depression'. This was the time when everyone was in poverty, had no money and only the well off did not suffer. In the story, Lenny and George are not well off and that is what they work on the ranch. In conclusion, there are a lot of similarities between the themes in the book, and there are many differences. To anyone who reads the two texts, the most obvious difference is the use of language. In "Of Mice and Men", John Steinbeck has used language that is written to be read as the character would speak - as I read it, the accent kind of came along without trying to develop it. In "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy however, the text is written very differently. It leaves it to you to decide how people would say their lines and speeches and they are all printed in "proper" English. ...read more.

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