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From a reading of Hardy's short stories, discuss how Hardy brings out the aspects of Victorian society in 'The Withered Arm' and 'The Son's Veto'.

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Q6. From a reading of Hardy's short stories, discuss how Hardy brings out the aspects of Victorian society in 'The Withered Arm' and 'The Son's Veto'. A6. Thomas Hardy lived during the Victorian period and he loved from 1840-1928. He was a famous novelist and poet but his points were not liked by the people in the year of 1840. Thomas Hardy was known as a Novelist and his stories crossed the modern and Victorian age. Thomas Hardy also lived in the middle class family and was born in Dorset a tiny village in the south west of England. Also, he used the locality of Dorset in his stories. He was the person who felt men were bond servants of chance and that they played an important role on our lives. In both the short stories, 'The Withered Arm' and 'The Son's Veto', he used a lot of description which was one of the other reasons why he was so popular. This is because his innate gift of description expressed someone or something in the deepest form which could actually help the reader picture the person or something clearly. First of all in both the short stories, 'The Withered Arm' and 'The Son's Veto' we see clearly that marriages could only happen between two people of the same class and that it could only be between social equals and this is one of the aspects that society judged a person on. Also, in both the short stories written by Thomas Hardy the level of your class in society determined the respect one would get. In 'Withered Arm', the case was that Farmer Lodge was of a lower class, and when he came up in his class in society, he married Gertrude who too was of a high class and was a lady. Here, Farmer Lodge stepped out of his original class and wanted to be exactly look a person of a higher class which is why he left Rhoda Brook who was of ...read more.


This can be seen by two quotes, 'Has, dear mother - not have!' This quote is when Sophy uses improper English and when Randolph corrects her, he shouts at her, which is extremely rude, and Sophy does not say anything. Thus, we can see that Sophy was always aware that her main deficiency was in her use of language. The second quote is, 'his mother, a child of nature herself, had loved in him; he was reducing their compass to a population of a few thousand wealthy and titled people.' From this quote one can clearly understand that the love Sophy had for Randolph, her son, was pure, and she loved him with all her heart but he did not care or want to open his heart to her. Also it is evident that as Randolph grew up, he went farther away from his mother, and took the company of famous people as he wanted to establish himself as a real gentleman, and the cause of this was the nature of society that dictated that one would only be recognised for his appearance, class and his behaviour. The company of Randolph is so much in contrast to Sophy's, as she only had the company of 'two servants.' Thus, it is quite understandable that the sophistication society was looking for ended with Randolph becoming snobbish. This also brings to thought that if Farmer Lodge married Rhoda Brook, Rhoda would have been more or less in the same position as Sophy was, but the difference is that Rhoda is a much stronger character than Sophy is. This can be see through the way she handled Farmer Lodge's absence for Gertrude, and this is because she hid not cry or grieve over his departure, although she was quiet when milking the cows and she had a dream of Gertrude. Also, although she hated Gertrude for stealing Farmer Lodge she did not fail to accept Gertrude for her good qualities when she gave her son a pair of boots to wear and made adjustments with her feelings to be herself. ...read more.


Unfairness in society can be seen in the 'Withered Arm', when people are said to be hung for minor things like, 'horse stealing, arson, and burglary', and sometimes not for the genuine reason of committing a crime, but so that an example would be set for society so as to not to make the same mistake. This can be proven by the quote, 'they are obliged to make an example of him, there having been so much destruction of property that way lately.' The unjust nature of society is again seen in 'The Withered Arm', when Gertrude finds it hard to go to jail so that she could touch the back of the neck of a person hanged because women were not allowed in unless they had the company of a man and this shows the biased nature of society. This can be seen by the quote, 'but what means she should adopt for obtaining admission to the jail.' Thus, all I can finally say is that both stories were tragic in their own way, all because a few characters went a little higher in society. In 'The Withered Arm', Farmer Lodge went higher in society and left his original wife, Rhoda Brook whom he had a son with, and married Gertrude who died trying to get her arm healed as Farmer Lodge married her because of her appearance and so he was left with neither Gertrude or Rhoda Brook. In 'The Son's Veto' Sophy married Reverend Twycott because she had respect for him and not because she loved him, although she did really love 'Sam Hobson', and when the Reverend died, she was left alone and longed for Sam's love but it did not happen because she was indecisive, and as she could not tell her son that she had to move on with her life whether or not he liked it. ...read more.

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