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Compare and Contrast A withered arm by Thomas Hardy and The monkeys paw by W.W. Jacobs

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Compare and Contrast "A withered arm" by Thomas Hardy and "The monkeys paw" by W.W. Jacobs In this essay I am going to explain the similarities and differences between 'The withered arm' and 'The monkeys paw'. Both of these texts were written before 1914 by two different people. Thomas Hardy wrote 'The withered arm' and W.W. Jacobs wrote 'A monkeys paw'. The withered arm is a short story about a milkmaid who had an affair with a high class farmer. When the farmer gets a new wife, the milkmaid becomes jealous. In a nightmare, the milkmaid who is called Rhoda Brooks sees the new wife she had been obsessing over for the past few days in a horrific apparition gloats over her new husband. In this nightmare Rhoda grabs the apparition and feels her arm as if it were real as she throws the spectre to the floor. The ghost is gone when she looks down. The farmers' new wife, the next day, finds a new mark on her forearm in the shape of a hand in the same place that Rhoda had grabbed the apparition. Rhoda and Gertrude, the farmers' wife soon become good friends as her arm becomes increasingly more serious. Eventually Gertrude persuades Rhoda to get her to take her to a conjurer called conjurer Trendle who is a local magic man. Eventually Rhoda takes her and conjurer Trendle gives her advice but does not give a solution to her trouble. They return home to the village. ...read more.


He hears his wife open the door and continues the frantic search for the paw until he finds it and utters his wish just as his wife slides the last bolt back and opens the door, he heard a gasp of dismay and runs down to see what had happened. Both of these stories are similar in some ways. Each story was written before 1914 but one was in the early 19th century the other was in the late 19th century. This means that the style of writing in both of these stories is the same since they were written in the same time era. Both stories were set in the 19th century too so they would have seemed quite modern to the authors. We can see that they are supposed to be modern stories as they have factories and streetlights in the monkeys' paw which were new in the time the monkeys paw was set. The withered arm is set in a different place in a rural area where the monkeys paw is set in an urban area; this means that they will seem different. The withered arm contains horse and carts, these would still have been in use in the 19th century which also proves when it was set. The fact that Rhoda Brooks son was hanged for a crime he hadn't committed shows that it was during the time when people were hanged for small crimes. Both stories have themes of magick and superstition as a withered arm shows us that Gertrude has to go to a magic man who tells her of a cure for her arm which was touching the neck of a recently hanged man. ...read more.


The theme of tragedy in these stories is a big one as it is needed for the plot to work properly. There are many differences between the two stories aswell, one of the main ones is the setting each story was set in. A withered arm is set in a rural countryside and it starts out in a dairy milking cows by hand. The urban setting of the monkeys paw means that things like the streetlight at the end and the fact that Herbert can be killed by the machinery in the factory is possible, this story wouldn't work as well in the rural setting of A withered arm. The time frame for each story is also different, the monkeys paw all takes place over a few weeks where as a withered arm has the story lasting for over a year. The time frame they are set in gives them a big difference as it distinguishes one from the other easily. I think that the story which is most striking out of these two has to be The monkeys paw. This story is a better length to not take a while to read and the plot seems better as a whole. Each character seems to have obviously different personalities that they use all the time and these are distinctly separate from the characters of a withered arm. I like the way that the ending of this story is a cliff hanging, we are not told what Herbert looks like after he was brought back to life we are just told about the sigh of dismay from Mr Whites wife. ...read more.

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