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Compare and contrast the comic elements in Thomas Hardys 'Tony Kytes Arch-Deceiver' and 'Old Mrs Chundle' - Refer to the social and historical context of the stories.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the comic elements in Thomas Hardys 'Tony Kytes Arch-Deceiver' and 'Old Mrs Chundle'. Refer to the social and historical context of the stories. Thomas Hardy had an obvious love for Wessex which was his birthplace and setting for both 'Tony Kytes Arch-Deceiver' and 'Old Mrs Chundle'. Although the stories are not particularly factual you learn a lot about the people who lived in Wessex at that time. This is because of the dialect, lack of education and simple way of life. You also learn about the rich and poor class division and male dominance throughout the stories. Both 'Tony Kytes Arch-Deceiver' and 'Old Mrs Chundle' are humorous because of the ignorance and lack of education of both main characters in the stories. Tony Kytes is ignorant to women which is apparent when he pretended not to be engaged to Milly for his own benefit. He also had the audacity to lie to all three girls and asked two to hide in his wagon, 'will ye lie down .....cover you over with a tarpaulin' and 'settled it? I don't think I have'. ...read more.

Middle

'O the petticoats went off, and the breeches they went on!' This is amusing because it is not the way you would expect a man to act in the mid-1800's. Mrs Chundles character is deaf, old and simple yet we like her because of that and also her innocence. Tony is not an innocent character he lies and is deceitful and we begin to dislike him because of that. In both of the stories there are misunderstandings, however they are different in each story. In 'Tony Kytes' Tony deliberately misleads the girls, he lied to all three and only one girl new about the other two. In Old Mrs Chundle the curate did not understand why Mrs Chundle lied to him about going to church and consequently called her 'a wicked old woman'. However I think that Mrs Chundle was rather uneasy with the curate at first because of the contrast between them so was trying to make a good impression. The curate constructed an 'ear trumpet' on the lectern at the church to try and encourage Mrs Chundle to come to church more often. ...read more.

Conclusion

In both stories suspense is used. When Tony invites Unity to ride in his wagon we begin to feel suspense. This suspense builds when Milly and Hannah ride in the wagon. We wonder what will happen when they find out about the other two girls and how they will find out. In 'Old Mrs Chundle' we feel suspense when the curate takes the 'ear trumpet' down, we wonder how Mrs Chundle will react. We also feel suspense when the curate arrives at Mrs Chundles house to find the 'calico curtains of the cottage windows were all drawn', at this point we feel anxious for Mrs Chundles health. Although there are differences in the humour in both stories there are many similarities. At the end of 'Tony Kytes' we feel sympathy for Milly and not for Tony and in 'Old Mrs Chundle' we feel sorry for Mrs Chundle at the end and not for the curate. Thomas Hardy mixes misunderstandings with humour, confusion with amusement and farce with irony to make his stories successful. The different aspects of humour in his stories makes the reader really enjoy them. ...read more.

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