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How Far Would You Consider Rhoda and Gertrude a Villain or a Victim?

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HOW FAR WOULD YOU CONSIDER RHODA AND GERTRUDE A VILLAIN OR A VICTIM? In The Withered Arm, we see two sides to Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge's personalities. During the story, each of them can be portrayed as a victim or villain. I intend to examine how they could be seen as either a villain or a victim at different parts of this novel. Rhoda can be seen as victim of isolation poverty and loneliness. She lived in an isolated area, in a small cottage away from Farmer Lodge and the farm and worked away from the other workers, so not to cause conflict, she is gossiped about even when she is present. This makes us automatically sympathetic towards Rhoda. We see this in the first chapter, where the head milkman at the dairy has to go as far as to tell the others to be quiet. Rhoda also feels as though she is a victim due to her age, as she is 30 years old she is described as 'thin and fading' Compared to Gertrude who was a lot younger at only 19. She single handily brought up a boy, who is 12 with little money and no support from the father. The father of her son is her boss and old flame, Farmer Lodge, who is obviously not poor. ...read more.


She caused the arm to wither by using black magic; this is confirmed in chapter 5 by Conjurer Trendle and is also clarified by the gossip by the other workers on the farm about her being a witch. This makes us believe that she is a villain, as witches are considered evil. Gertrude can also be recognised as a victim for a number of reasons. The first being she has to live up to the standards set on her by society. These were that women were supposed to be very well mannered in the way they acted and care about what they looked like. This image would have been very hard to portray with her now withered arm. She is also deeply saddened by the fact she is childless. I know this when farmer lodge is shows his frustration that Gertrude and him have not had a child. This is best shown when he says " once I thought of adopting a boy, but he is to old now". Gertrude knows he is speaking of his child with Rhoda. This makes us sympathetic towards Gertrude making us think of her as a victim maybe of infertility. She is also a victim of jealousy, as Rhoda is jealous, as she still loves Farmer Lodge. ...read more.


Gertrude is not faithful as she lies to Lodge about the cure and does not confide in Rhoda either. This portrays her, as a villain by making us perceive her as unloyal. Gertrude is a villain as she prays for someone to be hanged so that she could be cured, which coincidentally happened to be Rhoda and Farmer Lodge's son. This is an act of selfishness. As a last resort, she turns to Conjurer Trendle, although she does not believe in witchcraft and superstition. He says Rhoda is the cause of her disfigurement. So Gertrude cannot trust the only friend she has. On the second visit, Trendle says she has to touch the neck of a corpse, so her blood turns making her a victim as she has to carry out this gruesome task. In conclusion, both women are villains. Rhoda inflicted pain on Gertrude through jealousy. Even when the women became friends Rhoda decided it wise not to tell Gertrude of the incident, which caused the withering of the arm. Gertrude is a villain because although having a dismissive husband and having a disfigured arm she still prayed for the death of another human being. Although we cannot really say who is the bigger victim or villain as different people have a different interpretation of their morals, so there is no collective sense of right and wrong. ?? ?? ?? ?? Scott Elliott 11sp miss Kemp English Withered arm ...read more.

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