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What do Thomas Hardy's short stories reveal about his society?

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Introduction

What do Thomas Hardy's short stories reveal about his society? Thomas Hardy was born 1840 and died 1924. He composed most of his writings between 1871 and 1912. From 1912 till death he wrote poetry. Hardy enjoyed writing short stories because he had realised that with the pressures and busy lifestyles of modern day life there was little time to sit down and read a novel. One difficulty of a short story is that it can't give in depth character analyses but they can gradually allow someone to make their own analyses judging by Hardy's content in his stories. They are succinct which made them successful. What is a short story? For Hardy a short story wasn't a tale that explained the details in two sentences and left the reader blank looking for clues as to where the story was going, the background of the story and who everyone was. Hardy's short stories gave as much detail as possible and if something was missing, it appeared later on, he consistently made sure the reader would keep up with the story and never rushed his stories, making sure the reader got the full jist of the story. A very simple example of this is in "The Superstitious Mans Story" where during the story Hardy includes a short paragraph which is told by the narrator of the story, it provides both the listener in and out of the story with a piece of missing ...read more.

Middle

"What's the meaning of them words chalked on the door?" And, "A rather melancholy story" The women of this community play an import role in their society. They basically run the community. "There sat Andrew, who had been let in at the backdoor by the orders of the squires wife, after being turned out at the front by orders of the squire" Mrs. Hardcome overrides her husbands decision and let old Andrew back in. She has great power over her husband. More than his mother over him. This is due to the sexual relationship between Mrs. Hardcome and Mr. Hardcome that allows her more power than that of his mother. In Hardy's short stories we see the strengths of women in this society and how jobs differ because of gender. In this community the women are proud women. "Nancy, you needn't mind letting it out. Though 'tis kept back in kindness. And he didn't come out of church again: I know it as well as you do." Betty Privett accepts her fate. Mrs. Privett knows her husband will die, though because she is an upstanding woman she does not show worry or sorrow over this. She shows a stoic acceptance of fate. Hardy's short stories present a lot of ownership; the men are seen to have ownership of their wives. "Asked William's wife" she is referred to as "Williams wife" and not referred to by her real name. ...read more.

Conclusion

"William was in very good health to all appearance, the bell that was ringing for church went very heavy all of a sudden; the sexton, who told me o't, said he'd not known the bell to go so heavy in his hand for years - and he feared it meant a death in the parish." This shows the presence of an omen, that someone will die, and the other clue is the introduction of William privet "in good health to all appearances" showing that truly appearances are deceiving as William dies not long after this omen appears. In Hardy's short stories we see the rural life of a community dying and the new industrialised community beginning. His short stories are metaphors for the changes happening to his community whilst he is gone and on his return, he does not want this change to happen, because he and his community are happy as they are. Unfortunately change is inevitable no matter how hard we try to avoid or control it. Hardy Is writing about change, they were written at and around the time of the great industrial revolution. They are and were written for the people of the lower class and are and were written about the people of the lower class. Hardy wrote these short stories to attempt to protect his community; His way of life. Though he cannot prevent change, he can at least immortalise the memory of his community in paper. Inevitable change will occur but Thomas Hardy's Idyll will live on in his stories. ...read more.

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