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Compare 'The Genius' by Frank O'Conor and 'The Son's veto' by Thomas Hardy considering the similarities and differences between: - Characters and relationships - The writers' treatment of the theme of class difference

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Introduction

Amy Clark Compare 'The Genius' by Frank O'Conor and 'The Son's veto' by Thomas Hardy considering the similarities and differences between: * Characters and relationships * The writers' treatment of the theme of class difference * Different narrative styles and techniques * Moral, philosophical and social significance of the text 'The Genius' and 'The Son's Veto' have countless number of differences and similarities. Both stories are based around the theme of class difference is an important factor. The Genius has an element of autobiography to it and it is written in first person so therefore Frank O'Conor can use irony. Through Larry's words, as a reader we find them funny although Larry doesn't. The Genius is focused on the son Larry as he is telling the story where as in 'The Son's Veto' the character focused on is Sophy, the son's mother. Both texts are written at different times, the Genius is 1953 and 'The Son's Veto' in 1891. Both writers deal with the aspect of class difference. The main relationships in both stories are between mothers and sons. Both relationships, between Larry and his mother and Sophy and Randolph differ completely. In 'The Genius' Larry is very dependant upon his mother and he needs her. His bond between his mother is much closer than with his father. "...I had always planned on marrying mother..." Frank O'Conor Has based this relationship on the Oedipus complex which gives structure to the story. The tragedy of Oedipus Is about a King and Queen who abandon their baby because there was a prophecy that the baby would eventually kill his own father and marry his mother. Oedipus grew up unaware of his true identity and killed his father in a fight and fell in love and married his mother. 'The Genius' was part of a collection of storied titled 'My Oedipus and Other Stories'. The Greek story gives tradition to Frank O'Conor's story, giving it a central theme. ...read more.

Middle

"...he (Randolph) was reducing their compass to a population of a few thousand wealthy and titles people..." Randolph only wants to mix with wealthy people. "...Sophy saw the large proportion of boys like her own..." Mr Tywcott just wants a wife, a companion. It is not true love at all. Sophy feels it would be wrong to go against him and turn him down, she respects him highly, almost worships him. She says 'yes' because of his status, she can't refuse even though she doesn't love him. She immediately accepts and it is a quick decision. She is under social pressure. "...Sophy did not exactly love him, but had a respect for him which almost mounted to veneration..." Sophy describes her life as a 'little tragic comedy'. This is because her life has been full of ironic events, which could be seen as accidental. When Sam asks her to marry him it is ironic as she has moved up a class and is a lady so she can't. But before she could have married him when she had the chance. She didn't know what the future was going to bring, so how did she know. The obvious event is when she injured herself and damaged her ankle. "...she had slipped down with the tray, and so twisted her foot that she could not stand..." Her marriage to Mr Twycott was out of her control, she didn't have a choice and had to say yes. All these things happen to Sophy which she can't control, she almost falls into things. Hardy views Sophy's life as a play, she is the victim. Hardy uses the word 'little' tragic comedy to make her life seem small and insignificant. It is quite ironic because things are going so badly that it is almost laughable. It is a tragedy because she rejected Sam who she loved. My Tywcott was hard to reject the proposal of someone in a higher class. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas Randolph is a product of education and higher class. Both are very opposing and different so there is bound to be conflict. One of the morals of the story is that you can't change class successfully. It is impossible to change but it never brings happiness. Like in Sophy's case, Randolph makes her unhappy. She is a caring mother who wants the best for her son. He was born into his class due to his father. Sophy was a lot happier when she was working class. The moral in 'The Genius' is that you shouldn't stand out from the crowd and you pay the price for being different as Larry did. Larry learns about himself and his mother. The mother knew all along that Larry was being a substitute for Una's brother, but she didn't intervene. This was because she cares about him and allowed him to suffer so he could open up his feelings. By the end of 'The Genius' Larry has changed a great deal, he wants to spend time with Una. Even though she is older than him she is still only a child. T the end he shows his emotions and cries about losing Una. "...I out my head on my hands and sobbed..." He wants to grow up too quickly, by doing so he is missing out on the wonders of his childhood. He is hurt by the end of his relationship and suddenly open's up. He is now aware that he needs others. He realises he doesn't want to be alone any more. "...I felt it was a poor, sad, lonesome thing being nothing but a genius..." Generally, Hardy sees the world in a very ironic way. If a character has a slightest chance of being unfortunate, through no fault of their own, hardy will ensure that this will happen. Some people will argue that Hardy is therefore a deeply pessimistic writer, but I think he respects the importance of deep feelings in people's lives. 1 ...read more.

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