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Show how the cultural and historical background affects the lives of the women in the stories you have read. What is your reaction to their experiences?

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Introduction

NEAB GCSE WIDE READING ASSIGNMENT Show how the cultural and historical background affects the lives of the women in the stories you have read. What is your reaction to their experiences? I have chosen to write about 'The Withered Arm', written by Thomas Hardy, and 'Stench of Kerosene', written by Amrita Pritam. Thomas Hardy, born in 1840 in Higher Bockhampton, (a village near Dorchester) had written a series of text. At first, he has started with writing full-length novels between 1871 and 1896. Later, his poems, a collection of 'Wessex Poems' had appeared in 1898, after having written them throughout his life. Then Thomas Hardy had progressed to 'Wessex Tales'; a collection of short stories, including 'The Withered Arm'. The Withered Arm was set in 1812, but written in 1888. The story was set in the rural area of England, in Wessex. The story is about 3 main characters, which include Rhoda Brooks, Farmer Lodge and Gertrude Lodge. Other characters of importance are also used through the story. Rhoda Brooks is a milkmaid on Farmer Lodge's farm. Together, they had previously had an affair in earlier years, which had resulted in them having a son. However, the two had not stayed together because of the class differentiation between them. I think that Rhoda strikes people as a very bitter woman. ...read more.

Middle

The main characters of the story were Guleri and Manak. They were both married to each other for 7 years, and lived in Lakarmandi. Guleri's parents lived in Chamba, a village not too far from theirs. Each year, there would be a festival held in Chamba, which Guleri would attend. One year, Manak insisted that Guleri did not go, but he did not tell her why. However, he did not get his way, and Guleri made her trip to Chamba. She offered for him to come on the day of the fair, the day on which they first met, 7 years ago. Manak had accompanied Guleri on half of the trip to Chamba, but then returned to his mother. When he got home, we learnt of how Guleri has never produced a child for him, which had annoyed his mother. She had made a resolution to herself that she would not let this continue for the 8th year of their marriage and had arranged for a new bride for Manak. This is why Manak had not wanted Guleri to leave, because he knew what his mother had prepared for him. The mother had paid 500 hundred rupees for this bride. One morning, Manak met his friend Bhavani and he had informed him that it was the day of the fair. ...read more.

Conclusion

If you are unable to fulfill your duties as a woman, you are outcaste from the society. I still think that a lot of men today look towards women's beauty, because without that, they cannot have a trophy figure to have by their sides. Although, it is also true that men today must also have a woman with personality too. It is quite normal for a man who is of an upper-class, would marry someone of the same class. But, today, we do not have such a major class differentiation; so therefore, partners are able to mix with each other easily. A problem that men may experience though is if the woman has a correct personality or not. In the Stench of Kerosene, Manak seemed to have been attracted to Guleri because of her beauty, style and personality. This also occurs today, because men must not be able to live their entire life with a trophy figure. They must want intellect too. However, with women becoming more independent, men may find the women a threat to themselves in the sense of intellect and work. Manak's mother seemed more interested in the traditional idea of beauty and children. I think that the times are changing, and although women still have to be beautiful, it is not always the case, because it could work in the same way as Guleri and Manak's relationship, on pure romance. ...read more.

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