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How are women portrayed in each of the short stories?

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework Oliver Maule - March 2002 How are women portrayed in each of the short stories? In this essay I am going to compare short stories and focus on describing the writer's portrayal of women. The stories that I will be comparing are "The Withered Arm", "Tony Kytes, The Arch Deceiver", "The Ice-Palace" and "Tickets, Please." The first two stories are pre twentieth century texts the second two are post 1914 and therefore have a different portrayal of woman. Hardy describes women by their appearance and physical characteristics. As soon as the story starts he is judging and describing women by physical characteristics. 'Whose face was buried in the flank of that motionless beast' Thomas Hardy's female characters, although confident and very strong willed, still give the impression that they are willing to put up with, what would be to a modern audience, unacceptable behaviour from a man, because at the time of securing a husband, it was also securing your future. An example would be Hardy's character Milly. She was engaged to Tony when he decided he wanted not one but two other girls in preference to her and yet she still consented to marry him in the end. He wrote 'Tony Kytes, the Arch - Deceiver' in 1894. Hardy makes women seem unimportant in the roles that they play but does make extremely detailed descriptions of their appearance. ...read more.

Middle

When the women do this they look like cats together, hunting and attacking to achieve their 'mission'. They are always active and ready for anything. This is a great contrast to how the women are portrayed in the other stories. 'Their faces were flushed, their hair wild, their eyes were all glittering strangely.' 'He lay at last quite still, with face averted, as an animal lies when it is defeated at the mercy of the captor.' The first quote above shows that they are attacking, working together like a pack of wild cats. The second quote is saying what they have done as a result of their unity. They are ultimately strong and whereas usually it is a male dominated society the women have shown their strengths in numbers and they can win. The way the authors chose to portray their female characters also gives us a good indication of how they felt about women and their role in society. Hardy uses quite a humorous way to show the misfortunes of his female characters. It's like he is putting them down through the use of irony and the comedy of their situation. The fact that Tony lives 'happily ever after' despite the fact he is unfaithful to not one, but three women, might anger some people. He empowered his female characters, and gave them the chance to humiliate the male lead, who was unfaithful to them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall women are portrayed differently in each of the stories mainly because of the different eras they were written in. Some people portray women in a negative way to make them feel small and used. Others concentrate only on their looks and their physical appearance. F. Scott Fitzgerald tries to make them seem equal and make women look better by judging them by physical appearance and their inner personality. But in doing this he seems to be against the men by referring to them as canine, and describing them as animals and referring to women as feline and also describing them as animals. This is an unusual but effective technique. There are not many similarities in the stories apart from the fact that in each they make the women the center of the story and try to build up a different point of view around them so their idea of women can be put across in the most effective way possible. Although the women in the 20th century stories that marriage is now an option for them. Now all the stories are concerned about the relationships with men. All the stories are concerned with women as central characters but in modern stories female characters are active and dictate the action of the story. In Withered Arm and in Tickets Please when the women are united it is more of a threat. GCSE English Coursework MARCH/APRIL 2002 Oliver Maule Miss Lilley Year 10 Set 1 ...read more.

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