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

    " ...And if she seems like a woman who has ever worked for a living, or one that has been always well off, and has never done any-thing, and shows marks of the lady on her, as I expect she do."

  2. Explain about the role of women in Victorian society.

    This implies that even though he may not be the most handsome guy but women still liked him. I think the reason for this is because it was vitally important for women in those days to get married as we see in the story of Half Brothers when Helen saw

  1. English GCSE Coursework - Pre1914 Poetry

    This quote means the ground is dry, and the nature is dry and cold which is pathetic fallacy were the nature echoes the mood. Hardy is feeling sad in nearly all the poems he has written after Emma's death. A quote to show this from 'Neutral Tones' is 'They had fallen from an ash, and were gray'.

  2. Pre-1914 Prose Coursework

    Seeing Sam again has a great effect on Sophy. She no longer feels neglected and lonely; she feels she has purpose in life. At first, when she only just starts seeing him again, she expresses the wish that she would see him more often: "Her sorrow was that she could

  1. Examine several pre 1914 short stories and comment upon how the authors deal with ...

    This shows that Milly is capable of trusting him again and make sure that he would not repeat his mistake again. When Hannah and Unity ask for a ride home with him, he seemed to have no objection to it, even though he is engaged to Milly.

  2. Pre 1914 prose: Nineteenth Century Short Stories.

    This is shown by the fact he allows the marriage to take place, but he views it "as it were a galley, in which he, the fastidious urban, was chained to work for the rest of his life". This shows his almost misery at the outcome, but also that he

  1. Examine again the collection of pre 1914 short stories you have read - Compare ...

    Charles Dickens handles the theme of men and women's relationships differently compared to other writers of the period because he handles it in a comical way and has a woman as the stronger character, this is so surprising because no one had ever done this before and the man was always seen to be stronger than the woman.

  2. Short stories - In Which way are women presented in a variety of pre ...

    The author then goes on describing the words which were used in the letters sent everyday between the lovers. "Impassioned and interminable" This again shows the love and how strong their relationship is. After Randall falls ill the author describes how he writes the letters.

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