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We have been comparing 'Lamb to the slaughter' author Roald Dahl, and 'The Withered Arm' author Thomas Hardy. In this essay I will be talking about and comparing roles of women, power and control in the two stories.

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Introduction

Rajeet Bhumber English GCSE coursework Wider reading In class I have been studying wider reading. I have read and studied two short stories. These were 'Lamb to the slaughter' author Roald Dahl, and 'The Withered Arm' author Thomas Hardy. In this essay I will be talking about and comparing roles of women, power and control in the two stories, and to a lesser extent the relationships these women have. The two stories are different from each other, but similar in some ways. They both show women as having the role of a traditional housewife. Cooking, cleaning, and tending to their husbands whenever they can. They both show women in the home, and to a certain extent, they show the control and power a husband has, and just generally, that men have. Both these stories show the way that society has dictated the roles of men and women within a relationship. The women is almost always seen as the inferior partner, who has less worth than her husband. This is shown in both stories, but in very different ways. This attitude has changed now in our modern world. Now women want to be free-spirited, independent, and not tend to their husbands every beck and call. ...read more.

Middle

Even breaking the normal weekly routine. Her husband Patrick was the far superior partner in the relationship without really meaning to be. Mary's character seemed incapable of being independent without her husband in the early stages of the story. The impression was given that she only lived for her husband. But toward the end of the story she had become almost completely independent on her own, concerned about her own welfare and also the welfare of her unborn child. She actually never needed her husband. She managed to come up with a very clever, almost perfect plan to disguise the killing of her husband and a way of disposing of the murder weapon. New attributes as a result of killing her husband. Mary was no longer the clich� housewife of the 1950's, but an independent woman in complete control of the situation she was in and her life. It seems the power and control within the relationship has shifted extremely. The Withered Arm is set in a 19th century countryside, uneducated community. The people in this community are somewhat narrow minded, and love to gossip. There are two main female characters in this story. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mary and Rhoda are similar. They both are independent, can fend for themselves and there children, even though this is not of their own choice. Power and control in the two stories shifts. In Lamb to the Slaughter Patrick has all the control in the beginning, but Mary has all the power and control toward the end. Rhoda had control over her life when she was no longer with Lodge. With Gertrude, farmer Lodge always had control within the relationship. She would always have to please him. The roles of women change in the two stories. Mary and Rhoda break out of the unequal role they play with their partners, but Gertrude does not get anywhere. These roles may have changed for the better. Society has evolved from these times. Women are now treated more equally within a marriage, and have more power and control than they used to, but the role of a housewife depending on her husband is still there. The reltionships in these stories could have worked in the times we live in now. Mary would have had a career as opposed to loving her husband dearly and waiting for him to come home, and Gertrude would have never married Lodge in the first place. The roles of women have changed very much over the years. There are now more equal roles within relationships. ...read more.

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