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Discuss how Thomas Hardy portrays the role of female characters in society in at least two of his short stories.

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English Coursework Discuss how Thomas Hardy portrays the role of female characters in society in at least two of his short stories. Thomas Hardy was a prominent author as well as a poet who was born in 1840 and died in 1928. During his long life, he wrote about one thousand poems and fifteen novels. He lived for the majority of his life close to Dorchester. Hardy obtained assorted ideas for his stories whilst he was growing up. An example of this was that he knew of a lady who had her blood 'turned' by a convicts corpse and he used this in the story 'The Withered Arm'. The existence of witches and witchcraft was acknowledged in his lifetime and it was not typical for several people to be executed for practicing witchcraft. In this essay, I am going to explore how the writer Thomas Hardy portrays the role of female characters in society in at least two of his short stories. This social isolation is apparent often in Hardy's stories, the main character - now identified as Rhoda - isolated from society partly through choice but also due to rejection by others. ...read more.


She is seriously undermined by feeling unattractive. Gertrude starts to lose emotional independence. Feeling that she has become unattractive to Farmer Lodge, - 'he loves me less' - she becomes obsessed with getting rid of the withered arm and therefore winning back his love. Her thoughts and actions now revolve around him. It seems that she is still acting independently because she has not suddenly started consulting him over everything she does but everything she does is more focused on him. Even her trips to Rhoda's are no longer just visits but means of finding information. Progressively she changes, due to this stress, from a person whose 'voice was so indescribably sweet, her glance so winning, her smile so tender' to 'an irritable superstitious woman'. Eventually she changes so much wanting to visit Conjuror Trendle, who is set apart like Rhoda, lower class, and rumoured to have magical powers. Immediately Rhoda gets, "a haunting reason to be superstitious" as she believes that the conjuror will show her as the "witch" that had "struck" Gertrude, she agrees to take Gertrude, "though with much misgiving". ...read more.


"Not what you call a gentleman,' she answered timidly. 'He'll be much I was before I knew your farther;' and by degrees she acquainted him with the whole. The youth's face remained fixed for a moment; then he flushed, leant on the table, and burst into passionate tears". Hardy shows and acknowledges to the reader of marrying a lower class through the views put out by Randolph as not the best of ideas. As the story is set in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, I feel that Hardy may have based his story on real life incidents or have even based his characters on real people. Writing the story may also have been an easier aspect to relate to as Thomas Hardy was lived his life between the dates of 1840 - 1928, which would have been around the same time in which the story is set. This should have given Hardy an easier understanding of marriage. He may have related to the situation by observing the surrounding which revolved around him, and how people were though of in early England if involved or married to a person outside class. Overall, Hardy has given a well-organised portrayal of marriage, and how it was seen as a difficult situation to marry the person you desire. ...read more.

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