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AS and A Level: Thomas Hardy

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Five key concepts for a discussion of Hardy's novels

  1. 1 Irony.
  2. 2 Fate.
  3. 3 The pathetic fallacy.
  4. 4 Pessimism.
  5. 5 Agnosticism.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 6
  • Peer Reviewed essays 2
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Marked by a teacher

    In Tess of the DUrbervilles, how does Hardy present Tess and Angels relationship as one that is destined to fail?

    5 star(s)

    Hardy starkly emphasises Tess' virginal aspects through compound nominal phrases such as "white shape" and "pretty maiden", creating the lasting image of her as a perfect woman. However, when Angel leaves and "dismisses the subject from his mind", Hardy at once shows Angel's objectification of Tess and how easily he can put aside her hurt, hinting at their relationship to come. Even once Angel knows who Tess is, his initial impression of her as a "fresh and virginal daughter of Nature" does not change but only becomes deeper embedded in his and the reader's subconscious, painting a cruel contrast between his expectations and the real knowledge of Tess' past.

    • Word count: 1667
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Which Character in Hardy's "Tess Of The D'Urbervilles" Do You Have the Most Sympathy For: Alec or Angel?

    4 star(s)

    His appearance is stereotypical of a Victorian stage villain with a 'swarthy complexion', curling black moustache, and 'bold rolling eye'. Tess has been sent by her mother to claim kin and Alec does not 'regret her step'. Immediately his lustful attraction is apparent as his eyes rivet on her 'fullness of growth' and his dominance and forcefulness are evident when he continues to feed the strawberry directly into Tess's mouth, even though she shows 'slight distress'. Alec's obsessive nature emerges as he plans how he can 'find a berth for' Tess and bring her back to the Slopes permanently.

    • Word count: 1391
  3. Peer reviewed

    Explore the role of nature in the first three sections of the novel "Tess of the d'Urbervilles"

    3 star(s)

    being an indication of this - whilst he seems more carefree and willing to interact. In this way, Tess and Angel are instantly connected for the reader, and nature appears to shelter and protect them. However, Angel chooses another girl to dance with, marring the experience and implying that there is more to the situation; perhaps they are not so perfect. It implys that where nature creates a situation, man can often disrupt it, through their actions and religion. It therefore acts as a device for dramatic irony and foreshadows further events in the book.

    • Word count: 1959
  4. The of Power and Desire in Tess of the D'Urbervilles

    Additionally the image of him feeding her a strawberry has sexual undertones, he insists doing so even when at first Tess refuses, immediately he establishes his power over her. He uses his wealth and by showering Tess with fruits he puts her in a compromising position where she feels obliged to accept the strawberry. Tess in her naivety and politeness allows herself to be placed under his influence. Thus Alec's unstoppable desire for Tess leads him to assert his position as the dominating male in their relationship.

    • Word count: 1319
  5. Free essay

    Examine the statement Tesss life is damned from the start of 'Tess of The D'urbervilles' by Thomas Hardy'

    'Why didn't you tell me there was danger?' Tess blamed her mother for not teaching her about the world and her naivety towards men after her rape by Alec. In Victorian society, a girl was to learn about the world and its 'dangers' through their mothers and older sisters, as Tess did not have the latter, she relied on her mother, a job which Mrs.Durbeyfield did not complete. Surely leaving Tess with no other option than to fall into the traps of inconsiderate men, such as Alec, thus agreeing with the statement that her life was damned from the start.

    • Word count: 1248
  6. Compare how Hardy and Shaw present women. To what extent do they use this presentation to promote a feminist point of view?

    Hardy and Shaw's views refer form the Darwinian view of species which does not place men above woman which caused controversy within the Victorians. Hardy and Shaw give a sympathetic presentation of their female protagonist in order to make their hardships seem worse. Tess is descried as a simple country girl who is eager to learn about life "she has full zest of life willing to learn" she is continuously described by Hardy as beautiful "Holmberry lips", "Flower like mouth", "beautiful white hart "and "virginally white".

    • Word count: 1603
  7. Free essay

    Whether of High or low estate

    This therefore makes the statement agreeable, as it is clear, that women, despite their estate, are continued to be controlled by men, due to Victorian morality. Hardy further explores the patriarchal dominance that women have experienced, through the character of Lucetta. Henchard, as with Susan, attempts to control his relationship with Lucetta. Henchard is determined to force Lucetta to marry him, threatening to "reveal our intimacy-in common fairness to other men," and he speaks with a confident and controlled tone, making his threat more effective.

    • Word count: 1141
  8. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - the role of Chance

    However, she does not see this - she accepts his rejection. If Tess had suggested that no one could 'know or care about' her 'misfortunes' or 'reproach' the couple for them, Angel would have had to admit the thought 'arose in...[his] own mind'. From Angel's departure to his return, Tess manages to retain her devotion to him despite his treatment of her, the hardships she endures in his absence, his lack of communication and the torment of Alec D'Urberville's pursuit.

    • Word count: 1343
  9. How women are portrayed in the Wessex Tales

    Farmer Lodge sonly after he had neglected Rhoda for the beautiful Gertrude as a good replacement. This suggests that women need men just for survival and in order to blossom. Thomas Hardy portrays women in all different kinds of ways throughout his Wessex Tales. Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge are heavily portrayed during the tale "The Withered Arm". Hardy gives all women throughout his tales a fully descriptive description which helps the reader understand what women were like in the 19th century. Most of Hardy's tales are about very young and beautiful women throwing themselves at men and marrying them at a young age.

    • Word count: 1106
  10. The Withered Arm

    Then we have the second relationship of Rhoda, which is between Rhoda and Gertrude. Rhoda first heard about Gertrude Farmer Lodges new wife through her fellow "milkers" who were gossiping at work. When Rhoda heard this she was shocked. So for her selfish reasons she sends her son several times to go and "give her a look". She was mainly interested in Gertrude's looks; she was always trying to make herself look better than her, for example she sends The Boy to find out how tall Gertrude is Rhoda asks the boy "is she tall" The Boy replies "she is not tall" "aah, said the mother with satisfaction".

    • Word count: 1464
  11. Who suffers most in 'The Withered Arm'?

    surface of which had been washed by many rains...' One of the reasons for which Farmer Lodge had left Rhoda was because she had aged, which made her less attractive from her early life. '...dark eyes...once been handsome, seem handsome anew.' In those years men based all aspects of a relationship on the appearance of a woman; here Farmer Lodge leaves Rhoda because of the change in her appearance and some time later moves on to Gertrude, his young wife.

    • Word count: 1051
  12. What are Hardy's intentions in his presentation of Eustacia Vye chapters 1-7? How successful do you think he is?

    She is the point of a helmet and part of the heath. The first sign that Eustacia prefers solitude is when she is seen ,leaving the mound like the 'glide of a water-drop', when another group of people are seen approaching the mound. Eustacia is very much like the heath. She is an outsider similar to the heath. It is ironic as Eustacia detests Egdon, 'Egdon was her Hades' but she has similar qualities. Therefore you think Eustacia would like the heath.

    • Word count: 1135
  13. Explain how Hardy combines elements of social realism and an interest in the occult in this short story, and how he directs the reader's sympathies to show the unfairness of existence "The Withered Arm" is a tragedy of fate and is a story

    At the end of Chapter One, Rhoda's cottage is a painful, if obvious, metaphor for her worn-down existence. Her cottage has been attacked by the elements and is virtually at the point of collapse: " It was built of mud-walls, the surface of which had been washed by many rains into channels and depressions that left none of the original flat face visible; while here and there in the thatch above a rafter showed like a bone protruding through the skin." At first Rhoda is presented as the protagonist. She is frail, keenly protected by the milkmen in the first chapter, and a single mother.

    • Word count: 1171
  14. "A blaze of love and extinction, was better than a lantern glimmer of the same which should last long years" Analyse Hardy's presentation of Eustacia Vye in Book One in the light of this comment.

    In a way Hardy is also ambiguous about the presentation of Eustacia, as he seems to be torn between her divinity and her humanity. This is particularly apparent in the quote "She had the passions and instincts which make a model goddess, that is, those which make not quite a model woman." Although we are presented with a goddess like character, we also know how she is human as we learn about her past, that she is an orphan and how Egdon is not really her native birthplace, but instead she is presented as the native of a seaside resort, this could be an attempt to make the character appear more glamorous or exotic.

    • Word count: 1137
  15. Examine Thomas Hardys portrayal of women in twi if the stories you have read, "The Withered Arm" and "The Distracted Preacher".

    The honesty of her nature was held up for scrutiny when she admitted to refilling the barrels with water after they had released some alcohol. Lizzie was a traditionalist who wanted to carry on helping with the smuggling as her father and husband has done before her: "my husband used to know of their doings and so did my father _ _ _." (pg. 148) Throughout the beginning of the story, we are led to believe that Lizzie is a true lady and of a weak disposition, needing to "hide away upstairs in bed because 'tis her way sometimes."

    • Word count: 1547
  16. Thought controlled robotics

    This is not the first time that a device has been operated by "brain power" alone. For example in 1999 scientists from Germany developed a computer system that interpreted brainwaves, allowing people who were completely paralyzed to communicate. In the same year, Dr John Chapin, of the MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, trained rats to obtain water from a robotic arm through brain activity alone. However Dr Nicolelis's experiment marks a significant step forward in terms of sophistication and sets new benchmarks because it is able to process larger amounts of neural information at a faster speed to produce more sophisticated robotic movements.

    • Word count: 1252
  17. Thomas Hardy

    She was intelligent and made her living as a teacher. She bore a child in 1868 and Hardy fell deeply in love with her. But in 1872 she broke his heart by returning her engagement ring. She then remarried and had two more children before dying in 1890. Tryphena had a great influence on his writing. On March 7, 1870 Hardy took an architectural trip to a church named St. Juliot. He stayed at the rectory and met the rector's sister-in-law, Emma Lavinia Gifford. She was younger and attractive, and they walked hand in hand through the countryside.

    • Word count: 1435
  18. The presentation of Eustacia Vye in 'Queen of night'

    She despises the heath, and blames "destiny" for putting her there, in the care of her grandfather Captain Vye. Eustacia Vye is presented to the reader as a very mysterious character, beautiful, yet isolated, lonely and uncontrollable. The title of the chapter 'Queen of night' already builds up a sense of mystery for the character that is to be presented. Eustacia, being isolated and lonely in the Egdon heath, had a solution to all this, which, in her opinion, was being loved 'Love was to her the one cordial which could drive away the eating loneliness of her days.'

    • Word count: 1253
  19. Kavita Sharma 10BMIS 'The Withered Arm' - "Who do you think is to be blamed for the tragedies?"

    Lastly there is also Gertrude Lodge; she is Farmer Lodge's new wife. "..They say she's rosy-cheeked, titsy-totsy little body enough." This indicates that she is a pretty woman with a perfect body. In opposition Rhoda isn't very popular with the other workers she is described as "A thin, fading woman of thirty milked somewhat apart from the rest." This emphasies that although she has been there for many years people still dont like her. The relationship between Farmer Lodge and Gertrude is that they are a newly married couple in the village that are madly in love with each other, Farmer Lodge literally worships Gertrude.

    • Word count: 1852
  20. Explore Hardy's portrayal of women in 3 of the short stories studied. Consider the effects of social, historical and cultural influences on the characters.

    There is a fatal inevitability to the way their lives end. Whether in loss, love or death. In these stories we see that money is a dominating factor, especially with men. In one story 'The Withered Arm', farmer Lodge is a prosperous and successful man, who fathers Rhoda Brook's child, without being condemned by the local community. He can ignore Rhoda for several years and bring a new wife Gertrude to Holmstoke. Gertrude Lodge is described as a "tisty- tosty little body", is the opposite of Rhoda Brook, very petite and well kept.

    • Word count: 1644
  21. Which of the two key male characters in

    These poems are some of Hardy's finest and describe their meeting and his subsequent loss. In 1914 Florence Dugdale became Hardy's second wife and she wrote his biography after he died in Dorchester, on January 11, 1928. The Mayor of Casterbridge The Mayor of Casterbridge was written by Hardy in 1886, and uses many fictional devices such as Pathetic fallacy to bring out the emotions of his characters. In many ways this is a tragedy, with Michael Henchard as our 'Macbeth', but also flawed by fate and disasters beyond his control. As with many other tragedies, the reader is made to feel sympathetic for the protagonist, but in the end, Henchard, of course, dies.

    • Word count: 1042
  22. 'Father and Son' by Bernard McLaverty - short story review

    The house is not described in any physical detail, we are only aware of the harsh sounds. We hear the 'snap of the switch' - a harsh alliterative sound symbolic of the relationship between the father and son. The father's feet 'click', the 'rattling' of his pills, the newspaper 'crackling like fire' - all of these highlight the abrasive and hostile environment. These examples of onomatopoeia and alliteration add to the reader's awareness that the ending of this story can only be tragic.

    • Word count: 1678
  23. Thomas Hardy - The Withered Arm

    She becomes mixed up in potions and begins to deceive all those around her. Personally I believe that Gertrude's downfall was fate. Fate dealt Gertrude a massive blow when, many years after the initial disfigurement of her arm, she came to the realisation that Rhoda and Farmer Lodge where now together as a couple at their own son's hanging and that the Farmer no longer cared for or loved her anymore. In the beginning when we first meet Gertrude, one would never believe that such a kind and gentle girl could be anything like the character Rhoda saw in her dream, if anything we would believe Gertrude to be the complete opposite of that character.

    • Word count: 1574
  24. From reading the selected pre-1914 prose what do you learn of Hardy's use of vivid description, dramatic incident and reference to Nineteenth century customs and traditions?

    People who committed crimes in the 19th century were severely punished. Poachers were transported to Australia to do 'hard labour', night burglary was punishable by death. Hangings were still very popular in the 19th century and any hanging was an excuse for a 'holiday'. Class systems in the 19th century were very rigid - not many people succeeded in moving up to a higher class, but Thomas Hardy was one of the few people who managed to do this. Thomas Hardy uses vivid description in all of his novels and short stories, including the novels which I am studying, in particular 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'.

    • Word count: 1547
  25. Study of Pre-1914 Prose - Analysis of short stories by Thomas Hardy.

    Since "The Superstitious mans story" is written in an anecdotal style it connects with how people used to gossip. At the beginning of "The Superstitious mans story" the words, "as you may know" are used giving readers an instant clue that this story is anecdotal. By using this anecdotal style Hardy immediately captures the reader's attention by making them feel part the story. Hardy takes particular care to establish this style and uses dialect words to add authenticity such as, "he came near 'ee;" and "who told me o't,".

    • Word count: 1377

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare and contrast the way that Rhoda Brook and Mrs. Marroner deal with the ‘the other woman’ in their lives.

    "To conclude, Mrs. Marroner is an overall stronger woman than Rhoda, and is able to manage much more easily with the situation because she has an education, a job, money, and her own house. All these factors help Mrs. Marroner to cope, whilst Rhoda cannot deal with the situation so she leaves the town, where she used to live. Mrs. Marroner makes a totally new life for her self and lives with the other woman. Rhoda's experiences are the complete opposite, and no matter where she goes, her problems will follow her and it will all begin again. As Rhoda having so many problems with no education, jealousy, being an outsider, she is unable to cope with 'the other woman' Gertrude, whether as Mrs. Marroner is able to cope with 'the other woman' Gerta. Mrs. Marroner at the end puts her husband in the spotlight and challenges him what he wants, "What have you to say to us?" Rhoda returns to her old town and everybody remembers who she is and what has happened, "Here, sometimes those who knew her experiences would stand and observe her, and wonder what sombre thoughts were beating inside that impassive, wrinkled brow, to the rhythm of the alternating milk-streams.""

  • Read the Short Stories the Three Strangers By Thomas Hardy, and a Vendetta By Guy De Maupassant. Compare and Contrast the Way the Authors Develop a Sense of Mystery In These Stories.

    "I can now say that I immensely enjoyed reading both of these stories. They had both contrasts and comparisons, but more contrasts. The two stories built up mystery very well, but they built it up in completely different ways. I think this is because both authors were not setting out to write the same kind of story. I personally preferred Hardy's story. I think this is because it built up mystery in a very shrewd way so that I was guessing what the answer would be right until the very end. One part that I did enjoy greatly, however, was the red herring. I found this to be a very clever way of putting readers off course from the real answer, as it did to me. I did enjoy Maupassant's story as well, but I didn't find it as mysterious as Hardy's. In conclusion, I would like to say that I think both stories built up mystery well, but I think Hardy's built it up to a greater effect. Dale Caffull 11 - 4"

  • Compare two mystery stories; 'The Superstitious Man's Story' by Tomas Hardy and 'Night-Fears' by L.P.Hartley.

    "As a conclusion, I find 'Night-Fears' more mysterious and easy to believe. This might be because I don't believe in much superstition and 'The Superstitious Man's Story' is all about superstition and people who believe in it. 'Night-Fears' seems more realistic, because even in our days, there are people who die committing suicide, just as a cause of what they believe in. If people are easy to brake (spiritually) these days, then seventy years ago it would have had been even easier. The mystery in the story about the night watchman, crosses with reality, at some point. It is perfectly possible, that the night watchman committed suicide for his own reasons, where as William in 'The Superstitious Man's Story" just died because of a superstition people believed in."

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