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Compare the ways in which Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman capture and maintain their audience's interest and explain which of the two you preferred.

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Introduction

Comparative Essay Assignment: Compare the ways in which Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman capture and maintain their audience's interest and explain which of the two you preferred. Assessment Criteria: Literature EN2 Although both of these short stories were written in different times, by different authors, both stories are filled with detail, twists, and turns. This is what makes both of these short stories so popular and interesting to read. Although written in two different styles, both are interesting and dramatic from start to finish and instantly the writers capture our attention by using the hook of curiosity. Thomas Hardy opens his story in a cow barn where the milkers are talking about the newly wed wife of Farmer Lodge. Immediately the reader is curious to find out more about the new wife and why she is so important. Then the milkmaids continue to talk and they look at the other side of the barn, where they see another milkmaid who is somewhat apart & seems isolated from the others. The milkmaids say "Tis has for she" and again we are curious to know why it is hard for this strange and isolated character. Why are the milkers talking about her? This curiosity makes us want to read on and find out more. However, Charlotte Perkins Gilman opens her story in a different Way; she starts the story with, "In her soft-carpeted, thick curtained, richly furnished chamber, Mrs Marroner lay sobbing on the wide, soft bed." Although she starts with almost a descriptive sentence, she still uses the hook of curiosity to get us to read on and find out why this character is crying. I have seen that both of these texts open in different ways but still use the same hook of curiosity. I think that both of the openings are very effective in capturing the audience's interest. The Withered Arm ends when Conjuror Trendle tells Gertrude that, the only way to cure her arm is to touch the neck of a hanged man. ...read more.

Middle

In his letter to Gerta, he had made more empty promises by lying to Gerta that he will look after and takes care of her, he was subtly trying to get Gerta to leave Mr. Marroner and bring up the child on her own, so that there would be absolutely no chance of his wife finding out. He promised to send Gerta money for the baby's upkeep but he really was deceiving her. The same sort of thing happened in The Withered Arm which also contained many deceiving lies. Farmer Lodge didn't say anything to his new wife about his past relationship with Rhoda Brook and he also 'forgot' to mention to his new wife that she Rhoda had a child and his wife has a stepson. When Gertrude and Rhoda became good friends, Rhoda didn't tell Gertrude about the 'dream' even when Gertrude expressed her concerns for her 'withered arm' Gertrude didn't tell her husband when she went off to visit Conjuror Trendle about her arm. When she found out that Rhoda had cursed her she still said nothing to her husband, but she went off to try and heal her arm. "She dared not tell him." Then Farmer Lodge used the same 'going away on business' excuse to go and collect his dead son's body with Rhoda not knowing that Gertrude was going to be there. Again we see that the two stories are very similar, this time in the use of lies and deceit and the fact that both are based on triangular relationships. Thomas Hardy has also described the landscape in such detail that it alone seems like a character. This also helps to maintain the audience's interest in the text. One good example of the description of the landscape is when he describes Egdon Heath as Gertrude and Rhoda are walking. He writes, "The hardly spoke to each other, and immediately set out on their climb into the interior of this solemn, country, which stood high above the rich alluvial soil they had left half and hour before. ...read more.

Conclusion

After studying both stories I have found out that there are many differences in both stories, this is because Thomas Hardy wrote for a different type of audience with a different purpose and he wrote in a different time. Thomas Hardy's story is set in rural England in the early 19th century, while Charlotte Gilman Perkins' story is set in a more modern place, in America in the early 20th century. In Turned the story is set in the urban realms of the United States. The background of the family was wealthy as we can tell by the description of Mrs. Marroner's bedroom, "In her soft-carpeted, thick curtained, richly furnished chamber." However, The Withered Arm is set in a very poor background and poverty. (For one of the main characters, Rhoda.) Both the authors were writing for different purposes, Thomas Hardy writes to entertain the audience, but Charlotte Perkins Gilman story has a more moral approach, which is to show independence & human rights of women. I have noticed in both stories that Thomas Hardy brings out the male character and Charlotte Perkins Gilman brings out the female character. Thomas Hardy focuses more on poverty, magic, rural life and the countryside and Charlotte Perkins Gilman focuses on human rights and the theme of independence. People in today's society like to read stories that are based on the supernatural and they like stories that are based on human relationships, so I think that both of these stories would be very popular. Thomas Hardy wrote this story on his beliefs as a Victorian and the influence on him, so I think that his attitude toward writing about witchcraft and magic probably came from the times he lived in. Hardy brings in the countryside because he was brought up in the area and it is a major influence in his writing. This is why he uses the technique of personification to describe Egdon heath so well. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is very academic, like the character of Mrs Marroner in her story. ...read more.

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