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

English Coursework: Thomas Hardy's Short Stories

Extracts from this document...


English Coursework: Thomas Hardy's Short Stories Thomas Hardy was a popular19th century author. He wrote many novels which remain popular to this day, such as 'Far from the Madding Crowd' and 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'. He also wrote many short stories which varied in popularity. His short stories very often concerned marriage and the females' commitment to the act. During the 19th century, the role of women in society was very different to that of today. They had far fewer rights and there was a widespread belief that they were somewhat inferior to men. A married women was more her husband' property than an individual. Hardy's short stories represent the effects an unjust society inflicted upon lots of women in the 1800's, through the use of fictional characters. In 'The Son's Veto' the character of Sophy is introduced via a description of her physical features, implying that her 'nut-brown hair' and 'the curve of a cheek which was neither flaccid nor sallow' are the most important aspects of her; the reader is invited to presuppose her nature through her external appearance. This is relevant of the time as the general belief within society was that women were most suited as objects of lust for males. Sophy's character is being exploited similarly too many other women of her era, as a recipient of men's sexual desires. However, as the story progresses, it is clear that Sophy is an undeserving victim of sexism within her society. ...read more.


She is 'pining her heart away' for she is not able to marry Sam, under her son's express orders, 'he bade her kneel, and swear that she would not marry Samuel'. It is extraordinarily selfless of Sophy to care for her son, with whom she is barely attached emotionally to, more than herself. Sophy's character is depicted as a considerate, humble and altruistic woman. Sadly, through the confinements of society, she is debased in her moral worth and depicted as a mere object belonging to Mr Twycott. Her kind nature is not appreciated at all by her husband or son, and her role in society is to simply become a belonging of her husband's. 'On The Western Circuit' features the character of Mrs Harnham, who is in a similar situation to Sophy. It is her boredom within her marriage which causes her to commit to morally dubious acts which become key to the story. Mrs Harnham is confined by her marriage and emotionally dissatisfied because of it. Her husband was a 'rich wine-merchant of the town, but Mrs Harnham did not care much about him'. Already the reader is invited to glimpse upon the likely possibility that she is not a happily married woman. Mrs Harnham's boredom can also be noted early on in the story. The young girl Anna has 'come to the city on the invitation of Mrs Harnham, who had taken her into her household to train her as a servant'. ...read more.


This is demonstrated by Tony's indecisiveness as to whom he should wed and the way in which the women remain wilfully ignorant to the fact that Tony is a womaniser. It is of greater importance to them to be accepted by society as opposed to happily married. By contrast, however, Anna does not view her social status as a priority. She genuinely wants to marry Mr Raye for his companionship. Anna and the women from the story of Tony Kytes are unlike Sophy and Mrs Harnham in that they are less experienced in life and see marriage as a positive notion. Anna and the women depicted in Tony Kytes are portrayed as not yet being trapped by marital confinements or, in fact, by society. However, these women obviously still see marriage as a priority. It is evident from each of the stories that the values of society clearly made an enormous contribution to the choices the women made regarding marriage. The fictional actions of each of the women were dictated by the societies in which Hardy leads the reader to believe they exist within (although Anna and the three women from Tony Kytes were implicitly drawn into believing that marriage was a positive concept). Society, as today, heavily influenced and even overrode the woman's desires to make their own decisions. Society concealed the true realities of marriage and paraded it as a desirable concept for which one should aim to achieve. Sexism was rife and women had far fewer rights and were less respected than men of their time. ?? ?? ?? ?? Katherine Courtenay 11DB 1 ...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 Sociology 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 Sociology essays

  1. Sociology: Arranged Marriage Coursework

    Question 2 refers to what gender and background a person belongs to. I think these are important to know because girls might have different views on marriage than a boy, and it is also important for me to know what background a person belongs to as it may have an effect on my results.

  2. Free essay

    Sociology Coursework

    A British Medical Journal study looked at insulin resistance - which ups the risk of diabetes and heart disease - in relation to socioeconomic status. Among Danish schoolchildren, those with highly educated and big earning parents were the least insulin resistant.

  1. How Is The Harshness Of Community Life In Starkfield Conveyed By Edith Wharton?

    Divorce was also looked down upon by the community. We know that Ethan had the idea of divorce through: "Maybe both of us will do better separate. I'll try my luck west..." The above occurs when Ethan is writing a letter to Zeena, which is about him running away.

  2. I am Sam [2001] directed by JessieNelson and The Curious Incident of the Dog ...

    To the extent that readers begin to question the common sense and erratic emotionalism of the normal western citizens who surround, the protagonist, as well as contemporary western institutions and habits of perception. Positioning readers to consider how their individual mind works and how that may differ from others.

  1. 'The Son's Veto': Is Sophy a victim of society?

    His view changed entirely when he discovered that the man that Sophy wanted to marry was not a 'gentleman'. Randolph felt that he would have been degraded 'in the eyes of all the gentlemen of England'. This shows us that Randolph was someone who cared more about his reputation and social status that he did about his mother's happiness.

  2. Response to The Oxford Book Of English Short Stories edited by A.S.Byatt.

    There are people who want to pour out their frustration desperately. Why do children in the third world have to suffer hunger and pain but those in the western countries are warm and extravagant? Why do young men in the third world do not have a well-paid job while those

  1. Examining the way culture or ways of the society impinge upon the stories "Snapshots ...

    shows that this is a traditional technique as it is the modern procedure for the father to give his daughter away. Botswanan society appears to be largely agricultural, too. "He was rich in cattle" and "during the year he prepared the huts in his new yard" show me that the

  2. The Characters' Conformation to Social Restrictions in the stories The Gilded Six-Bits by Zora ...

    Next, we see Missie in her predictable role, as a wife and as a woman. We hear from Joe that "Woman ain't go no business in a man's clothes nohow. Go away." (p.1440) And later he puts her in her place by denouncing the fact that she is hungry: " 'You ain't hongry, sugar,' Joe contradicted her.

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