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Discuss the Presentation of Women in the Stories "The Son's Veto" by Thomas Hardy and "Survival" by John Wyndham".

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Introduction

Coursework 28th February Discuss the Presentation of Women in the Stories "The Son's Veto" by Thomas Hardy and "Survival" by John Wyndham". "Survival" and "The Son's Veto" although are stories of a very different genre and written in different times were both written for the same purpose: for the writers to try to expose difficulties faced by women within their society. "The Son's Veto" deals with a working class woman who marries a middle class vicar. Sophy, the working class woman, finds the transition between the social classes difficult to cope with. Becoming a widow added to Sophy's increasing loneliness - this loneliness combined with her longing to return to her old life style gave Sophy a desire to accept an old friend's marriage proposal. She declined the offer due to her son's disapproval of the man. Sophy eventually dies at the end of the story. The main issues raised in "The Son's Veto" include the dramatic influence of men within Sophy's life, the feeling that Sophy must accept the vicar's marriage proposal because he is of an upper class and the discomfort felt by women in feeling they must conform to the middle class society's lifestyle. Survival describes the struggle of a woman on board a spaceship, which breaks down in the middle of space. Alice, the woman, finds that her only hope of survival is by resorting to cannibalism. Issues raised within Survival are that women are capable of logical thought, that women don't always behave in a stereotypical way, that women are just as mentally strong as men and they are not bound to react emotionally. ...read more.

Middle

Alice knows her position and how little power and therefore "the few requests she made" were "through the intermediation of her husband". An alternative reading of this may be that Alice had tried to get her point across but know one had listened until she had used her husband as her communication medium. When Alice comes to tell the Captain something, even though she approaches him and therefore would expect to start the conversation herself; he does. He immediately becomes in control he wants to maintain his authority. The main issue raised in "Survival" is how women are stereotyped, in "The Son's Veto"; this is not a major an issue as class but still exists. The difference between the two may be there due to the historical differences between the two texts. The passengers and crew on board the "s/r Falcon", would have been very surprised to see a woman on board and maybe thought that she "ought to be ... sitting in some village ... knitting". Alice must break away from this stereotype to be taken seriously by these men. At the very beginning of the text, two very stereotypical characters are created: Mr. and Mrs. Feltham - Alice's parents. Mrs. Feltham is very emotional, very reliant on her husband, very frantic and very unreasonable whereas Mr. Feltham is the voice of reason, good sense and good judgement. Alice breaks away from the stereotypes of her parents. The journey to Mars can be viewed as a metaphor for leaving behind stereotypical expectations and become "real" to her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Women were given the vote as the First World War ended in 1918 after long campaigning by the suffragettes. During the 1950's girls were entitled to the same education as boys. During the 1950's women were allowed to divorce a man if they felt that the marriage needed to be terminated. Wyndham's story includes space travel which was a major part of the fifties. The major wars in prior to Wyndham's text heralded a huge leap in terms of technology which was a major theme within "Survival". If Hardy had created some sort of resolution to his text, he would have been deemed ridiculous by the society and no one would have taken his story seriously. Hardy actually prided himself on how radical he was in terms of depicting patriarchal societies. A contemporary feminist reading of "Survival" would suggest that Alice is not really a powerful woman and that the only power she gains makes her grotesque. Alice becomes so intoxicated by the power that it corrupts her and leads her to eat the rescuers. Wyndham's text actually shows how power corrupts women. A feminist may also argue that the fact that she gained any power at all is overridden by the fact that none of the events take place on earth but instead closer to Mars. Alice only induces the power by becoming a mother which is exactly what her mother wanted from her. These contemporary feminist readings show how Wyndham's opinions are irrelevant and contradictory. Wyndham's failure to depict patriarchy to satisfy feminist readers reveals that Wyndham is quite afraid of the power and potential of women. Page 1 of 5 Dean Al-Sened ...read more.

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