• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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

    involved he is in his own memory and how he wants it to be real and actually happening. The contrast between the 'wagonette', a heavy, large vehicle, in which he is driving in the present and the 'chaise', a small, light vehicle, which he was driving in in the past,

  2. A Comparison between the Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy and Odour of Chrysanthemums by ...

    This causes an uneasy situation. There is no evidence of the history between the father and daughter, but we get the impression that they do not have a very close relationship because of the way that Elizabeth rejected her father for his behaviour.

  1. Presentation of Marriage in"Tony Kytes the Arch-Deceiver" and "The Half Brothers".

    "now which would you marry, father," By telling his son whom he should marry instead of telling him to consider the fact that perhaps he is not yet ready for marriage, Mr Kytes shows that he also holds society's view on marriage as well as the way in which women behave.

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

    of thirty", immediately the Victorian readers would have presumed that Rhoda is of a very low class and very poor. Her given age would also indicate that she is not a young woman of sixteen already married to a wealthy man, and that her chance of doing so has passed.

  1. Thomas Hardy writes about the divisions between the upper and lower classes within three ...

    When he is married his wife never produces a son as an heir to his land. It could be said that this is a judgement and fate has stopped him from having a son as he has already had a son that he ignores and does not support.

  2. Discuss the portrayal of women in Hardy's 'The Withered Arm' and Lawrence's 'Odour of ...

    continues she doesn't join in, and you see how she is different and lonely from the rest. She is a social outcast due to her taboo past (relationship with Farmer Lodge). ''He hadn't spoke to Rhoda Brook for years''. ('He' meaning Farmer Lodge).

  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. Thomas Hardy: The Withered Arm, pre 20th Century - Juanita Casey: The Seagull, 20th ...

    We next learn that Rhoda Brooks has a child, a son. We know this because when the milkmaids leave to go home Rhoda is joined "by a boy of twelve or thereabout" so this leads us to the conclusion that she had had a relationship with Farmer Lodge and that

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