• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Pre-1914 Prose Coursework

Extracts from this document...


Emma Partington Pre-1914 Prose Coursework "How does Hardy explore the tensions of family life and love in his short stories?" The tensions between family life and love are present in a number of Thomas Hardy's short stories. Many of these are tragedies occur due to a fatal flaw in the protagonist who fights the conflict of responsibility and desire. The protagonist in 'An Imaginative Woman' is named Ella Marchmill. She is a middle-aged woman with children and a 'lymphatic' husband. The first impression we receive of Ella is that she is of a dreamy nature: "Mrs Marchmill started out of the reverie into which the book had thrown her" As the plot unfolds, we gather that Ella Marchmill is not only 'dreamy' but lives in two worlds, one inside her head and another, outside in reality. Ella is described as 'sanguine' and 'nervous'; we go on to discover that this description fits Ella perfectly. For example, when she discovers that the man whose room she has taken over for the summer is a poet, she franticly worries whether she has done the right thing: "...And it is his room we have taken, and him we have turned out of home?" Mrs Marchmill, although married is not very involved with her family. She seems more attracted to her fantasy world, rather than family life, her relationship with her husband is described as 'conformable'. ...read more.


The first image this narrator creates is one that the reader feels sorry for because of the disability described. Therefore Hardy is automatically taking control of our feelings when Randolph, Sophy's son, enters the story. We take her side and pity her when he corrects her speech, seeing that although she wants to be a 'lady' and live up to her son and late husband, she cannot and will consequently always be of lower social status: "When he had somewhat recovered from his paroxysm, he hastily went to his own room and fastened the door" The word 'paroxysm' establishes Randolph's education and class. Sophy feels alienated from her son: "No I am not a lady, I never shall be. But he's a gentleman, and that - makes it - oh so difficult for me!" This significant declaration gives the reader an insight into how Sophy feels about her son. She says her son is of a different intellectual level and a different social status. The exclamation mark at the end emphasizes Sophy's distress at the social differences between herself and her son. By law Sophy Twycott is a lady, but in her heart and to others around her it is clear that she behaves much more like the people she grew up with. After Mr Twycott's death, Sophy begins to think about her old friend Sam, a gardener f low social status who has once proposed: "She had often wondered if life in a cottage with him would ...read more.


The two protagonists in this story are Joshua and Cornelius, they, like Randolph, yearn for a higher social class-this is their fatal flaw. Joshua and Cornelius want to get rid of their father because they feel he will ruin their dream of a higher social status which will soon be gained through the marriage of their sister to a wealthy man, Squire Fellmer. The two brother watch their father drown, giving no help and giving no attempt to save him. The tragedy in this story occurs when the boys regret their actions and their sister does not marry Fellmer. Like in so many of Hardy's stories, desire for a higher social class results in a tragic conclusion. Although a few of Hardy's stories have similar endings they are written in very different styles. In 'An Imaginative Woman' the ending is very sudden and unexpected of the character involved. However in 'The Son's Veto' the story's conclusion is drawn out and slow. It is subtle but conveys a powerful message as well as imagery. In 'A Tragedy of two Ambitions' he ending is not at all sudden and differs in style to the other two endings. In both 'An Imaginative Woman' and 'The Son's Veto', there is a female protagonist and she dies before the tragedy occurs. In all three stories, one parent was a liability and all stories featured social class and family dilemmas. Through his short stories, is Hardy criticising ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Thomas Hardy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Thomas Hardy essays

  1. Presentation of Marriage in"Tony Kytes the Arch-Deceiver" and "The Half Brothers".

    The Half Brothers will take more of the downside to what a marriage can be like, whereas as Tony Kytes looked at the nice parts and being spoilt for choice on whom he should marry. Although we are given a lot of significant information about Helen, she does not appear in the whole story because she dies very early on.

  2. Show how Hardy responds to the death of his wife, the thoughts and feelings ...

    He continues the point by saying what it led to is 'something life cannot be balked of', so love is an inevitable part of life. He tells us that it cannot be stopped until something happens so that 'hope is dead, and feeling fled'.

  1. I am going to compare the portrayal of two mothers. One, Widow Saverini, whom ...

    She starts to regain her confidence after they meet again. One night Sam takes her for a drive and it seems she feels there is still a reason to live. Sam proposes to Sophy but her new found confidence starts to evaporate again, as she believes that her son, Randolph, will not approve of this.

  2. The Son's Veto Thomas Hardy

    Both the stories are about sacrifice, dilemmas from which the need for a sacrifice arises and the characters having to chose what meant most to them in life. Sacrifice is generally defined as 'giving up something valuable to you'. Today we see sacrifice as mainly the giving up as material

  1. A Trampwomans tragedy.

    Hardy may feel these are not relevant towards the angle that he wants to exploit. About the death and how its effects change him and his ways and only him and his ways. A few of my impressions are quite deep and hopefully perceptive possibly a little radical as well.

  2. How and why does Hardy present Sophy and Sam as victims of circumstances in ...

    Sophy, who is the middle-aged woman, makes a mistake in her speech and her son realises this and alters disrespectfully. From here it is seen that Sophy has a lack of verbal communication. She is uneducated due to poverty in the working class society.

  1. English GCSE Coursework - Pre1914 Poetry

    The mood of this poem changes as it goes on. In the first verse of the poem, it is a happy mood, but gradually the mood changes in verse 2 and in verse 3, the mood is oriented on the death of Emma and less on natural setting.

  2. Thomas Hardys' prose.

    The whole story is about how, one day in his life, after doing his chores and jobs for his father, Tony is returning home, and meets a few women whom he earlier fantasized, before he got engaged to Milly. This openly shows us that he is still not contented, with

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work