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What was Thomas Hardy trying to show through his characters in 'The Withered Arm'?

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Introduction

What was Thomas Hardy trying to show through his characters in 'The Withered Arm'? In this essay I will write about what Thomas Hardy was trying to show through his characters in 'The Withered Arm'. The characters I will write about are Rhoda Brook, Gertrude Lodge, the boy and Farmer Lodge. I will write about these characters because they were the main characters in the story. The short story 'The Withered Arm' is written by Thomas Hardy. 'The Withered Arm' is a lady called Rhoda Brook who was partners with Farmer Lodge and they had a child together, which Farmer Lodge leaves Rhoda to bring up on her own. Later Farmer Lodge weds to Gertrude Lodge. Rhoda Brook becomes jealous because Farmer Lodges' new wife was younger and more attractive than her and also angry because Farmer Lodge was not interested in the son that they had together. Rhoda has a dream that Gertrude Lodge came to her house and that she had thrown her to the ground by her arm and had permanently left finger marks in her arm. ...read more.

Middle

"their course lay apart from that of the others" This meant she lived away from the others. Also her intense jealously of Gertrude shows how she looked up to others, as she is unhappy with herself and alone. "the figure thrust forward it's left hand mockingly, so as to make the wedding ring it wore glitter in Rhoda's eyes" The end of the story concludes Rhoda's loneliness when still no one communicates with her even after the recent death of the son. The Boy is also a very important character because of the way Thomas Hardy chooses to not give him a name because his mother and father both reject him. The father goes on ignoring the boy. "took no outward notice of the boy whatever" This obviously makes the boy feel rejected and lonely because his father describes him as "one of the neighbourhood". The boy's mother uses him as a spy and treats him as a slave. "hold up the net a moment" This shows how the boy was shown no love towards him but only used as a spy or to do errands. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gertrude dies alone like the boy and proves Father Lodge was after only her looks. The final important character was Father Lodge whose shows no feelings or love to his child, the boy. Also he doesn't stand by his wife, Gertrude when she is dieing. Or help Rhoda look after the boy. But his loneliness shows in the last chapter. He is shown by Hardy to suffer by ignoring his son, by stopping his love for his wife and not helping his ex. He loses everything he has and dies a lonely old man. Hardy leaves us the reader to realise the death of his son had an effect on him because he leaves his "property to a reformatory for boys". This showed the death of his son had an effect on him. Through all the main characters Thomas Hardy was showing loneliness and suffering. Each character became lonelier through the chapters and were shown to all be friendless. Thomas Hardy may have written in this manner because he may experienced that during his life. I think that because he wrote many stories about the place he grew up in. Darshit Patel 11R English Ms Patel ...read more.

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