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How do Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence portray relationships between men and women in "Her Turn" and "To Please His Wife"?

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Introduction

ENGLISH ESSAY HOW DO HARDY AND LAWRENCE PORTRAY RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN IN 'HER TURN' AND 'TO PLEASE HIS WIFE'? Hardy and Lawrence use these short stories to portray the relationships between men and women. Both writers show us how money affects and alters these relationships. Lawrence's story, 'Her Turn' follows the relationship of a man called Radford and his wife. He works down a coal-mining pit and she takes care of the home. This alone reveals that at this time men were the workers; the providers for the women. After a strike, she is deprived of her monthly instalments of money, since Radford argues that she has enough already. When the next one comes, she is prepared and ready; she knows exactly how to overcome the problem. Hardy's story describes the relationship of a sailor called Captain Shadrach Jollife with his girlfriend who later becomes his wife, Joanna. He meets and courts Joanna after returning from sea but Joanna becomes unhappy. Her ambition and jealousy get the better of her and eventually lead to the presumed death of her husband and sons, which mentally destroys her. The main relationship that Lawrence describes in his story is the relationship between Radford and his wife. At the beginning of the story we are told that with this marriage 'there was between them that truce which is never held between a man and his first wife'. Their relationship is more of a companionship than a passionate romance that a first marriage would consist of. Radford is described as a 'man for the women'. This shows that in a relationship in is the man that has to be suitable for the woman, not the other way round. He has a natural 'courtesy' about him. Lawrence portrays him as a kind gentle man who has 'good humour' and 'plenty of friends'. We are told his 'naivety' makes him popular with the neighbouring women in 'spite of their prudery'. ...read more.

Middle

We are told this girl is 'fine enough' to marry this person. This tells us that a woman has to be good enough for a man. There is no question whether he is good enough for her, because he is already presumed to be superior. A fascinating way that Lawrence uses for describing the relationships is by use of animals. At one time in the story Lawrence says 'Two doves were cooing in a cage'. Although this could be interpreted literally, I believe that it is a metaphor for how their relationship is at that moment. It symbolises how they are as a couple. Also in this story, Mrs Radford is referred to as a cat. In contrast, Radford is told to be 'stroking a tortoise'. She speaks in a 'cat-like' voice and she had a 'cat-like look' of satisfaction about her. Lawrence is using a cat because these are associated with slyness and cunning, which she used in her actions to get more money. Radford on the other hand is slow and easily outwitted as is a tortoise. This description is another way that Lawrence portrays them together in their relationship. The main relationship in Hardy's story is between Shadrach Jollife and Joanna, but the first is the intertwined relationship of Joanna, Shadrach, and Joanna's friend Emily. After returning from sea, he enters church and afterwards comes across these two women. Hardy describes one of them as a 'gentle creature'. This reveals the respect that he has for the women. He is hinting at their beauty, and they would be flattered at the remark. At first, Emily is 'shy' in the presence of Shadrach, but eventually 'lost her heart' to him which tells us that once a woman becomes familiar with a man, she can fall in love with him. She is speaks nervously to him with 'fitful' laughs. This reveals how the man is in the driving seat in a relationship, and how, in a mans presence, a woman becomes uneasy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This makes her break down and lose control of her life since she turns into 'a skeleton of something human'. An interesting point about relationships that Hardy injects into the story on more than one occasion is the point about how women jump at the chance to improve their social status. We are told that 'there is always the chance that an attractive woman mating considerably above herself.' This reveals a man high in the social ladder can chose to marry a woman lower than him if she in good looking. No consideration goes into the point of personality when it comes to this, just image, revealing how men judge women. Women are always trying to marry higher because their status in the community will go up. This would have led to a great deal of consequences, but in general a better life style would be had. Lawrence portrays the relationship between men and women showing men as the providers for the women. In turn, the women look after the house for the men, providing the meals. He portrays men as being slow, 'na�ve' people, but still they are kind and gentle. On the other hand, women are smart as they can 'outwit' their opposite halves as they are 'cunning'. Men are allowed to go out and socialise but it appears in this society, women don't. In the end, the woman takes control of the relationship due to manipulation. Hardy portrays the relationship between men and women similarly to Lawrence's. Again the man goes out and earns the money for the woman and she takes care of the home. She controls him and tells him what to do. The man is very easy going and never strongly argues back. Both stories show that lack of money has a big effect on the relationship. In Lawrence's case providing a means for a woman to show she is equal to the man, in Hardy's ending in the loss of the relationship and concluding in death. ...read more.

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