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

These stories were all written pre-1914, show how the authors have exploited the position of women during that period and explore the social causes of women and their attitudes towards marriage.

Extracts from this document...


These stories were all written pre-1914, show how the authors have exploited the position of women during that period and explore the social causes of women and their attitudes towards marriage (change title). Women were described, under the law as "legally incompetent and irresponsible." A married woman was entitled to no legal security in any matter, unless it was sponsored and approved by her husband. This meant that Victorian brides were stripped of all their property and personal wealth. All this wealth was then made possession of their husbands. The Victorian woman was her husband's slave. She was completely dependent upon him and subject to him. She had no right to sue for divorce or to have custody of her children, if the couple should separate. She could not make a will or keep her earnings. Her area of expertise was in the home as mother, homemaker and a devoted domestic. No greater shame took place in the Victorian woman's life than in the bedroom. The Victorian woman had no right to her own body, as she was not allowed to refuse conjugal duties. In Victorian marriage the husband was the family protector and representative. However, he who was expected to protect, often became the abuser in the bedroom. Elizabeth Gaskell is a very descriptive writer and very personal in her stories. In her story "Half Brothers", there was a lot of personal influence. ...read more.


Similarly Helen had no choice but to marry William Preston. It was crucial that Helen had financial security for herself and her son. The author has explained that her only means of survival was marriage. "With half the stock dead, or sold off one by one to pay pressing debts, and with no money to purchase more, or even to buy the provision needed for the small consumption of everyday." She married William Preston out of desperation not love. Another reason for this marriage, is that it was necessary for (Gregory) her fist child to have a father's shadow (change this). In my opinion, if Helen had not married William then society would look at her and judge her as they judged Gertrude in The Withered arm written by Thomas Hardy. Society will also look down on her as a poor lower class mother with a fatherless child. In the pre-1914 century there was not a lot of birth control for example; medical help. If there was medical help it would be too expensive and could not afford it. Many mothers would die giving birth as it was unhealthy, unsupervised and they could simply catch diseases. "At the end of it, it was that my mother took her bed before her time." Helen had died giving birth to Gregory. She had died "before her time" meaning she died at and early age. Sometimes Aunt Fanny thought that Helen did not want to live and "let herself die away". ...read more.


The author has once more shown Helen's love that she may have in this quotation. "Grave sort of kindliness, she looked up in his face and smiled almost her first smile at him, such a sweet smile!" This shows facial expression and body language towards him. Alliteration is used "sweet smile" which may well have effect on the reader by feeling that the smile was from inside of her not just a front. William blames Gregory for Helen's death. He "cherished" the feeling of alienating Gregory. "I believe my father rather cherished his feeling of alienation to my brother as a duty, than strove to repress it." The author shows William's loathe towards Gregory and decides not hold back his feelings. The author described Gregory to show the reader what his character is like. "Gregory was lumpish and loutish, awkward and ungainly, marring whatever he meddled in" This quote shows Gregory's behaviour in whatever he "meddled" in and how he was always got a "sharp scolding" from people around the farm. Now that Helen has died William needs a woman to look after two little children. Who would more preferable than Aunt Fanny? "What could he do with two little children; he needed a woman to take care of him." This for a second time portrays society at the time, and how they would expect a woman to care of children and the man. But society now has the education for a single parent male to look after himself and his child(ren). ...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. Pre-1914 Prose Coursework

    his mother's choice in husband: "The youth's face remained fixed for a moment; then he flushed, leant on the table, and burst into passionate tears" He is vexed of the effect the marriage would have on his own life, and not how it could improve his mother's; thus proving he is selfish and self-righteous.

  2. Discuss the way in which the authors present women in the four short stories.

    the 19th Century also by making John dominant out of the two, she makes the female look like a victim, this shows her sympathy towards women. In Hardy's short story the women are once again being controlled in the sense that they are told what to do.

  1. English GCSE Coursework - Pre1914 Poetry

    The title suggests neither one thing nor the other and also reminds you of paleness and blending in with everything. The overall tone of the poem is sad and depressed. This is shown in a quote from the poem, 'And a few leaves lay on the starving sod'.

  2. Which of the women in the pre nineteen-hundreds short stories set for study are ...

    Infact the main job of a woman pre nineteen-hundred woman was to be married and have children. After this Dorothes is saying in her head 'never,never,never'. This is not how you would expect a woman to respond. Despite all of this Dorothea still cannot tell Randall that she doesn't love him.

  1. Compare and contrast the main female characters in 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned'. You ...

    Rhoda her arm which had some finger imprints on it, Rhoda is totally shocked and in her mind she starts to doubt herself, she begins to think that her dream has something to do with it. Time passes and the Gertrude's arm deteriorates steadily.

  2. Write about Thomas Hardy's treatment of women in his short stories. How far do ...

    Thomas Hardy portrays Farmer Lodge as a man who is keen to be thought of as a high society figure and so chooses a wife due to her beauty and he proudly parades his newly wedded beauty in public places such as the local church.

  1. 'How did authors show that women were treated differently in the Nineteenth Century?'

    don't mind to oblige you Tony"- because as far as they were concerned, they should please their man to any extent. This story makes the reader believe that women in those times were expected to be passive, submissive and dependent on men.

  2. In this essay, we will try to depict the position of women in the ...

    One Saturday, when he was driving home, he sees Unity Sallet, another handsome girl, one of the women he had been seeing before Milly. She asks him to take her home and soon Tony is asking himself what had he ever seen in Milly.

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