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Explain and compare how the writers of 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned' develop suspense and sympathy in the introduction of their work.

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Maria Mulvany Explain and compare how the writers of 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned' develop suspense and sympathy in the introduction of their work. The Withered Arm The characters of the piece are Rhoda, two other milkmaids, the dairyman, Farmer Lodge, his new bride, and Rhoda Brooke's son. The introduction does not give a factual description of the setting. It is not a definite account of the background of the characters. But towards the end of the piece as we are given more information and we can piece together a clearer picture of the characters and the setting. Rhoda is introduced as an isolated person. The way she is described makes the reader feel sympathetic towards her. The author uses words such as 'fading' and 'worn' to get this effect: She is described as "...a thin fading woman" and the first milkmaid signifies her as "...the thin worn milkmaid". Most of the information is in the dialogue, but it does not express Rhoda's feelings. This allows the reader to interpret what she is thinking and what may have occurred in the past. You are not aware of her position in the story at the beginning. When the other milkmaids suggest that she is involved with Farmer Lodge "He ha'n't spoke to Rhoda Brook for years" you begin to wonder what has happened between them. Because the writer has developed Rhoda as a woman who is isolated and has low self-esteem, you feel that Farmer Lodge may have been the cause of this. ...read more.


He is unreliable and unreasonable as he has abandoned her and left her to live a miserable life with their son. We know little of the new wife of the farmer but we get an idea of her from the description by Rhoda. She describes her as a 'lady', while the other milkmaids said she was 'rosy-cheeked.' "she's a rosy cheeked, tisty-tosty little body enough..." The young son is twelve years old, and although he does not speak very much, his destructive behaviour at the end of the piece makes us sense that he has been affected by his mother's harsh treatment by his father. "...he was cutting a notch with his pocket knife in the beech-backed chair." Turned The characters in this story include Mr. and Mrs. Marroner and the young woman, Gerta. Mrs. Marroner is the first to be introduced. The writer creates an immediate impact by the opening scene with the character. She is described by a long opening paragraph that paints a picture of a wealthy, emotional woman. "...soft-carpeted, thick-curtained, richly furnished chamber..." "...shoulders heaved and shook convulsively..." The reader might feel that the character is exaggerated at the beginning, especially as she appears to have everything, however as the story unfolds we realise she may be justified in feeling so sad. Gerta's bedroom is described as being the exact opposite of Mrs. ...read more.


Their surroundings are pitiful with Gerta sleeping in the attic on a hard bed and in Rhoda's case she lives in a run down hut. They are both in difficult situations. The reader is less informed about Rhoda than Gerta. The description of Rhoda may not appear detailed yet it possible to build up an image of her and her miserable life. For example we are told that she may have been handsome but now she appears older than her age, because of her strenuous life. However the writer of 'Turned' describes Gerta more clearly making the reader become more involved with her. Although the stories have similarities there are contrasts between them as well. 'The Withered Arm' was written in the nineteenth century where as the other is a more modern piece. The writer of 'The Withered Arm' uses formal language in long descriptive sentences, which is effective at developing suspense as it fits in with the rural setting. For the dialogue the writer uses local dialect that creates a realistic atmosphere allowing the reader to relate to the characters. In 'Turned' the language is more lively and descriptive of an urban lifestyle. The writer has used short sentences to highlight the key information that triggers the suspense. Although the pieces describe different settings and the women are different ages, the devices used to create sympathy and suspense are similar. This shows that, over time, writers have used similar techniques to interest the reader: creating sympathy for the characters, setting a realistic situation that is described carefully and developing suspense. 5 ...read more.

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