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Compare 'The Unexpected' by Kate Chopin, 'The Arch Deceiver' by Thomas Hardy and 'News of the Engagement' by Arnold Bennett.

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Introduction

19th Centaury Stories The titles of the three stories I am comparing are: 'The Unexpected' by Kate Chopin, 'The Arch Deceiver' by Thomas Hardy and 'News of the Engagement' by Arnold Bennett. All these stories were written in the 19th century, the time of the Victorians where women were not supposed to care about the male sexual attractions and would marry a man for their money, financial security and for raising children. I will now describe the stories briefly and tell you what they are about. 'The Unexpected' is about a man called Randall and his fianc�e, Dorothea, someone who is apparently madly in love with Randall. Randall becomes ill and deformed, which shocks Dorothea so much she runs away, refusing to marry him, even though he is quite wealthy. 'The Arch Deceiver' is about a man called Tony Kytes who is loved by 3 women, whom he loves in return. He is already engagement but meets his old girlfriends and has second thoughts. In the end each of his old girlfriends refuse his proposal of marriage apart from the woman he was supposed to be engaged to in the first place who still accepts him. 'News of the Engagement' is about a man who is engaged but has not told his mother. When he goes to see her he thinks she knows and is preparing something for him, but it turns out she is also engaged but had not told him. ...read more.

Middle

They all feature women doing unexpected things for their times for instance in 'The Unexpected' the woman cares about the man's looks and won't marry him just for his money; in 'The Arch Deceiver' the woman doesn't marry for money but for love; and in 'News of the Engagement' Phillip's mother gets engaged when she is quite old and has already been married before so she appears to be looking for companionship as well as love. They differ in the ways in which they portray their stories even though they all talk about woman doing things and encouraging their right to do what they wish. They describe how men and women related to one another in the 19th Century. 'The Unexpected' tells us that women were starting to care about a man's looks and not necessarily about how much money they had. This was probably unusual to the Victorians as women were considered to be totally dependent on their men and not think for themselves. 'The Arch Deceiver' describes how, although men lie and cheat, some women are strong enough to say 'no' and keep their dignity whilst others are more forgiving and willing to believe what they are told. 'News of the Engagement' shows a woman despite her age, getting married for love and possibly companionship - not money or looks which again is not a normal thing for a woman to do. ...read more.

Conclusion

During the times this story was written I think women would have been expected to accept that men lied and cheated and should just be grateful that a man was prepared to marry them in the first place - just a Milly did. I think the previous women only refused out of pride. In Hannah's case her honour had also been questioned and in those days if a man had behaved dishonourably then he would have been expected to marry the women in order that no child was borne out of wedlock. Hannah's face was scratched by a bramble but it might have appeared as though she had been forced to do something against her will. Her father obviously thinks the worst and demonstrates the fact that fathers' during that time were domineering. "My daughter is not willing, sir!" "Be you willing Hannah?" I ask ye to have spirit enough to refuse him, if yer virtue is left to 'ee and you run no risk?" In conclusion, I think all the stories teach us valuable lessons and how important it is to treat women as individuals. 'The Unexpected' teaches us that beauty is only skin deep and that to love someone means you accept everything about them. 'The Arch Deceiver' teaches us not to mess with peoples' feelings and that once you tell a lie you will always be found out, not always with the result you expect. 'News of the Engagement' teaches us not to be selfish, self-centred and to think of others before ourselves. ...read more.

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