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

The Withered Arm

Extracts from this document...


The Withered Arm How does...... 'The Withered Arm' is a short story about the supernatural, based in the rural landscape of eighteenth century England. Thomas Hardy, the author, creates various atmospheres and settings by using a number of very effective techniques and also, by his general use of language. Hardy focuses chiefly on imagery, in particular the use of light and dark to create an atmosphere for different settings. For example, when Roda and her son are in their cottage. Hardy uses the light from the fire to show the true beauty of Roda's face: "The radiance lit her pale cheek, and made her dark eyes, that had once been handsome, seem handsome anew" This style of using light and dark to emphasise or pick out a part of something is known as 'Chiaroscuro'. It is also a technique used in the same way in art and Hardy uses it very effectively to create various atmospheres. I think that he uses this technique because it gives a supernatural feeling to the setting. Another technique that Hardy uses to create an atmosphere is his use of colours and noises. An example of this is the way he describes Gertrude. ...read more.


Hardy also describes the gig that the farmer is on in this way too: "with a lemon-coloured body" he uses the word "lemon" instead of yellow. This is because by using lemon he adds the taste and the smell, as well as the colour, to the atmosphere. In sharp comparison to the farmer's life, his son is shown as very poor, living in poverty and having lots of problems in his life. Hardy shows this by saying: "the heavy bundle he carried" the bundle is a metaphor of all the problems and hardships in his life and Hardy creates a really depressing atmosphere around the boy. Hardy also links him to being a criminal. He describes him as: "creeping along at a snails pace, and continually looking behind him" Later in the story we discover that the boy has stolen a hare from the land. This was an offence and in Victorian times, when the story is set, this theft would get the death penalty. "the hare you wired is very tender; but mind that nobody catches you" this quote shows that the boy is a criminal, which is one of the problems that the bundle on his back symbolises. ...read more.


The Hangman's cottage in Casterbridge is another place with a supernatural atmosphere. The cottage is on top of the jail that, on its own, creates an ugly, death-like atmosphere. Hardy describes it as: "a lonely cottage by a deep slow river" the words Hardy has chosen to describe the river, deep and slow, add to the strange, creepy atmosphere. He also personifies the river that makes it sound almost as if it is following her because it's always there: "the waters of which emitted a steady roar" everything in Casterbridge seem to be slow and depressing and I think Hardy has done this intentionally because this is the place where people get hung and go to jail. The actual cottage itself is very dark too, and the only form of light the hangman has is a candle, which symbolises life and the fact that there is enough light for him. The cottage is described like a shed, with steps on the outside and no light. It all seems very lonely and eerie which is the setting that Hardy wishes to create. Overall, the surprising thing about how Hardy creates atmosphere and conveys setting, is how simply he does it. Dialect, dialogue, of particular lexis, light and dark, metaphors and a few similes create the desired effect for all of his settings. Quite an achievement. Bradley Rice The 6600.doc 27/04/07 Page 1 of 5 ...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. Rhoda Brook's diary - 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy

    But after a few days I could see she could take no more of it and was willing to try absolutely anything to get rid of the deformed look of the arm to how it was before so reluctantly agreed to going to see the conjuror, begging me to agree to take her as she did not know the way.

  2. Compare and contrast the two stories, "The Outsiders and "The Withered arm", and show ...

    she said involuntary." Gertrude follows the arrangements as she is told and as she puts her sadly withered arm against her neck of the hangman she is caught by her arm and thrown against the wall.

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

    Hardy goes on to tell us that it 'matters not much' what he and Emma talked about on that journey, and he also states it doesn't matter 'to what it led'. This is strange as it surely led to Hardy and Emma falling in love and getting married and he is now saying that this didn't matter.

  2. Thomas Hardy

    This is where the carpenter has made a present for his wife and she is very happy. Then all goes wrong and the mood changes. "Tis a scantling that I got Off poor John Wayward's coffin". At this point the carpenter has told his wife that the box he made her, was made with the leftover wood for a coffin.

  1. Prose Study " The Withered Arm And Other Wessex Tales" By Thomas Hardy

    As time past Lodge played a spectator watching Rhoda become embittered being a poverty-stricken single mum. Lodge once felt so guilty about abandoning his son that he once thought about adoption. " I once thought of adopting a boy but he is too old now" Danielle Lant Lodge handled the

  2. "The signal man" and "The withered arm" both create mystery, intrigue and suspense effectively. ...

    The way that the story is limited to only one place helps us to focus on the place and allows more detail of the setting and makes it easier to follow. Dickens goes into a lot of detail as far as setting is concerned this creates a cinematic picture for

  1. Hardy describes Wessex as "real" but also as "half dream". Explain the importance of ...

    'They sat down to a bit o' munch under a tree.' This is a sweet and comforting death. The superstition of Nancy was not taken too seriously yet was taken into account unlike in the Withered Arm, where Gertrude goes overboard with superstition.

  2. Extended commentary of 'During Wind and Rain' by Thomas Hardy

    Side point ? no way to substantiate claim. Of course, now Hardy differentiates between them using sex ? all the more differences which Death can overcome. * Allusions to an Arcadian ideal ? a perfect landscape, full of happiness ? are impossible to avoid. ?Under the summer tree / With a glimpse of the bay?; it sounds more like Tuscany than Britain!

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