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Compare and Contrast the Short Stories "Turned", "To Please his Wife" and "An Alpine Divorce". Comment on the Narrative Structure, Key Themes, the Role of Women and the Endings

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Short Stories "Turned", "To Please his Wife" and "An Alpine Divorce". Comment on the Narrative Structure, Key Themes, the Role of Women and the Endings In this essay I will be examining the three short stories "Turned", "To Please his Wife" and "An Alpine Divorce". I will analyse key themes in the stories, such as women's independence, and wealth. I will also compare and contrast some of the characters. The plot of "Turned" is centred on Mrs Marroner, a woman who is betrayed by her husband when he gets their servant, Gerta, pregnant. Mrs Marroner chooses to take herself and Gerta, away from Mr Marroner, and survive on her own. "To Please his Wife" is about Joanna, who wants to improve her social standing and become rich. Her ambitions eventually get her husband and sons killed. "An Alpine Divorce" is about an unhappy marriage between Mr and Mrs Bodman, driving Mr Bodman to murder his wife. However, Mrs Bodman commits suicide, framing Mr Bodman for a murder he didn't have the chance to commit. The three short stories open in very different ways. "Turned" opens by going straight into the plot, saying: "Mrs Marroner lay sobbing". ...read more.

Middle

Another theme addressed in all three stories is reputations. In "To Please his Wife" Joanna wants to improve her social standing and reputation by becoming rich. To her, reputation is important, since she is willing to risk her children and her husband for one. In "Turned" reputation affects the story in a different way. Mr Marroner's reputation prevents him from casting out Joanna, as she could go to the newspapers. He, like Joanna considers reputation important. Similarly, in "An Alpine Divorce", Mr Bodman cannot leave Mrs Bodman, as his reputation would be ruined, the text tells us "If he had been a poor man he would probably have deserted her". In this story, as well in "To Please his Wife", reputation limits the options of a character. Lack of communication is another theme that runs through the three stories. In "Turned" Gerta will not tell Mrs Marroner what is wrong with her, "She would admit nothing, explain nothing" tell us this. The lack of communication is a negative influence, since when Mrs Marroner discovers Gerta is carrying Mr Marroner's child, she is at first angry ("She had no shadow of pity"). In "To Please his Wife", the lack of communication is between Shadrach and Joanna. ...read more.

Conclusion

"To Please his Wife" was completely acceptable, as sexism was commonplace when it was written. If it had be published today however, it would be completely unacceptable, as moral values have changed. "Turned" was quite groundbreaking for when it was written, it illustrated feminism, which was at the time considered outlandish, even by most women. Today however, the moral of women's independence is wholly normal. "An Alpine Divorce" is "To Please his Wife" was written in 1891, by Thomas Hardy. It reflects his traditional views of women, and was completely acceptable for the time. The moral is centred on Thomas Hardy's views of women, that they should be obedient, unquestioning and feminine, basically like Emily. "Turned" was written in 1911 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who supported women getting the vote and being independent, poles apart from Thomas Hardy. It was quite an unconventional story, for the time it was written. I think the moral of this story is that women can and should be both independent and educated, as Mrs Marroner's actions illustrate. I think the moral of "An Alpine Divorce" is centred on the authors views of marriage that it is basically a compromise and nothing more. In conclusion, the three stories are all very different, each one encompasses a different set of views and issues, but they all address these problems very effectively. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Chris Turner ...read more.

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