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With close reference to 5 Thomas Hardy short stories, compare his descriptions of the relationships between men and women. Pay particular attention to the language Hardy uses to convey situations and emotions.

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Introduction

With close reference to 5 Thomas Hardy short stories, compare his descriptions of the relationships between men and women. Pay particular attention to the language Hardy uses to convey situations and emotions. Thomas Hardy was born on June the 2nd, 1848, at Higher Brockhampton in Dorset, a little hamlet, a few miles from Dorchester. He soon moved to London to study architecture, writing poems and short stories in his spare time, eventually moving on to do full-time writing, abandoning architecture. Most of his stories are set in the imagined county of Wessex, which encompasses the counties, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall. His novels and short stories all involved several issues; Victorian relationships and the dynamics of actual relationships between people and Wessex itself. In fact the details of relationships in his books help contemporary historians understand Victorian England. The five stories I have chosen to compare are: 'The Withered Arm', 'Old Mrs. Chundle', 'Squire Petrick's Lady', 'Superstitious Man', and 'Tony Kytes, The Arch Deceiver'. The first relationship I will work on will be Tony Kytes and Milly, Unity and Hanna from 'Tony Kytes, The Arch Deceiver'. The first relationship described in the story is the relationship between Unity and Tony. By the point at which we first meet Unity we have already been told about Tony's fianc� Milly. So from this we can gather already a few things about the characters because riding in a carriage with another woman than your wife, in Victorian times, would be most certainly frowned upon, so we can gather that Tony must be quite an impulsive fellow and she must like him a lot. ...read more.

Middle

This shows that Lodge actually believes it was a mistake to have left Rhoda with their illegitimate child. Of course in those days illegitimate children were despised and considered sinful. At the end of the story however, it seems as though Lodge does care for the child and Rhoda, because he comes to bury his hanged son. We also know he paid Rhoda money to bring up her child, "He had bequeathed...a small ammunity to Rhoda", which shows again that he does care for her and his son. Rhoda is very bitter at him, and life in general; this is the reason for her jealousy of Gertrude, because having an illegitimate child would mean the end of any hope of a successful life for her. The next relationship I will explore is the relationship between Farmer Lodge and Gertrude. Gertrude is much younger than Farmer Lodge, and as such he is infatuated with her beauty, "soft and evanescent, like the light under a heap of rose petals"; this simile shows us how much he is attracted to her beauty. It seems also that the whole town is also infatuated with this woman's beauty, "...all other eyes were fixed upon her", and she seems to use this to her advantage throughout the story. All seeming nice, but as soon as the curse is placed upon Gertrude's arm, the relationship begins to fall apart, "half a dozen years passed away and Mr and Mrs Lodge's married experience sank into prosiness and worse", the relationship was really based on her looks She seems to agree with this, "If I could only be again as he first saw me", ...read more.

Conclusion

The relationship is that of a man and wife. It is a normal sort of relationship for that time, with the woman staying home, doing the washing up and the ironing and things; and the man going out and doing the work. The thing that must be most noted about this relationship is the fact that it is a very usual relationship for that time, for instance when Mrs Hardcome is very alarmed to see Mr Hardcome asleep in his bed, she does not wake him up as she wishes to, for fear of his authority because he is the man and she is the woman. This is a very familiar theme when looking at Thomas Hardy stories, and out of all these short stories is what I would call the denominator. In conclusion, the relationships described in Thomas Hardy's short stories are all very similar, all fulfilling a sort of pattern. Men in all the stories become infatuated with the beauty of a woman and the relationships fail because the woman cannot compete, or the beauty of the woman is taken away. Women are not equal to men, in the stories men are portrayed as the much more powerful sex, with the most authority. The females in the stories try all they can to seduce and manipulate men, but this is always to no avail. Even in 'Old Mrs Chundle' the friendship between the old woman and the curator ends up as a desperate battle between the two characters, with the man as the figure of authority; but when she dies we realise he is not really the strong character. In fact all the men are not very strong, they have no depth and in finality are in fact extremely shallow. ...read more.

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