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Compare the portrayal of the female characters in Thomas Hardy's short stories "Tony Kytes - the Arch-Deceiver" and "To Please His Wife". Examine their relationships with each other and the male characters.

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Introduction

Compare the portrayal of the female characters in Thomas Hardy's short stories "Tony Kytes - the Arch-Deceiver" and "To Please His Wife". Examine their relationships with each other and the male characters. Thomas Hardy was a well-known author and wrote many stories in the 1800's. He was highly influenced by women from very early on in his life. It was his mother who encouraged him to be educated. His teacher was also female and he became very close to her. His mother, jealous of this relationship, took him away from the school. I am going to compare the portrayal of women in Hardy's stories. I am going to look at their characteristics, relationships with male characters, relationships with female characters and whether these change throughout the stories. The first story by Thomas Hardy that we read was called "Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver". In this we meet three girls: Unity Sallet; Milly Richards; and Hannah Jolliver. I am going to compare how Hardy portrays these women. The first girl we meet is called Unity Sallet. Hardy introduces her, focussing on her physical aspects, "A handsome girl". ...read more.

Middle

She is very flirtatious, just as the other girls were, but it seems that, like Unity, she doesn't have a right to seduce him as he is engaged. After she has got a ride home by being rude and insistent, she whispers to him, which shows an intimate and romantic relationship. He responds and they both seem to be in favour of what is going on. It also shows that the men are weaker in the sense that they are being controlled by the women. Hannah also changes at the end of the story, and becomes angry with Tony for lying. This shows that she can change her mood quickly, which is something Hardy includes in many of his characters. Just like the Milly and Unity, she is portrayed as weak at the end as she "[hoped] he would ask again" when she refused Tony. Again, this emphasises Hardy's belief that women are inferior to men. In "Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver", the women's attitudes change when talking to male and female characters. They are manipulative and nice to the male characters, yet they are mean and spiteful to the female characters. They are each portrayed as na�ve and weak at some point in the story. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also used other characters reactions towards the two women to encourage us to like Emily more than Joanna. Also the women easily controlled Jolliffe - it was completely down to them who he ended up with. This may be because Hardy was surrounded by women while he was growing up and may have felt controlled by them. The portrayals of the women in both "To Please His Wife" and "Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver" seem to emphasise that even though Hardy believed men were socially superior, women were more intelligent and scheming. The men may have thought that they were in control of their own destiny but in fact were being manipulated by the women and this was shown through Hardy's writing. His stories quite often show an ambitious woman jealous of a sweet innocent one. Another example of this occurs in the story called "The Withered Arm". This interest in examining the results of ambition and jealousy could stem from when his mother, who was ambitious for him to be educated, was jealous of his relationship with his kind and caring teacher and removed him from the school. Hardy's interpretation of male/female and female/female relationships shows a mixture of conventions of the time and his own female dominated childhood. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hannah Simpson Year 10 Fr/Jg Page 1 ...read more.

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