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How Prejudice Is Portrayed Towards Women Through Their Society In The Withered Arm and Turned.

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Introduction

How Prejudice Is Portrayed Towards Women Through Their Society In The Withered Arm and Turned. Over time the position of women in society has greatly changed. They were long considered a weaker and inferior sex with little, if any rights. If a woman was to be respected there were many expectations to be met. The Withered Arm was written in the 19th century by Thomas Hardy and expresses the attitudes against women of that time and the expectations of their biased society which live by strict paradoxical opposites. The two main characters portray two extreme contrasts of social status. Firstly Gertrude Lodge, a pure innocent victim, and Rhoda, a woman who had made a name for herself as a bitter, ill-favoured, malevolent floozy. Turned, written by Charlotte Gilman, approaches the subject of male superiority far more directly, with strong intellect from a controversial female character such as Mrs Marroner. Mrs Marroner is a women loyal to herself; you cannot help but admire her self control and have the up most respect for her modest pride. Again, in Turned we have a vast contrast between the two leading ladies. Gerta a maid to the Marroner household is yet to mature into a woman. ...read more.

Middle

Farmer Lodge, does not have a impeccable history with women, but for a woman to be his wife, she must be monogamous to him, and only him. What is considered acceptable behaviour for a man would be unacceptable and condemned in a woman in 19th century society. One rule for one gender, the adverse for the other. Rhoda is driven by jealousy, she is well aware that she is past her prime. The arrival of Gertrude puts salt in her wounds. Rhoda is not generally a unpleasant woman, but the years of mental torment have hardened her, she has become hostile, quickly judgemental, easily begrudging. Without even meeting Gertrude, she uses her as a source of blame, for every wrong doing Farmer Lodge and her culture has put her through. What irritates her more is that Gertrude is not a dislikeable person, quite the opposite. But before they have even met Rhoda has built a image as clear as a "realistic photograph". Rhoda's envy is always in her subconscious, until one night it gets so intense that she has a dream where all the pent up animosity from the years of loneliness is unleashed, she dreams of hurting Gertrude. She afflicts her with a handprint across the arm, the ugly form of jealousy branded on her skin. ...read more.

Conclusion

She sees the bigger picture, "the offence is against womanhood. Against motherhood. Against - the child" Gerta's child symbolises the hope. The new generation, the opportunity to make a change. Mrs Marroner has the strength to see past the problem to a brighter future. She believes in woman's ability to take control in a male dominated world, its is just a question of mind over matter. Mrs Marroner was just one of many women who soon realised that they all had a choice in their circumstances, the refusal to sub miss to what is statutory, but not moral, has given hope of a finer future. Farmer Lodge and Mr Marroner, are two very similar characters. Essentially what they did is very similar, but their cultural circumstances make their wives reactions highly contradistinctive. As the women of their culture are changing, no longer satisfied with the lack of courteous regard given to them by their society, so will their husbands. Rhoda and Mrs Marroner are two adverse characters, who both suffered from the prejudiced society they live under, the men they love, the stereotypes of the time. The 16 years passed between the times when each book was written displays a dramatic change in culture. With such changes taking place, their can be faith that the children of these woman will be born into equality. Gerta's child will be born into a world of equal opportunity. ...read more.

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