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

Wider reading Course Work - “The Woman in Black” and “The Withered arm.”

Extracts from this document...


Jessica Williams Wider reading Course Work - "The Woman in Black" and "The Withered arm." Thomas Hardy's "The Withered arm and Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black" are both texts set around the turn of the century and share the theme of women in society. They explore the class systems and the differences in morals, attitudes, women's rights and roles in society and how a person's social status can completely change the outcome for two different people in the same situation. Both texts feature a woman and their struggle against society after having illegitimate children and being abandoned by their lovers. The two women are Jennet from "The Woman in Black" and Rhoda from "The Withered Arm." Through these characters the writers help the audience to understand the roles of women in the early century and late 19th century by providing a comparison. "The Woman in Black" and "The Withered Arm" explore class differences through Jennet who, born in to a rich family is upper/middle class and Rhoda who, born in to poverty is lower class. Jennet was born in to the upper middle class and lives as a lady in the small rural village of Crythin Gifford. She was brought to her child she was up in a highly respected family of great prestige. When Jennet gave birth shunned by society and in fear of losing their social status and respect, her parents disowned her. ...read more.


Women had to work for their living had to bring up their children and they couldn't afford to have someone to run their lives for them. They had to be independent and look after themselves. Jennet had been brought up to be a woman of high class, her family were looked upon as good people therefor they had a high reputation at stake. When Jennet had her affair it brought disgrace on their family. Such an upper class family couldn't accept such a sin and doing the only thing they knew how to the drove Jennet away so it could all be forgotten and the family could regain it's respect. Jennet couldn't bring up the child with no money or support as she wasn't brought up for it so he was forced to go through the pain of giving up her child and living apart from him. Both the stories pick up on the superiority of the man in that time. In both texts the men are just as much to blame than the women but they do not have to suffer for it. "The Woman in Black doesn't mention Jennet's lover at all as if he was nothing to do with it and doesn't need to take any responsibility for his son or Jennet. In " The Withered Arm" Farmer Lodge doesn't take any responsibility for his son or Rhoda either. ...read more.


"The Withered Arm" was written in the 19th century and the "Woman in Black was written in the 1980s. When The Withered Arm was read by the 19th century readers they would have been much more shocked than I was, In present day single parents and illegitimate children aren't as rare as then so aren't classed as a sin anymore. Hardy was most widely read by upper classes and they would have reacted to the book in the same kind of way that society reacted to Jennets pregnancy in The Woman in Black. The Withered Arm would have outraged but excited them which Hardy had a reputation for doing. As well as making them understand Rhoda's situation and the lower class ways it was probably his intention to cause a stir which he did with many of his books The Woman in Black was written in the 20th century and it is hard for the modern reader to empathise with Jennet, Hill had to include more drama than Hardy did. She had to make the horror bit of the story more substantial and sensationalised to excite and shock the reader in the same way Hardy's first readers were. The supernatural part of The Withered Arm can be more of a sub plot. Jessica Williams I think the way the story affects the reader influences how understanding and sympathetic they are to the Character. I was more moved by The Woman in Black and that is why I think Jennets Situation was worse than Rhoda's was. ...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. Presentation of Marriage in"Tony Kytes the Arch-Deceiver" and "The Half Brothers".

    She died shortly after she had given birth to her third child and Preston's first son. It is this child who becomes the narrator and explains the story to us. "Helen did not wish to live and so just let herself die away."

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

    He finishes with a great sense of finality; that he is now seeing her 'for the very last time'. He says his 'sand is sinking', this reference to an hourglass meaning his time is nearly up, and he believes that he will soon die as well.

  1. Compare 'A Stench of Kerosene' by Amrita Pritam and 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas ...

    There are some phrases used in the story which is very difficult to understand, (especially for readers like my self if I do not understand the meaning) for example when Manak said to Guleri when they met for the second time alone before they were married you are like unripe corn- full of milk.

  2. With close textual references to On the Western Circuit and The Withered Arm, explore ...

    Who we (Hardy's Victorian audience) would expect to marry this wealthy Farmer Lodge however quickly comes onto the scene. To the milkmaids of Egdon Heath, Farmer Lodge's new wife arriving in the afternoon was the perfect opportunity for gossip. However none of these milkmaids had seen nor heard of Lodges

  1. 'The Monkey's Paw' and 'The Withered Arm' are tales of great suffering and pain ...

    This dream furthers her misery and changes the course of her life. One day Gertrude visits Rhoda's cottage out of kindness, bringing new boots for Rhoda's boy. In looks, Gertrude looks just as Rhoda pictured her - but her manner and character take her completely by surprise.

  2. Compare and contrast the two stories, "The Outsiders and "The Withered arm", and show ...

    time believed in the supernatural and their attitude towards this and superstition were positive. Secondly you have to decide whether you are going to read the short story "The Withered Arm" form a sceptical view such as Dana Scully from "The X Files" would take or the supernatural point of

  1. Comparative essay of 'The Withered Arm' & 'Turned'

    Rhoda can be very caring because when Gertrude is talking about her injured arm Rhoda says, "I hope your arm is well again, ma'am?" "Well ma'am, I earnestly hope it will go away soon." Both of these quotations show that she cares for people because she hopes her bad arm

  2. The Withered Arm

    He uses certain vocabulary such as: "rubbed against", "touching", "pushed", "stuck out" and "hung" to describe how Gertrude moves into her seat. These are all very erotic words that are delicately disguised within the description of Gertrude, and only by reading the passage would you notice what Hardy is trying to say.

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