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Hardy held strong views concerning the social and moral hypocrisy prevalent in the 19th century society. Explore how class distinction, snobbery and patriarchal dominance are represented in any two of his short stories.

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Introduction

Hardy held strong views concerning the social and moral hypocrisy prevalent in the 19th century society. Explore how class distinction, snobbery and patriarchal dominance are represented in any two of his short stories. In the two of Hardy's short stories which I read, 'The withered arm' and 'The sons veto' we are shown he holds and portrays a very bias opinion, in which he doesn't agree at all with the male dominance over women of that time. During the 19th century there was an extremely harsh line which was drawn between those working on the land as farmers and those working in a higher class than them. The males in the relationship were dominant as husbands and they acted more of the fatherly role towards their wives than a husband's role, acting as if they always new best and that the female's opinion doesn't count. ...read more.

Middle

Gertrude also makes a comment about how men only ever go for looks and as soon as they lose their looks they move onto somebody different. 'Men think so much of personal appearance'. Because of class distinction, Rhoda and Gertrude are never really allowed to socialise together as Rhoda doesn't rally want to go with Gertrude to see Conjuror Trendle, not only because Gertrude would find out that it was her fault, but also because Rhoda knows it is wrong and that she would get a lot of critism. I am shown this in the story because when Gertrude asks Rhoda to go with her, Hardy replies to her answer and said 'The milk woman murmured'. This makes sure we no that she is only a milk woman and of a lower class. Throughout 'The sons veto', we are able to see the theme of male dominance a lot clearer, especially when the subject of considering marriage arises. ...read more.

Conclusion

The woman would then become answerable to the eldest son, and he would be the one in control, and makes all of the decisions. In the story, Sophie knows that she would need her son's approval before she could marry Sam. Yet she knows that he will disapprove, 'To tell Randolph seemed impossible... could she deny him? When she does ask his, he asks in a very childish and selfish manner. HE says that he is too bothered about his own reputation to care about his mothers life, 'It will degrade me inn all the eyes of all the gentlemen of England'. It is through Hardy's observations that we are able to clearly see the social snobbery and patriarchal dominance. He shows us how men took advantage of women and forced them into marriages were love may not be involved. He also shows the harsh line of class distinction and how it is almost impossible to change the class in which you are brought up into. ...read more.

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