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How does each author emphasise the differences between social and natural law and illustrate the difficulties the characters face?

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Introduction

Donna Smale Robert Swindells writes about a society of the future whereas Hardy has written about life in the nineteenth century and yet both authors focus on the unremitting conflict between social convention and natural humanity. How does each author emphasise the differences between social and natural law and illustrate the difficulties the characters face? Swindells and Hardy wrote their novels over a century apart, yet they both discuss their concern regarding the restrictions of social convention on natural humanity. The societies of the times in which the authors wrote have many contrasts, but both found it necessary to write about the conflict between social and natural law. Hardy was protesting against the way his society was and urged the middle classes; who comprised his audience, to leave their iniquitous ways. Swindells, however, warns the modern society of the late twentieth century what the augmentation of the suppressive forms of social convention, upon natural humanity, would lead to. Social convention is a restriction upon natural humanity. A good example of this is found in what the vicar in Tess of the d'Urbervilles told Tess, when she asked the him to give Sorrow a Christian burial: 'Well - I would willingly do so if only we two were concerned. But I must not - for liturgical reasons.' He could have done so if his decision was based on natural humanity, compassion for her individual circumstances. However he felt could not do this -'for liturgical reasons', as the book of common worship instructed: The Office ensuing [the service for the burial of the dead] is not to be used for any that die unbaptised. ...read more.

Middle

This is an effective technique forcing the reader to think back over the course of the book, considering whether Tess, representing natural humanity, was done justice. Swindells wrote Daz 4 Zoe intending it to be read by an audience who would identify with Zoe; a working/middle class teenager of today. His language then differs greatly to Hardy's, as the social context is so different. Our society is not easily shocked: we have been desensitised. This meant that Swindells was able to use direct descriptions and graphic imagery rather than being forced to use figurative language. His efforts to write shocking occurrences is evident in Zoe's finding of the dead body in Rawhampton: They'd found a dead man and filled his nose, mouth and one ear with twigs and grass stems. This kind of scene is an extreme that Hardy would not have dared use, but is necessary to shock the audience Swindells aims his novel at. Swindells uses unsophisticated language, which is easily understood by a teenage reader. He also wrote the novel in a diary style so that the appeal would be suitable. He aims his novel at teenagers, as it is the younger generations he wishes to warn about the dangers of the way society could become: young people will forge that future society. If he had written the novel for a middle class well-educated adult, then there would be little point in warning someone about something that they'd have no control over, as they would not be part of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

The use of informal and colloquial language lures the audience into momentarily caring about the palm trees. The story evokes guilt in the reader as they realise they are responsible for the glut of trivial information filling the media. Swindells probably dislikes society's fascination with shallow information, which is why the palm tree story is such a contrast with the real issues being raised in the main novel. Although Hardy and Swindells wrote very different novels, their messages regarding the tension between natural and social law are very similar. They both feel that the rigidity of social convention is a restriction upon the necessary natural humanity. Hardy protested against the way that society had so many inflexible rules and judgements, which did not correspond with natural humanity over individual circumstances. Swindells warns his audience of the deep segregation that can be caused if compassion and natural instincts are ignored and social convention is taken to an extreme level where individuals are no longer recognised and only two forms of people are classed; the valued, and the valueless. Both novels, however, intend to change to the way the reader thinks and that social convention is tamed to allow natural humanity to operate within it. Neither states natural humanity is good and social convention is bad. They merely suggest that social convention has more power and over bearance on natural humanity. Both must be allowed to exist for a well developed, just society to occur. ...read more.

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