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Comparison of the presentation of women in the stories by “The withered arm” by Thomas Hardy and “Tickets please” by D. H. Lawrence.

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Introduction

Dan Chorley Comparison of the presentation of women in the stories by "The withered arm" by Thomas Hardy and "Tickets please" by D. H. Lawrence. I am going to compare the story by Thomas Hardy, that was first published and set in the second half of the nineteenth century, with a story written by D. H. Lawrence which is set in the early twentieth century in the period of the first world war, to assess the different treatment of women at those times. The main characters in Thomas Hardys book "The Withered Arm" are Farmer Lodge, Gertrude his wife and Rhoda Brook, the mother of a child to the farmer called Lodge. Rhoda was once a beautiful young woman but has now, at the age of thirty, become a faded woman. Her ex-lover Farmer Lodge owns a big farm, which employs Rhoda and other women as milkmaids. Rhoda becomes jealous of farmer Lodges new wife, Gertrude, and in a dream imagines a horrible vision happening to Gertrude, which later comes true. Because of Gertrude's illness Farmer Lodge becomes a gloomy and silent man saddened by his wife's loss of beauty. To get back her beauty and her husbands love, Gertrude ignores her husband's wishes and hides her actions from him. Gertrude's secretive actions to cure her illness result in causing her death. ...read more.

Middle

At first she reacts with jealously but when she gets to know Gertrude better she begins to realise that Gertrude is an innocent women. Farmer Lodges marriage seems at first to be happy and he is pleased to show her off, and she ties to look her best by dressing in "a white bonnet and a silver coloured gown" which "whewed and whistled so loud when it rubbed against the pews" and impressed the men. Because he is older and because of the way women were looked upon at the time, he is strict and tells her what she can and cannot do, for example travelling to Casterbridge by herself was considered inappropriate for a women. In modern days married women are treated as equals and have a say in what they do as a married couple, for example women can travel freely and unaccompanied without attracting unnecessary attention. The women in "the withered arm" are dependent on men to provide for them to live a decent life. Rhoda and Gertrude are both used to men telling them what to do, neither are independent and outgoing whereas Annie and the women in "tickets please" are more carefree and have a say in what they want to do. D.H.Lawrence describes the women as "fearless young hussies" that "fear nobody-and everybody fears them" In many ways the tram girls can be said to lead very different lives to Rhoda and Gertrude because society ...read more.

Conclusion

Most of the men had gone away to fight for their country and this leads to a rise in women's confidence and self esteem. In her work, Annie's passengers have to respect and obey her, but John Thomas has power of choice over whom he wishes to marry. But he becomes wary of Annie and the other women's power and confidence when they gang up on him because of his flirting. In the story by Thomas Hardy I have noticed that the women's appearance has a significant impact on the prospect of a marriage to a higher-class man and the security it brings. The women in Thomas Hardys stories have to accept what comes to them because marriage gives an acceptable life style and the alternative is a low paid hard labour job, such as milkmaids. Gertrude's attitude to men is different to Annie's. She has to obey her husband to keep her security and has to show respect to his cold attitude towards her. Rhoda is independent and her attitude towards men was probably the same as Annie's, before Rhoda grew old and faded. Annie's life is of a better quality than Rhoads but if she had a child out of marriage she would find in some cases life difficult, as did Rhoda when she had to accept farmer Lodges decision to leave her to cope on her own with her son. ...read more.

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