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What effect do you think the endings of the stories, Tony Kytes the Arch Deceiver, The Son’s Veto and The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy, might have on the reader ?

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Introduction

What effect do you think the endings of the stories, Tony Kytes the Arch Deceiver, The Son's Veto and The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy, might have on the reader ? You should note that the literature course work says you should include comments on the social and cultural aspects of the stories. Tony Kytes the Arch Deceiver is a comedy based on a young man journeying through his village as he tries to deceive three women who clearly have feelings for him. It shows, how in the end, coincidence lets him down and he is caught out. The Son's Veto is a slightly longer story which explores the life of Sophy, a village girl, through many years of her life, concentrating on her son's prejudice and the result in which she suffers and dies unhappily. The Withered Arm is a longer story again, also charting a period of many years involving three people in which jealousy and witchcraft dominate. It finishes in a dramatic and tragic way. The three stories tell very different tales and can therefore be seen as separate genres. Tony Kytes is clearly a comedy as it is a portrayal of ordinary life in which coincidence, intrigue and normal human behaviour is shown. No one suffers terribly, there is a fairly pleasant ending and Hardy gives the reader the chance to criticise the characters' personalities. The ending of this story is as much to do with coincidence and fate, as it is dependant on the characters attitudes. Hardy describes Sophy's story as a little 'tragicomedy' and this can be seen evidently in the genre of the story. The Son's Veto is a mixture of genres i.e. tragedy and comedy. It includes elements of comedy, exploring Sophy's ordinary life and the behaviour of her son but we can see Sophy's suffering which gives the story an air of tragedy. The story portrays the downfall of Sophy through her lack of willpower and the trouble caused when she doesn't speak her mind. ...read more.

Middle

" She was with Mr Lodge, of course. What did he say or do?' ' Just the same as usual.' ' Took no notice of you?' ' None.' " Class segregation is also shown in Rhoda's jealousy, as one of the reasons for her to dislike Gertrude appears to be that Gertrude is obviously from an upper class background where-as Rhoda is lower class working in the dairy of her ex-lover and his beautiful wife. The cultural background of Hardy's times seems to appear and affect events largely in this story. Magic plays a central part and Hardy was quick to claim not to have invented the 'magical' details of the story. He said they were all based on fact. Every village in Wessex was supposed to have its own witch who specialised in curses. Her services were often sought for casting 'the evil eye' at an enemy, which would result in injury. The 'good side' of witchcraft was in the hands of the village conjuror. He could tell the future and help people who had been 'bewitched' find their enemy. Conjurors also lifted curses. These beliefs are the main element of The Withered Arm and obviously some of the audiences of Hardy's time would have found the story much more believable than we do now. Irony is the main aspect in Tony Kytes. The character of Tony, the main character, who after all the trials and tribulations of the story, where he tries to seduce all three girls, the story ends with him marrying his fianc� who he had in the beginning! It's ironic that having rejected his fianc� events turn out she is the only one who will marry him. " 'It do seem as if fate has ordained that it should be you and I, or nobody.' " Coincidences also affect the ending of the story. The main one is obviously all three women being present on his journey, also the presence of Tony's father, the crash in which the girls ...read more.

Conclusion

This would have led her not to become paranoid and seek help from the conjurer. If Rhoda was content with life she would feel no need to curse Gertrude and then Gertrude might not have been crippled. Therefore the ending would not feature the death of the characters and the genre of the story would not be tragedy. The audience might look more into the happy marriage of Farmer Lodge and Gertrude rather than Gertrude's insecurities and Rhoda's hatred and jealousy. I think that Tony Kytes was a predictable ending and from the situations portrayed by Hardy, looking at Tony's attempts to deceive and his quick-thinking, I could tell that somewhere along the line Tony would, eventually, be caught out. The Son's Veto's ending was very suited to the story as all along Hardy has concentrated on Sophy's weakness and the ending was a believable result of this. I would have personally enjoyed the story more and found it more believable if, in the end, Sam had convinced Sophy to marry him. I understand though, that Hardy did not write stories that ended 'happily ever after' and this is one of his qualities as a writer. The Withered Arm had a dramatic and intense ending and because of this I found this ending my favourite. However, this ending was the most unbelievable of the three stories. I think Hardy took coincidence to the extreme in this case and only the most superstitious of person would find this ending anywhere near believable. I would have found the story much more effective if maybe Hardy had not made the corpse the son of Rhoda and Farmer Lodge and if all three characters did not either die or fade away. It would have been interesting to see the aftermath of this situation in at least one of the characters lives. Ultimately it is Hardy's storytelling and his creation of such vivid characters that affects the reader. His choices regarding the endings of the stories reflect his viewpoint and purpose both in his novels and short stories. ...read more.

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