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"The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy and"The Seduction" by Eileen McAuley - Compare.

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Introduction

Wide Reading Assignment "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy and "The Seduction" by Eileen McAuley The two texts that I am going to be comparing are The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy written in the nineteenth century and The Seduction by Eileen McAuley written in the 1980's. The areas that I will attempt to focus on are the differences in structure, author, setting, language and the similarities in the theme and language. These two texts will be very good to compare as despite there being a gap of over a hundred years they are both the same topic but set in different cultures and of course time. I feel that the most interesting point is that the author of The Withered Arm was a gentleman who also especially for the time it was set in had a very sympathetic view towards women. Summaries Before I start comparing the two texts I shall give a brief summary of the texts. "The Withered arm" is a short story based on the three main characters Farmer Lodge, Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge. We are initially introduced to Farmer Lodge, Rhoda Brook and their son. Farmer lodge owned the eighty-cow dairy and Rhoda was one of his milkmaids. The two of them had a son which farmer Lodge chose to disown and keep him secret form the town due to the fact that Rhoda was in a lower social class than he was. A few years on Mr Lodge returns with a young attractive, upper class woman called Gertrude. ...read more.

Middle

Poems Rhyme and Rhythm usually define poems. In the poem 'The Seduction' it has a rhyme scheme of A, B, C, B through out this poem it can clearly be seen and heard. The following verse shows the rhyming scheme: "As he brought her more drinks, so she fell in love, With his eyes as blue as iodine, With the fingers that stroke her neck and thighs And the kisses that tasted of nicotine." This helps the poem flow naturally and allows the words to roll off the reader's tongue it also enhances the poem and gives it more rhythm. Not all poems contain rhythm because the rhyme gives it all it needs. In poems the meaning is conveyed in a short amount of words and the words have more power and effectiveness than the ordinary from of the written or spoken language this is because poems are shorter than prose. A very good example of this is within the line "Far from the blind windows of the tower blocks". By using this personification Eileen McAuley is telling the reader that the city is dark, that the couple are alone and that it is quite safe for him to seduce her without anyone seeing them. In a poem the author has to use powerful words to express the meaning of the sentence where as in a story a whole paragraph can be used. This can be seen in the line "So she followed him there all high white shoes". ...read more.

Conclusion

Images are made for you very well in both texts and again I shall use an example from the poem by Eileen McAuley. The young girl had an image of meeting a boy, falling in love and marrying him. The girl believes all the stories she reads in the magazines and thinks that she has found all of these in the boy from the party. When the reality of the situation hit her unfortunately after it was too late; "And she ripped up all her My Guy and Jackie photo-comics Until they were just bright paper, like confetti strewn on the carpet" This symbolises her shattered dreams and ironically she uses the word confetti as the girl thought she was going to marry the boy and of course does not so the use of this word is very clever. Conclusion I liked both of these texts but preferred the poem by Eileen McAuley as I felt it was much more effective with a good use of very powerful language. The poem focuses on a teenage girl who with her naivety, innocence and dreams became pregnant and this effects many young girls today. The short story focuses on a grown woman being a single parent in a different era. I found it much harder to read and understand than the poem. This was a difficult assignment to do, as both texts have some similarities but are both very different. What interested me about the short story is that Thomas Hardy had such a sympathetic view towards women and the situation, which as I said earlier was so unusual for his time. ...read more.

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