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Compare Marriage within Flight and The Withered Arm.

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Introduction

Marriage within Flight and The Withered Arm: By Sophie Darch "The Withered Arm" (by Thomas Hardy) and "Flight" (by Doris Lessing) both have a strong theme of marriage within them. This can be the breakdown of relationships or the forging of new ones. Evidently marriage and the thoughts, feelings and opinions that surround it caused many problems in both of the stories, including breakdown in some relationships. We see that both marriages were unwanted by different characters for one reason or another. Rhoda Brook did not agree with the marriage of Mr Lodge and Gertrude, mainly due to the fact that she had had an affair with Mr Lodge a few years previous and as a result had fallen pregnant. She did not take kindly to the indifference that Mr Lodge held against his illegitimate son. Slightly embittered she sent her son to find out more about the so-called fair Gertrude. Rhoda: "Yes...you can give her a look, and tell me what she's like, if you do see her." ...read more.

Middle

She feels envious of this and tries to compare herself to Gertrude, deep down feeling that she should be in her place. Rhoda: " I go see her! I wouldn't look up at her if she were to pass my window this instant." (This quote shows the great resentment, which Rhoda has for Gertrude) Rhoda made such comments as "Does she have hands that look like they have been worked as mine do", obviously thinking that Gertrude is nothing but a young rich man's daughter who has been waited on hand and foot all of her life. Marriage was very much an important part of life in Thomas Hardy's time. Marriage represented security, stability and most of all status. To have a child out of wedlock as a result of an affair, as Rhoda Brook found herself, would mean no real place in society. An example of status in the story would be the fact that Mr Lodge seemed to ignore the boy whom he knew was his son The importance of marriage in "Flight" is less severe. ...read more.

Conclusion

We saw him become bitter and vengeful towards Alice, just because he was hurting inside. The most significant relationship breakdown was the one of Gertrude and Mr Lodge. I think that maybe one of the causes of this was because of course Gertrude's withered arm. To Mr Lodge this was a disability and as she became weaker and weaker Gertrude was unable to give Mr Lodge a child. There is also the issue of social pressures, with Gertrude feeling that she was far from the perfect wife. Gertrude seemed scared to ask for her husband's help when it came to her arm and so she took it on herself to take the advice of Conjuror Trendle and touch the dead corpse that will apparently help her. The constitution of marriage itself was not to blame for the problems, which arose in the story, but the feelings of the people around. The jealousy, envy and anger were the soul offenders that cause strain, which resulted in the breakdown and destruction of relationships. ...read more.

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