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Thomas Hardy's

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Introduction

Thomas Hardy's "The withered arm" Introduction "The Withered arm" is a pre-twentieth century short story written by Thomas Hardy. This story was published in 1888 appearing in "The Blackwoods Magazine". The Withered arm forms part of a collection of short stories by Thomas Hardy referred to as the Wessex Tales. The withered arm is about a society in which an upper class man, Farmer lodge; a successful and wealthy man who appears to be in his 40-50s(it doesn't mention it in the story)has an affair with a lower class woman, Rhoda Brook; a poor and bitter milkmaid(30). This is an actual past even in both of their lives but this catches up with all of them when he marries Gertrude; a young(18-20), fresh faced upper class girl/woman. It turns out that Rhoda Brook still has strong feelings for her past secret lover, Farmer Lodge. Rhoda ends up making friends with the fresh faced Gertrude(Farmer Lodge's wife) though thereis still hate there by Rhoda she appears to accept her more due to her kindness and generosity. ...read more.

Middle

And if she seems like a woman who has ever worked for a living, or one that has been always well off, and has never done anything, and shows marks of the lady on her, as I expect she do. 'These quotes from the story show what she is like about Gertrude at first ' see if she is dark or fair, and if you can, notice if her hands be white; if not, see if they look as though she had ever done housework, or are milker's hands like mine.' I think Hardy wants the audience to see Rhoda as a mysterious witch woman but at the same time I believe that she is a victim of society. She is a total outcast of society, not being accepted in any way. She lives alone with just her son to keep her company..she appears not to have any friends or family. Rhoda conforms to most of the rules of society, but the odd few that she appears not to have stuck to have ruined her whole life. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is seen as a very good thing and appears to make her husband look good. I think Gertrude is a very kind and nice young girl who is like many other girls in that time trapped in a marriage, perhaps by her family. I think of Gertrude as also a victim of society. Lonely and young just as Rhoda once was...she is like a rich version of Rhoda with the wealth, Except she has the security of marriage and also being wealthy, which can make a very big difference! I think that Rhoda and Gertrude are both very different from eachother but underneath the appearance they are more similar then they actually know. They are both victims of society. Society plays a big part in most tragedys, an e.g "romeo and Juliet" Social expectations in that particular time were very high. In Holmstoke it was a very close-knit community which had expectations of higher class mixing with higher class and likewise for lowerclass. Higher class were aloud to do much more though...depending on their money. This is why Rhoda is an outcast and farmer lodge is not, however unfair it seems. ...read more.

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