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'Thomas Hardy's stories are a dramatic mixture of the romantic, the sinister and the unsettling'.

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Introduction

'Thomas Hardy's stories are a dramatic mixture of the romantic, the sinister and the unsettling' The reader must agree with the title stating that Hardy's stories are a mixture of romance, the sinister and the unsettling. His stories blend love and the sinister greatly and also include unsettling parts to the stories. They are blended well and work together in an excellent way in which the stories become very interesting and easy to follow. Although he has written stories with a lighter touch in which there is either no sinister or has very little. An example of this is the story 'Old Mrs Chundle'. Even though it includes a death it is written in a very subtle and humorous way. Most of Hardy's stories, that I have studied, are all similar. 'The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion' and 'Barbara of the House of Grebe' are very similarly written and almost have the same plot to the story. In both of these stories there is a love triangle in which the woman is a higher class to the man that she is running off with. 'The Withered Arm' can almost be categorised with these but an elopement does not occur. There are three people involved in a love situation but one woman gets abandoned and the man marries someone else. 'The Withered Arm' and 'Barbara of the House of Grebe' both are very sinister and macabre in many ways which can also be quite unsettling. ...read more.

Middle

Later in the story Rhoda spying on Gertrude and Trendle comes as a surprise to the readers because it seems as though Rhoda has a guilty feeling. The corpse and when Gertrude shows Rhoda her arm are related as they both are unsettling but also are parts of the body, which does not leave a good feeling in the minds of the readers. Romance is limited in this story as it is not concentrated around a love or marriage. The only romance is that Gertrude becomes the young wife of Rhoda's former lover. The language that Hardy uses is a slow, creepy and eerie making the reader slow down as it is hard to follow and makes the reader stop to think about what is going to happens next but also making the reader want to read on. 'The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion' is very similar to 'The Withered Arm'. At almost the beginning of the story the reader finds out that the handsome hussar is not happy like the others. " Phyllis was much surprised to see a fine, tall soldier in such a mood as this." This strikes the reader as odd because one as handsome as this hussar ought to be happy. This short sharp sentence helps the reader understand the point of view of Hardy. The next disturbing thing the reader notices when the hussar goes to meet Phyllis in her ordinary meeting place and she is not there. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also follows a main character, which is a male unlike most of his other tales. The reader can relax more and they face a more ordinary subject matter painting, chatter and food. This story has two characters, which have no relations or complications. It is also more humorous and has a shorter time span and lighter character description. Although including a death, there are almost no romance dramatic or unsettling parts. It has similarities of different class, lies and deception. It is also set in Dorset and character is shown through conversation. ' Old Mrs Chundle' is very similar to one of Hardy's very short stories 'Absent - Mindedness in a Parish Choir' which is also very slow and subtle although having a little more unsettling parts when they accidentally play an evil tune. The evidence above points to the fact that Hardy's stories are clearly a dramatic mixture of the unsettling and romance. Clearly emphasising the areas with most relevance and reviewing the subject I still have to agree with the title and stick to my opening judgement. Although showing some arguments against the title the overall sense one would get after reading this essay would see that it is clearly true. Reflection: I have enjoyed the study of Hardy tales as they have enlightened me to a new source of reading although a bad start in class. I thought at the start that it would be really boring but now know not judge a book by its cover. My enjoyment of reading Hardy stories helped me write this essay and made it a more bearable task. Bilal Yasin 10 Elgar Mr Hubbard English ...read more.

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