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How does Hardy elicit sympathy for the three main characters?

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How does Hardy elicit sympathy for the three main characters? Thomas Hardy has an extremely clever way of obtaining sympathy for a character. Hardy has specific ways to elicit sympathy by varying the level of sympathy he gives to character. He either gives sympathy to someone or takes it away from a character so more sorrow seems to be on another. He also uses powerful language to strengthen his points and finally he shows sorrow from a character's point of view. He uses these techniques on the three main characters (Rhoda, Farmer Lodge and Gertrude) exceptionally well. We first see Farmer Lodge in his gig while bringing his new wife Gertrude to Holmstoke. He sees his son but completely ignores him: "One of the neighbourhood. I think he lives with his mother a mile or two off." (Page 4) Gertrude asks Farmer Lodge who the boy is but he totally disregards his son and does not even acknowledge the child. He does not even tell his new wife that the child is his son. We give him no sympathy for this cruel act as he should have at least greeted the youngster. In comparison, Farmer Lodge's son looks up to him: "Mr Lodge, he seemed pleased, and his waistcoat stuck out, and his great golden seals hung like a lord's" (Page 70) ...read more.


(Page 19) We can surmise that it is Gertrude's fault that they can not conceive as Farmer Lodge had had a child before. She has pressure on her to give birth and gets our sympathy as Rhoda is no longer in the picture. Hardy enters an unbearable situation where you can not help feeling sorry for her. He also talks about her change in behaviour and character: "The once blithe-hearted and enlightened Gertrude was changing into an irritable, superstitious woman," (Page19) She is desperate. She will do anything to get rid of the withered arm. Her life was fine before this arm came about. Her beauty and her friends have gone. She will do anything. A powerful line that gives all our sympathy to Gertrude is when she shows her desperation: "If only I could be again be as I was when he first saw me!" (Page 20) We feel so sorry for her. She has not done anything wrong in her life to deserve the curse she had got. Hardy made Gertrude dictate her feelings which is a real heart softener as we show compassion and consideration towards Gertrude's terrible situation. It was her desperation and distress that pushed Gertrude to go to the extremes she did. The character that was constantly surrounded with sympathy and sorrow was Rhoda: "where a thin fading woman of thirty milked somewhat apart from the rest." ...read more.


Hardy has swamped Rhoda's character with sympathy throughout the story therefore her cruel deed does not appear so bad to the audience. Rumours were then spread of Rhoda being a witch so she left the village with her son: "she and her boy disappeared from the neighbourhood of Holmstoke." (Page 18) Rhoda left with our entire compassion one her so when she re-enters the story with another reason for her sympathy the effect is overwhelming: "'Hussy - to come between us and our child now!' cried Rhoda. 'This is the meaning of what Satan showed me in the vision!' (Page 31-2) Gertrude is touching with her deceased son's body, the only one love Rhoda had in her life. She stands just as she was in Rhoda's dream. Her left hand held out mocking Rhoda. She then lives in solitude by herself milking her cows in a "monotonous" way. In this way Hardy creates more feelings of sympathy towards Rhoda and so he does throughout the story. Thomas Hardy elicits sympathy in specific way. He either gives sympathy by making us feel sorry for someone or takes sympathy away form someone do another character seems to have more consideration. He also uses strong language to emphasis his points. He furthermore shows sorrow on a character such as when Gertrude wishes Farmer Lodge would treat her like before. He uses each technique many times changing who we feel most sympathy for multiple times. ?? ?? ?? ?? Balraj Dhesi Page 1 02/05/2007 ...read more.

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