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Comparing the characters in the books 'Salt On the Snow' and 'The Withered Arm'

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Introduction

Comparing the characters in the books 'Salt On the Snow' and 'The Withered Arm' 'Salt on the Snow' was written by Rukshana Smith in 1988. It tells the tale of Julie, a young girl wanting to be a volunteer. She is told to go and help an Asian family to learn to speak English and the story carries on from there. Julie then makes friends with one of the girls ,Rashmi, from the family and later on in the story the friendship is made very strong. The short story 'The Withered Arm' is a pre 19th century text written by Thomas Hardy. It is about Rhoda, a poor woman who works on her farm and a woman called Gertrude who has recently married a well-off farmer and they have just moved into the village. One night Gertrude discovers strange marks on her arm, which leads to trouble later on in the book. The characters Rhoda and Rashmi in the books are both underprivileged and do not lead very happy lives but the character Gertrude has a good life and is quite generous. ...read more.

Middle

In Gertrude's case she lives in an isolated area and does not meet many people because she wants to run here own life. She is quite envious of other people for example when her son saw Rhoda for the first time Gertrude asked many questions about her, in this instance due to the fact that Rhoda's husband is her sons father from their previous relationship. Rhoda recognises the "gruesome fascination" which leads her to seek out Gertrude the milkmaid - but she is unwilling to tell the younger woman where to find Conjuror Trendle for fear that she will lose Gertrude's friendship. In the first section of the book , the gossiping milkmaids admit that no one has seen her, but they have heard she is a "rosy-cheeked, tisty-tosty little body" who is years younger than her husband. The idea is thus set up that she is different from the working girls that are so curious about her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both the mothers of Rhoda and Rashmi are really outcasts. When Gertrude came around to visit Rhoda and the son Rhoda was very kind to them and after she had left Rhoda was speaking bad of here and saying to her son to not speak to her again. In the light of day, all talking between the two women are hampered by the sense of guilt. Rhoda feels for the injury to Gertrude's arm. The initial meeting does not come about through action on Rhodas part - she refuses to see her rival at all - but Gertrude comes to the cottage in a generous move to give the boy boots. Rhoda is so overwhelmed by the sweetness of the young woman that she wishes she could give the "innocent young thing ... her blessing and not her curse". There is small distrust between the English community and the Indian families, which is based on a lack of understanding of each other's culture and practices. Julie and Rashmi are equally horrified about each other when they first meet, as their attitudes have been formed by hearsay and generalisations. ...read more.

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