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Compare and contrast the position of men in 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned'. Do these narratives present a 'feminist' view at the expense of a fair representation of men?

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the position of men in 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned'. Do these narratives present a 'feminist' view at the expense of a fair representation of men? In this essay, I hope to come to a successful conclusion to the essay question. I will do this by analysing the two main male characters in 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned', Mr Lodge and Mr Marroner. In the narrative 'Turned', Mr. Marroner is a high class, educated working man who owns his own household. He is married to Mrs. Marroner and together they employ a servant; Gerta who is much younger than Mrs. Marroner, uneducated but has worked for Mr. And Mrs. Marroner for many years. The couple almost treat Gerta as their own child and Mrs. Marroner being unable to have children ("How they do come when they are not wanted and don't come where they are wanted" Mrs. Marroner says when she finds out about Gerta's pregnancy) seems to mother Gerta. Mr. Marroner got called out to go away on business but he still kept in touch with his wife by letter, which often included messages and postcards for Gerta. Mrs. Marroner loved her husband dearly and I believe that she trusted him, she was "not a jealous woman", and I think that she held great faith in people. ...read more.

Middle

He is given an address and he goes to settle the problems that had existed and to put his mind at rest. When he turned up at the new residence of the two women and the child, he was shocked ("He looked from one to another dumbly.") to learn that they had coped without him and that even after the events of nearly a year ago, Mrs. Marroner had stayed true to Gerta and had supported her. The two of them had begun to raise the child in a family environment. At the end of the narrative, the male role is not forgiven and the females had almost dismissed him for he was clearly not needed in the upbringing of the child. The last line in this narrative "What have you to say to us", brings the story to a conclusion that leads the reader to believe that he is the person who needs to make amends and realise that men should answer to women. Mr.Lodge was also not necessary in the upbringing of his child, although I think that Rhoda yearned for support from him and for the farmer to be a part of their son's life, just as she wished to be a part of Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that when Mr.Lodge was really needed, (at the court case) he was there for his son might have been how Hardy wanted to show that men are there at crucial times. However, I feel that when Mr.Lodge only is there at a point of life and death, shows that he is not a very responsible parent. Hardy also shows that his male character swears. " 'Damn you! What are you doing here?' He said hoarsely." The language used in this short extract presents yet another negative image of men, while Gilman's use of language towards the end of the narrative slightly improves the picture of Mr. Marroner. In Conclusion, I think that although both authors represent the two male characters in a negative way, it is only Charlotte Perkins Gillman who presents a feminist view. I think this because even though Rhoda Brooks does manage to cope with bringing up her son on her own, there is no accomplishment of women over men in this story. This may be because the author was male and that Charlotte Perkins Gillman had very strong feminist beliefs anyway. I don't think that the representation of men is necessarily fair because not all men are unfaithful or betraying, yet the two male characters in the narratives were portrayed in a negative way fairly as they had both carried out appalling acts at the expense of women. Christine Nobbs 11N 11X1 ...read more.

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