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Discuss the treatment of marriage and class in The Son's Veto and The Odour of Chrysanthemums.

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Discuss the treatment of marriage and class in The Son's Veto and The Odour of Chrysanthemums The writers of both the stories make it clear that class creates problems and that marrying between the classes leads to an unhappy marriage. The women in both the stories marry out of their own class. In Elizabeth's case we do not know from what background she came from but it is clear that it is not the same as her husbands. She hates the fact that her husband has brought her to a place like the mining town to live and that he leaves her alone often, with the children. "What a fool, and this is what I came here for, to this dirty hole, rats and all, for him to slink past his door". Elizabeth regrets having married her husband. We know where Sophy has come from and that she was just a maid to her husband before they married. Neither of the women have been satisfied or fulfilled by their marriages. Elizabeth talks of her husband and her marriage "bitterly". Sophy never actually loved her husband but "she had a respect for him that almost amounted to veneration". Sophy's marriage was never properly fulfilled, she was secure in her marriage to the vicar and she had everything she needed but she did not actually love her husband and because of this their marriage was never complete. ...read more.


She replies to Elizabeth, "Asn't 'e? Oh, Jack's been 'ome an' 'ad 'is dinner an' gone out. 'E's just gone for 'alf an hour afore bedtime" Because of the way that Elizabeth talks and the tidiness of her house, Mrs. Rigley talks to her with a voice "tinged with respect". The people of the town do not reject Elizabeth but she is not friends with any of the people because they have respect for her. In Sophy's case the people of her husband's class do not accept her because she speaks differently to them. The story tells us how Sophy, even though she had been married for more than fourteen years, she could still not use "was" and "were". The story tells us how "this did not beget as respect for her among a few acquaintances she made. Sophy does that have any friends; she has "acquaintances" and these do not respect her because they see her dialect as being a sign of her ill education and inferiority. The children in the stories are made unhappy because of the marriages of their parents and the differences between them. Sophy's son resents the fact that his mother is from a different class to that of his father, she corrects her on her grammar and is embarrassed about his. ...read more.


One day she sees Sam, the man she was planning to marry when she lived in Gaymead and before her husband proposed to her. Its says the "she often though of him and wondered if life in a cottage would have been better than the life she had accepted" She asks her son if she can marry again and her son "thought the idea was a very reasonable one" and asked if she had chosen any one. He said he hoped that his stepfather would be a gentleman. Sophy replies, " Not what you call a gentleman, he'll be such as I was before I met your father" Her son does not like the idea at all, "the youths face remained fixed for a moment; then he flushed, leant on the table, and burst into passionate tears" he then becomes angered and says to his mother " I am ashamed of you! It will ruin me! A miserable boor! A churl! A clown! It will degrade me in the eyes of all the gentlemen in England" Her son will not let her marry Sam because of his class status, he thinks more of his position among the gentlemen of England than of his mother's happiness. Sophy dies at the end of the story and it is only Sam who wipes a tear from his eye, not even her son cries for his mothers. Lucy Wade 11RW ...read more.

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