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Thomas Hardy's short story, 'the withered arm'.

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Sam Parish 10f1 The withered arm and dear nobody Thomas Hardy's short story, 'the withered arm', written in the late nineteenth century is ver different from Dear Nobody in that it talks about the same issues, but how these issues are dealt with - and what problems arise from them, differently. The Withered arm is about a lady called Rhoda Brook, who is considered to be a witch because she had a child out of wedlock. -And there was a certain stigma attached to that during that time period. Dear Nobody (which was written in the late twentieth century) is about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant and has to make an important decision as to whether to keep her unborn child or not. The withered arm portrays the typical rural life living on or nearby a farm, working hard to earn a living, and been generally very close with your family, whereas Dear Nobody is set in the urban town of Sheffield. The stories also bare some similarities, For e.g., they both arouse controversy with the pregnancy out of wedlock/teenage pregnancy situations, one, totally unaccepted during its time period, and the other, still not approved of. ...read more.


Everyone disapproved, as this just wasn't heard of during the time period. In comparison, Dear nobody is written in the late twentieth century - almost a hundred years later, people became less religious, therefore, opinions changed. Helen becomes pregnant at the age of 18. The close family around her has different opinions on the matter. Helen's mother was herself, born out of wedlock (a bastard). She knows how it feels to be taunted and teased at school, and that being the main reason she doesn't want Helen to have the baby. Helen's Grandma doesn't want her Grandchild to go through what she went through. The majority of people in the nineties, approve of children been born out of wedlock. Helen's Grandma understands what Helen has been through, having done it herself therefore cannot really disapprove of Helen or disown her. Teenage Pregnancy is very common nowadays - hence it not been really frowned upon in the story. Another theme dealt with in both stories is rejection. In Dear nobody, their mother has rejected both Chris and Guy. Chris' dad had to be a mother figure as well as a father figure - which formed strong bonds between them. ...read more.


As I am a great believer in the supernatural, I found 'The Withered Arm' quite interesting. I thought that the length of the story was perfect. Not too long that boredom set in - but long enough for you to grasp the story. I thought the story line was interesting aswell, including aspects of life, (mostly problems) that don't usually occur all at once. I think it was interesting to see how the story would progress and how the characters would deal with there problems. In contrast I found 'Dear Nobody' very interesting. I found the story line did not appeal to me and didn't want to read the rest of the story after the first three chapters. The writer failed to keep my interest. I found that the story was quite repetitive and a lot of the same things were re-occurring. I got quite sick of the 'Dear Nobody' letters. The book is quite long and I think there should have been more interesting events to keep the readers interest engaged. I think that 'Dear Nobody' may appeal to someone who had been in a situation like the main character, or know someone who has. Otherwise, I would not recommend it. I would recommend 'The Withered Arm' to anyone who enjoys anything supernatural or witchcraft. ...read more.

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