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Pre 1914 prose: Nineteenth Century Short Stories.

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Introduction

GCSE English and English literature Coursework Pre 1914 prose: Nineteenth Century Short Stories (Major Author - Hardy) Read a selection of short stories by Thomas Hardy. By a careful comparative analysis of the ways in which women are presented in three of his stories, examine their roles in the societies in which they exist. In doing so, analyse the ways in which the attitudes and values inherent in the societies depicted in the stories contribute to their situation. The selection of prose that I have read, written by Hardy, shows several values and concepts that are expressed concerning social class and the position of the genders in society. The nature of these values and the way in which they are expressed shall be explored. One key way in which the position of women is expressed is through the nature of marriage. The three stories, 'On the western circuit', 'Tony Kytes the arch-deceiver' and 'The son's veto' all revolve around this concept. In 'the son's veto', the main character Sophy becomes involved in a relationship with Mr Twcott soon after the beginning of the story. Prior to this, however, she is asked to marry by Sam. Her response initially is one of shock and she says, "Why Sam, how can you be so fast?" This shows that although she does not intend to marry Sam, it is not because she does not simply like him. ...read more.

Middle

In 'Tony Kytes the arch-deceiver', the style is a farcical comedy. In this way, Hardy still expresses important views, but through the use of humour and exaggeration. Once again the final marriage is not necessarily a happy one. This is because he only receives a positive reply from the final person he asks. However, unlike in 'the son's veto', this shows signs of a positive outcome, or at least not as anguishing as in 'the son's veto', because there is less of a loss of potential fulfilment. This is shown by the final line which says, "it was a rare party by all accounts", which shows that their wedding was an enjoyable one. Tony appears to the reader as indiscriminate between the girls. This is shown by his willingness to marry all of them and his lack of despair at either refusal. This contrasts to 'the son's veto' because the only partner Sophy truly wants is Sam. Furthermore, she is unable to achieve this, whereas Tony does marry one of his potential wives. In 'on the western circuit', the ending is similar to 'Tony Kytes the arch-deceiver', because he resolves to marry the women who he originally proposed to. However, there is more resent in him doing so. In 'Tony Kytes the arch-deceiver', he is happy with the final result, whereas in 'ion the western circuit', Raye marries out of nobility rather than desire. ...read more.

Conclusion

This issue is similar to that expressed in 'on the western circuit' because the attraction between Anna and Raye is based on physical appearance. In 'on the western circuit' the lack of truth is presented as understandable, but not creditable. This is shown by the fact she "began doing it in kindness to her", which suggests generosity. This idea is also shown in 'an imaginative women' because of the failure of Ella to tell her husband of her idolism for the poet. This results in a total misconception based on jealousy and a lack of knowledge of the truth, which provides a tragic climax at the end. Because of the initial love in their marriage she becomes dissatisfied and this fuels her desire towards Trewe. The significance of this is that Hardy is again expressing the view that marriage without passion id pointless and doomed to fail. In conclusion, Hardy investigates the nature of the role of females in a way so as to contracts with the traditions of society. The female character is often portrayed as decisive and independent, and often morally secure. This is shown through the concept of marriage as unlikely to succeed without passion based on the values and depths of a person. Hardy does not make moral distinctions between the classes in this selection of stories, but instead he explores the issue of their pointlessness, but the fact that they do exist and affect decisions. In this way it is portrayed that success is only likely to occur within one class. Nick Wall 1 1 ...read more.

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