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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 2251 words

Compare and contrast the main female characters in 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned'. You should also refer to the position of women at the times these stories were written.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Compare and contrast the main female characters in 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned'. You should also refer to the position of women at the times these stories were written. The position of women has changed greatly over time, but women were, and still are seen as the weaker more inferior sex. 'The Withered Arm' was written in the 19th century by Thomas Hardy, and the story is set in the English countryside. The story reflects the different attitudes expressed against women in the biased society of that time. There are two main female characters, which are totally different from each other. Gertrude Lodge, is a character that represents Madonna, on the other hand there is Rhoda Brooks who is seen as the whore. Society at the time lived totally by paradoxical opposites. Women were either good or bad, nobody was in-between, and if somebody did not fit into a certain category then they were considered different and as a result they were outcast. The main reason for this being that people do not like what they do not understand. 'Turned' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was written a century a later this story also focuses on the role of women in society. It shows how women have developed and the two main characters, Mrs Marroner and Gerta Petersen, are fairly similar to the characters in 'The Withered Arm'.

Middle

Conjurer Trendle shows Gertrude a vision of the person responsible for making her arm wither, but he shows it to only Gertrude. Rhoda is very scared at this point as she believes that it was she who caused Gertrude's disfigurement. Conjurer Trendle reveals to Gertrude the only cure for her arm. The vision that trundles showed Gertrude was Rhoda because on their return journey the two women did not talk, Six years later and the situation is a lot worse for Gertrude, she has not had any children and the worry of her arm has made her turn to every remedy that anyone tells her. Her arm was getting worse so Gertrude decide that she would try Trendle's cure which was to rub her arm against the neck of dead man when he was still warm. Gertrude managed to do this in another town and when she rubbed her arm against the neck of the dead man she heard a scream and when Gertrude turned around to see who it was, there stood Rhoda Brooks with her eyes red from crying and behind was Farmer Lodge. Gertrude had not told her husband about conjurer Trendle or his cure because she knew he would not approve...

Conclusion

Mrs Marroner is sort of the typical woman of her time because she has a strong mind that can think clearly and efficiently without the pressure of a man, which means that she makes well informed, cleaver choices but on the other hand it seems that she does not want to make use of all the choices available to her because she still prefers to stay at home instead of working. Gerta Petersen is sort of the typical women of her time because although she is not dependant on any men, she still let a man take advantage of her. Like many other women however she did become strong minded and chose to bring up the child on her own with out the help of the father. She also took the advantages of getting a good education. Both the stories that I have analysed are very female orientated and they bring forward ideas and themes to do with the power, intellect, and creativity, of women. Both stories outline the pressures faced by women and although these stories were written a long time a go, women in the world today still face important issues. Life may be a lot better for women today but sexism still exists and stories like these are inspiring to read and even learn from. ?? ?? ?? ??

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