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

Thomas Hardy writes about the divisions between the upper and lower classes within three of his stories: 'Absentmindedness in a Parish Choir'; 'The Withered Arm'; and 'The Son's Veto'

Extracts from this document...


Class divisions are significant with the historical content of Thomas Hardy's stories. Discus how he explores the effects of these divisions in three stories. Thomas Hardy writes about the divisions between the upper and lower classes within three of his stories: 'Absentmindedness in a Parish Choir'; 'The Withered Arm'; and 'The Son's Veto'. The upper class were wealthy having a good lifestyle, well educated and very concerned with behaving appropriately; the lower class were poor and spent the little money they had on necessities, uneducated and they provided labour for the upper class and other wealthy land owners. He explores different ideas that differentiate between the classes. These ideas include thoughts of superstitions and sacrificing ones job or well being to uphold moral behaviour. Thomas Hardy's stories were a reflection of any rural community or suburb of a town or city and its people that lived there. English society's lives were dictated by the rules and moral standards that the people lived by. How you behaved was important to everybody in the 1800's no matter what class they were in. There were strict unwritten rules of how to behave and people would be disapproved of if they broke these conventions. One of these laws was not have a relationship of love out of your class. In 'The Withered Arm' we are told of a relationship - that resulted in a child - between Rhoda Brooks and Farmer Lodge. After the son was born the people in the village knew of this affair. ...read more.


A lower class response to this outrage was: "The boy Levi was so frightened that he bolted down the gallery stairs and out homeward like lightening" A similar response to this was the upper class (a member of the clergy was seen as being in a class between the upper and lower classes) response was: "The pa'son's hair stood on end when he heard the evil tune raging through the church, and thinking the choir had gone crazy." The congregation were offended by the tune as they believed that God would be wrathful because of the blasphemous tune as everyone found religion very important and didn't want to go to hell because of God being angered by the tune. Within the three stories Thomas Hardy shows how the upper classes are judgemental and hold prejudice against the lower class. One reason why the upper classes were like this was because they were irritated by the lower classes lack of education and lazy and occasional blasphemous language that they spoke. In 'The Son's Veto', Randolph, Mr Twycott and Sophy's son, is irritated by Sophy's lack of grammatical understanding and use of incorrect words when speaking. "He have been so comfortable these last few hours that I am sure he cannot have missed us" she replied. "Has, dear mother - not have!" Randolph knows that Sophy was only married into the upper class so this angers him, as he wants to become an upper class gentleman. He notices Sophy's imperfections of her speech and feels that this is disgraceful behaviour for an upper class lady and that he will be showed up by her in public. ...read more.


"She had brought him no child which rendered it likely that he would be the last of the family who had occupied that valley for some two hundred. He thought of Rhoda Brook and her son; and feared it might be a judgement from heaven upon him." He believed that not being able to have a son with Gertrude was a form of punishment because of having a son with Rhoda and not being a part of its life. When exploring the differences between the classes Thomas Hardy tend to show as a whole that no matter what class you were in you had your standereds to live to and if you broke the social rules you had to live with the cost that it had made. He also makes a point in show that both classes had an equal amount of troubles and hardship within their lives Thomas Hardy writes about the upper and lower classes not sticking to the social conventions, in these three stories, as being very pessimistic and that if you were to break these rules it was on your back to live with the consequences. Although it is know that Thomas Hardy himself crossed the divide between classes with his education and dreams to become a writer. He did this most successfully but even still he portrays crossing between the classes as very wrong and not a wise life change. Also with in his stories he shows the upper class as being very selfish and self-centred showing them as a whole of being very intolerable people. It is clear that he is contradicting what he has done. 5 1 Pennie Malone. 12th February 2005. Thomas Hardy Essay ...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. An Essay on the withered arm by Thomas Hardy.

    She becomes desperate for a cure and tries all sorts of remedies. This makes us feel sympathetic towards her. As a last resort she visits Tremble and tries to take advantage of his 'white magic', this leads to fatal results and her superstition, combined with desperation, must be held accountable for this.

  2. The Son's Veto: Thomas Hardy - The mother in this story sacrifices everything for ...

    The second quotation particularly shows how Sophy has broken free from her loneliness and now has a happy and bright life with Sam Despite the happy times they share and the happiness the reader would feel for her it is counter attacked by Randolph who destroys it.

  1. Rhoda Brook's diary - 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy

    he thought that I might have fallen off my bed or something of that nature so I let him believe it. Nevertheless I am scared out of my wits. What if she was really there? Did she know she was there? Questions wouldn't banish from my tired and confused mind.

  2. In this assignment we will be comparing the leading female characters in Thomas Hardy's ...

    We can see this difference in speech by looking at the dairyman in chapter one of 'The Withered Arm' and Gertrude. When Gertrude first meets Rhoda she tells her of the mark upon her arm. In this portion of dialogue, there is no indication of a local word, abbreviation or anything else of the sort.

  1. Show how Hardy responds to the death of his wife, the thoughts and feelings ...

    In addition, this line shows that, although a lot has happened to him, the things and landscape around him are still the same as they used to be; huge and gaping but still beautiful. Hardy asks himself with a sense of wistfulness if 'she and I [Hardy]' could not go

  2. Prose Study " The Withered Arm And Other Wessex Tales" By Thomas Hardy

    "The Withered Arm" has two main female characters; Gertrude Lodge and Rhoda Brook who each share a very different relationship with the other main character Farmer Lodge. On the other hand "The Son's Veto" has four main characters, Sam, Vicar Twycott his wife Sophy and their son Randolph.

  1. 'Compare the way that Thomas hardy writes about the effects of marriage on his ...

    After Twycott's death Sophy had nothing no control over anything that belonged to her husband. "She was left with no control over anything that had been her husbands beyond her modest personal income." Sophy only had what she could earn.

  2. This essay is aimed at discussing the differences between two short stories, called 'The ...

    She found out Rhoda Brook had cursed her and allowed their relationship to deteriorate. It eventually turned out that her only chance of healing came from Rhoda Brook's son. It is clear that at first it is the woman outside of the relationship, which changed the situation and forced their way into the relationship.

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