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In the short stories we have studied, Tony Kytes, the Arch Deceiver, The History of the Hardcomes, The Ice Palace and The Last of the Belles, the roles of the female characters are very different.

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Introduction

Wider Reading Coursework In the short stories we have studied, Tony Kytes, the Arch Deceiver, The History of the Hardcomes, The Ice Palace and The Last of the Belles, the roles of the female characters are very different. Tony Kytes, the Arch Deceiver and The History of the Hardcomes were written by Thomas Hardy whilst The Ice Palace and The Last of the Belles are by F.Scott Fitzgerald. There are many differences and ways to explain the differences in the roles of the female characters. For example, the period the story was written has a big effect on how the female characters are portrayed. In the two Thomas Hardy stories we have studied, Tony Kytes, the Arch Deceiver and The History of the Hardcomes, the female characters play a secondary role to the male characters. This reflects how society was in the time of Hardy. In the nineteenth century, girls were taught to be courted and not to court men themselves. This is one of the reason why Tony's father is unhappy that Tony was alone with a girl he wasn't engaged to in Tony Kytes, the Arch Deceiver. Their roles in life were to be a good wife and to please their husband. In the Victorian era, men were seen to be more important than women in society. Most of the female characters in the two Hardy stories reflect the society's attitude towards women. ...read more.

Middle

Also, women were still not able to vote in Britain until 1928, the year of the death of Thomas Hardy. These fact show that women could not play a major role in society because of restrictions placed by the governments. Hardy lived in an age where girls were taught "how to go bout their household chores", from Women and Victorian Values,1837-1910, and women taught their roles in society. Motherhood was their social responsibility. It was said "motherhood became something that was no longer natural but something that had to be learnt". However, this was also the time when the Industrial Revolution occured in Britain and as a result, many more women started to work in big industrial cities such as Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow. It can be said that this showed a turning point in the roles of women in Victorian society. The roles of the characters in the Hardy stories are very different from the roles of the female characters in the two F.Scott Fitzgerald stories we've studied. Fitzgerald's stories were often set during or after the First World War and this is a time when the roles of women were starting to change. Women had gone to work during the war, were cutting off their long Victorian hair and freeing themselves from the constrictions associated with women in the Victorian era. Also, the main female characters we see in these two Fitzgerald stories are often from the South of America and their characteristics are different to women in the North at that time. ...read more.

Conclusion

The change of roles for women helped create the era called the Jazz Age and F.Scott Fitzgerald and his wife helped promote this through their lifestyle and their writing. Thomas Hardy had a big impact on English Society and his stories helped create a picture of the Victorian era and its attitudes. Women had no big impact in society as they played a minor role and therefore do not feature prominently in his stories. For example, the main character in Tony Kyte, the Arch Deceiver is Tony Kyte and in The History of the Hardcomes, the two main characters are James and Steve Hardcome. However, they had a major role to play at home rather than in business. They had a big influence on their family life since they were at home quite a lot whereas their husbands were working to provide for the family. There are many ways of explaining the differences between the roles of the female characters in the two sets of stories. Apart from the historical period, the writer's background and views are also important. Fitzgerald is in the middle of an age where parties are common and a new generation of women are coming through. The icon for these women is his wife and therefore he has a very good insight into these women. Whereas Hardy lived in a male dominated society and therefore does not concentrate on the behaviour of the women but concentrates on the behaviour of the men. ...read more.

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