• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the ways in which the short stories The Yellow Wallpaper and The Withered Arm explore the role of women.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast the ways in which the short stories The Yellow Wallpaper and The Withered Arm explore the role of women. In your coursework, you should discuss: * Plot and structure * Narrative viewpoint * Characterisation * Language and tone In the late 19th century, women were expected to conform to the conventions of society. This meant that they were expected to get married young, pure and beautiful. They were treated like objects as if men bought them. How the woman felt was irrelevant in this period. Women were expected to produce an 'heir and a spare'. Women were also victim to double standards. For example, women had to deal with a child out of wedlock yet were given no responsibility for this. This contrasts strongly to a woman's role in society today. However, women are still expected to get married and give birth to a child. I am going to explore this issue in two short stories; The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892, and The Withered Arm written by Thomas Hardy in 1887. The Yellow Wallpaper is about a women suffering from postnatal depression that is given the 'rest cure'. ...read more.

Middle

In The Yellow Wallpaper, I feel that John acted caringly towards the speaker, whereas others may feel that John was over protective. In both stories, the female characters were expected to conform to societies expectations of them and if they did not, they were ostracised from society. For example, in The Withered Arm, we learn that Rhoda has had a child out of wedlock with Farmer Lodge (sympathetic background). For this 'terrible sin,' Rhoda is effectively excluded from society; however, no blame is attached to Farmer Lodge. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the speaker opposes convention by trying to become independent and for this, John, Mary and John's sister look down on her, so the speaker, like Rhoda, is excluded from society. This and the feeling of being trapped force the speaker to eventually go mad. These are examples of the double standards that women in Victorian England had to live with. Another example of this of this in The Withered Arm is that women were expected to marry young and produce an 'heir and a spare'. When Gertrude failed to do this, she invited the scorn of her husband who was bitter over her failure to continue his family line. ...read more.

Conclusion

In The Withered Arm, the mystery is how Gertrude's arm becomes withered and in The Yellow Wallpaper, the mystery is the person behind the wallpaper and whether she will get out or not. The climaxes in both stories create a great parallel between them and show how the two authors show their sympathy for women. In The Withered Arm, a woman has to pay the ultimate price in death to break the conventions of society. Gertrude's death also forces Farmer Lodge to see the error of his ways. In The Yellow Wallpaper, The speaker defies the conventions of society by creeping around openly in front of John, however, in the same moment; she appears to have gone mad. This appears to be the only way out for her. Both stories symbolise how hard it was not to conform to society; a person died in one and in the other, a person went mad. They show that emancipation was almost impossible for a woman in Victorian times. The two stories use different narrative viewpoints. The Withered Arm uses the third person narration, which is seen to be more sympathetic towards the plight of women and more objective. The Yellow Wallpaper uses the first person narration, which seems less convincing and bias, however it also symbolises the aloneness of the speaker and her lack of voice empathises her plight. Niall Boyle 11J ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Thomas Hardy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Thomas Hardy essays

  1. Compare and Contrast a selection of Thomas Hardy's Poetry

    He has no way of letting her know how he wishes to turn the time, and make things right, however, she forgives him for these times, because she loves him.

  2. Compare 'A Stench of Kerosene' by Amrita Pritam and 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas ...

    while 'Stench of Kerosene' has a simple plot and there is no superstition. There is a strong love between man and woman, which is interfered by the mother in- law. The main characters of 'A Stench of Kerosene' are Guleri, Manak and his mother.

  1. Compare Charlotte Perkins Gilman's

    She says, "Could this be the explanation, and had such things as this ever happened before?" In visually placing the question, the author is allowing the reader to ponder the matter, and to come to their own conclusions about the subject, without it being dictated to them through the prose.

  2. With close textual references to On the Western Circuit and The Withered Arm, explore ...

    Also, both stories show how love occurs between a couple, but society's expectations prevent the couple from marrying. In my conclusion, I will give a personal opinion on Victorian marriage, with an understanding of Hardy's. In Hardy's era, if you were married there would be a strong presence of high social status, class and wealth of the man and woman.

  1. Compare and contrast the two stories, "The Outsiders and "The Withered arm", and show ...

    treat them as outsider's, help them feel appreciated and as if they are worth more than they are physically seen as. Rhoda Brook is an ostracised character in "The Withered Arm". The reason for this is because she had an illegitimate child, who is society of that time where extremely prejudice.

  2. Thomas Hardy's short story, 'the withered arm'.

    This immediately makes the reader want to read on and find out answers to questions such as " Why aren't they together anymore?" "Who are the letters from?" The story of Dear nobody closes with the tow main characters (Helen and Chris), miles away from eachother.

  1. "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy and"The Seduction" by Eileen McAuley - Compare.

    This is about and anonymous teenage girl and boy who meet at a party. The boy gets the girl very drunk on vodka and after the party leads her under false pretences to the docks. There he plies her with even more drink so that he can easily seduce her, which he does very successfully.

  2. Comparative essay of 'The Withered Arm' & 'Turned'

    Rhoda can be very caring because when Gertrude is talking about her injured arm Rhoda says, "I hope your arm is well again, ma'am?" "Well ma'am, I earnestly hope it will go away soon." Both of these quotations show that she cares for people because she hopes her bad arm

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work