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Examine the ways in which Thomas Hardy writes about isolation in three sort stories of your choice.

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Introduction

Examine the ways in which Thomas Hardy writes about isolation in three sort stories of your choice. You should consider: * Character * Setting * The use of language From what you know of Hardy's life how would you account for his fascination with tragic figures? In all three of the stories I read 'The Melancholy Hussars of the German Legion,' 'The Withered Arm' and 'The Distracted Preacher' the setting remained in the same sort of isolation. The first was a large farm house away from any village and any known house, the closest place to the house was the area in which the Hussars had set up camp. In the second story a large farmhouse where two main characters reside and the other house mentioned is that of the other main character. This house is very secluded. It is about 1 mile away from the farm house and miles away from any village. The final story a village exists with many people, a church, a mill but the thing is that no other village exists for miles and because it is so close to the coast it makes the village seem more isolated than it actually is. ...read more.

Middle

'Smoke drooped heavily' is also a very good description and all these paint a picture of a heavy feeling of sadness. In the Withered Arm although isolation and sadness remain, they appear in a much more subtle way. In this story all the characters tie in with each other in some way and in the end they all seem to become remote. Straight away it is told to us that Rhoda Brook lives with her son some distance away from her fellow workers in a 'lonely spot.' Hardy describes her surroundings as 'dark countenance.' This means that the appearance she saw was dark. As hardy explains when Rhoda observes Mr Lodge returning with his new wife he states 'few people travelled this way, for it was not a main road:' This again tells us how isolated the area was. When Rhoda's son goes to see what Gertrude Lodge looks like, his father pays no interest to him as if he weren't there 'having taken no outward notice of the boy whatever.' This is a good example of isolation because the father obviously knows the young boy, ignores him and creates a picture of sadness in the boy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thomas Hardy uses a variety of styles of narrative which, combined with the dialogue and description, establish the tone of the stories. His use of regional dialect in the stories tends to identify the social class of the characters. Thomas Hardy uses first-person narrators who speak with a regional dialect for his more humorous stories. This style of narration immediately establishes an informal tone and the use of regional dialect creates a friendly atmosphere for the anecdote. The omniscient style such as The Distracted Preacher is used in the more serious stories in which Hardy is exploring issues of social division and morality. Through his descriptions Hardy develops our understanding of the characters. A character's physical appearance can indicate their nature, whilst their clothes can help to establish their social status. The character's homes often reflect their state of mind or their situation. In The Withered Arm Rhoda's home is remote from the village, a fact which suggests her status as an outcast. The dialogue in the stories allows us to identify the relationships between the characters. In The Distracted Preacher we can discern the evasiveness of Lizzy's responses to Stockdale's questions, which establishes her superiority. When Stockdale asks her about the barrels she replies 'I cannot inform, in fact, against anybody,' and the reader immediately suspects her personal involvement in the smuggling. ...read more.

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