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Compare the lives of the two central characters in 'The Son's Veto' and 'The melancholy Hussar'. What is the authors treatment of women and class prejudice.

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Introduction

Daniel Knott Compare the lives of the two central characters in 'The Son's Veto' and 'The melancholy Hussar'. What is the authors treatment of women and class prejudice. Introduction Having read and analysed these two short stories, written by Thomas Hardy in the 19th century, and considered the essay question I feel we must firstly consider the two main characters, Sophy and Phyllis. Both characters are not able to marry someone they love because they have to keep others happy. Firstly, Sophy has married someone in an upper class out of respect. Then after her husband died, she is left in an uncomfortable, patriarchal society. Her son then refuses her the right to re-marry because he wants to keep his social status. Phyllis, on the other hand, has a chance to be with the man she loves, but wanting to keep her father happy, stays. The Son's Veto Before she dies, Sophy is left feeling deserted due to her son's denial to her being allowed to re-marry to Sam Hobson, "taking her before a little cross that he had erected in his bedroom for his private devotions, there bade her kneel, and swear that she would not wed Samuel Hobson without his content." This quote is just one of many that shows Randolph has an extraordinary power over Sophy. This eventually drives Sophy to her death, lonely and depressed. This has been created by Hardy's patriarchal society and Randolph's superior education. ...read more.

Middle

In Sophy he shows a weak, badly- treated, dependent woman, quite normal in the 19th century's patriarchal society, "and she had done it her self, poor thing." In Randolph he shows a dominant, well- educated man/boy whom, although Sophy's son, has control over her. "His mother hastily adopted the correction, and did not resent his making it, or retaliate, as she might have done." In Mr. Twycott he represents a man who can abuse his position to get what he needs, "She hardly dared refuse a parsonage." In Sam he shows the person Sophy can't have because of her social boundaries, "Such a lady as you've been so long, you couldn't be a wife to a man like me." This suggests people who are pre- occupied with social class/reputation and doing the expected thing are just upper class people. This is wrong! Although it is not referred to in the story lower class people try to do the expected thing and Hardy has not shown this. I strongly disagree with this influence in this story. Upper class people, represented by Mr. Twycott and Randolph, are shown as self absorbed and socially conscious, "It will degrade me in the eyes of all the gentleman of England." Hardy's judgement of Sophy's fate is a strong and effective one as it shows just how stressful life can be as a lonely, upper class citizen. ...read more.

Conclusion

His language shows his attitude towards these themes. He uses more complex, meaningful words to put emphasis on certain points, for example he uses "cannot break faith" instead of "remain loyal". In each of the stories, Hardy's attitude towards women and class prejudice is that of a negative one. This is because both women have made sacrifices and have been pressured into marriage. But, as each became older, what seemed right to do at the time turned into regret. Hardy's attitude is that men have a superior dominating effect on society and that women can used and abused. This mainly shows in "The Melancholy Hussar" where Humphrey has dumped Phyllis. "The Son's Veto" puts across the same point and another one. In "The Son's Veto" the setting is Gaymead, a nice little town that reflects a happy life that Sophy lead before she married. In "The Melancholy Hussar", set in the countryside represents Phyllis's lonely, isolated life. The essay question asked us compare the lives of the two central characters in "The Son's Veto" and "The Melancholy Hussar". What is the author's treatment of women and class prejudice? In the two stories Hardy wants us to think about this. He wants us to think why were women mistreated and why was there so much class prejudice? Hardy seems to suggest that when somebody marries's up class there is going to be problems. In the short stories they are sometimes overreacted, but otherwise he has a very correct portrayal of 19th century society ...read more.

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