• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the portrayal of women in Hardy's 'The Withered Arm' and Lawrence's 'Odour of Chrysanthemums'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the portrayal of women in Hardy's 'The Withered Arm' and Lawrence's 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' This essay is aimed at comparing and contrasting the portrayal of women in the two short stories, 'The Withered Arm' (written by Thomas Hardy) and 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' (written by DH Lawrence). Both of these stories are set at different times in history - 'The Withered Arm' is set at a pre-industrial date (18th century) and 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' is set during the industrial revolution (in the early 20th century). In both of the short stories, we notice some strong similarities between the two central, female characters - Rhoda and Elizabeth, and we also see that both stories illustrate loneliness. Both stories are based on the idea of a woman being neglected, rejected, and mistreated by a man which eventually leads to their portrayal as victims. Their class system is also responsible for their downfall is some way. Elizabeth Bates (in 'Odour of Chrysanthemums') and Rhoda Brook (in 'The Withered Arm') are both members of the low, working class. We know this by the type of job Rhoda has (milkmaid) and the place where Elizabeth lives (an industrial mining town - a poor area). ...read more.

Middle

However, despite struggling and misery (reflected in physical appearance) both female characters (Rhoda and Elizabeth) are shown as rather strong and robust as they are able to overcome nearly everything that life throws at them. Their pride and dignity is revealed. This is exposed in both their physical appearance and their actions. For example: Elizabeth shows her pride when she refuses to go and bring her husband from the pub and Rhoda shows her dignity when she is too proud to see Gertrude herself and when she also refused 'help money' each year from Farmer Lodge. All characters throughout both stories suffer a battle with their emotions and inner lives. Rhoda's repressed jealousy of Gertrude is evident in Gertrude's withered arm but it could be argued that it is further withered by Gertrude's vanity. Her jealousy is presented when an 'evil spirit' or incubus resembling Gertrude attacks her. This face is the face of Gertrude after the turning of the blood many years later. Also, in Rhoda's dream, Gertrude is trying to suffocate, and smother Rhoda. This is symbolic of Rhoda's 'smothering jealousy' and her intense jealously of Gertrude; ''the figure thrust forward it's left hand mockingly, so as to make the wedding ring it wore glitter in Rhoda's eyes'' Elizabeth ...read more.

Conclusion

She "shows marks of a lady on her". Women in these stories are described in detail. This is because in 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' but even more in 'The Withered Arm', women are very dependent on the way that they look. How they look affects their whole life because, especially in 'The Withered Arm', being beautiful means they can attract men, who earn the money so they can lead a happy life. This fact is displayed in 'The Withered Arm'. Farmer Lodge is drawn to Gertrude in the beginning because of her good looks. In the end, her withered arm repels him. When the milkmaids first view Gertrude she is described as a "rosy-cheeked, tisty-tosty little body" who has drawn Farmer Lodge away from Rhoda who has born his son. Rhoda, on the other hand, is described as a "thin fading woman" and at only thirty years old it seems a little unfair! This shows how much looks matter. When Gertrude starts getting a withered arm Farmer Lodge rejects her, to her great dismay. She longs for her husband back, but instead of discussing with her husband the problems that she is facing with her arm,all she can think of to get him back is to regain her looks: "If I could only again be as I was when he first saw me." Alistair Pell ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Thomas Hardy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Thomas Hardy essays

  1. Discuss Hardy's Portrayal Of Women In "The Withered Arm"

    Gertrude is introduced to the reader very positively. Her dialect is one of an educated person compared to Rhoda's. She is described by Rhoda's son as "very pretty" and "a lady complete". Light imagery is used several times. She is described as "the light under a heap of rose petals."

  2. Compare and contrast the two stories, "The Outsiders and "The Withered arm", and show ...

    view which would be the view in which the author, Thomas Hardy has written "The Withered Arm" in. Personally took "The Supernatural Elementary Level" enables me to interpret the short story whilst taking into account the view of the author, and the way I feel Rhoda Brook is connected to the development in Gertrude Lodge's character.

  1. The Withered Arm

    He focuses again on colours, and also the senses, to create the setting when describing farmer Lodge: "in the prime of life, cleanly shaven like an actor, his face toned to that bluish-vermilion hue..." the farmer is in the prime of his life and has no worries at all.

  2. Discuss Hardy's Portrayal of Women in The Withered Arm

    "[They] took no notice of you?" Rhoda interrogates her son. Mr.Lodge treated Rhoda like a child-bearer, which led Rhoda to jealousy because Gertrude was prettier than her. But, of course, we know that women were more likely to be judged on the outside and not in the inside, even by other women.

  1. Show how Hardy responds to the death of his wife, the thoughts and feelings ...

    Hardy's feelings of guilt and regret come through strongly in the second stanza. He did not do many of the things he should when he had the chance and this is shown by the repetition of 'when I could' in the first two lines of this stanza.

  2. Prose Study " The Withered Arm And Other Wessex Tales" By Thomas Hardy

    It was Randolph's selfish pride that stopped him allowing his mother the one thing that would make her happy. However in " The Withered Arm" pride wasn't the issue it was rather a middle class man's misinterpretation of the Victorian attitudes to women and the mistake that he made of

  1. Examine the portrayal of the relationship between the sexes in the short stories of ...

    Gradually 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'. While Rhoda Brooks seems like an independent character that fends for herself, but you find out that throughout the short story

  2. Thomas Hardy writes about the divisions between the upper and lower classes within three ...

    This shows that the upper class valued the lower class as much lower than them in society which they were. When the major rules of society were broken the person (or people) involved frequently moved away from the area to avoid confrontation and gossip from others who feel appalled by their behaviour.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work