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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. Marked by a teacher

    Thomas Hardy - analysis of three poems. Afterwards, During wind and rain and After a journey.

    3 star(s)

    The poem opens with an image of the personified 'Present' that 'latches' behind the speaker. Hardy uses the word 'postern' which probably is associated to 'posterity' and to the succeeding generations. Hardy refers to his life as a 'tremulous stay', this image connotes to the word 'tremor'. Thus, he alludes to the fact that he was old, when he wrote this poem and is now concerned about what his reader will think of his work 'will the neighbours say'. Although, the dismal tone which is perceived at the beginning of the poem, the language used conveys visual imagery of nature, which is perceived 'Delicate' and positive.

    • Word count: 2171
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Tess says, Once victim, always victim thats the law. In the light of this remark, explore ways in which Hardy presents Tesss experiences in Tess of the DUrbervilles.

    3 star(s)

    As Anne Mickelson persuasively argues Tess is, "trained from childhood to fit herself for an inferior role, [and] she becomes early in life a prisoner to her sense of responsibility and duty to family."It is these family responsibilities that convince her to go and visit the D'Urbervilles which is the cause for the destruction for her life. She dedicates her whole life to her family by simply listening to her mother and visiting the D'Urbervilles, as the event that occurred there changes her whole life.

    • Word count: 2364
  3. Marked by a teacher

    The Mayor of Casterbridge - Henchard Vs Farfrae

    3 star(s)

    Farfrae on the other hand risks the weather hoping it'll be a good harvest. When the weather turns out good and Henchard has to sell his grain off for even less than he brought it for, he becomes bankrupt and looses everything. Whereas Farfrae makes a lot of money on the good harvest and ends up owning Henchard's manor house, furniture and even his business. This good fortune for Farfrae is a result of Henchard's ill luck because if Henchard risked the weather he wouldn't have lost his money, home or business which means Farfrae wouldn't have got any of it.

    • Word count: 2139
  4. Compare and contrast the characters of Alec DUrberville and Angel Clare in Tess of the DUrbervilles (Phase the First Phase the Third)

    Alec is rich, powerful and lazy, everything that Angel despises about the "old families". Even the names of the characters reflect their personalities. Alexander brings to mind great noblemen, such as Alexander the Great, but the fact that the diminutive, Alec, is almost always used, suggests that perhaps the man has not lived up to the name. His surname at least sounds impressive, and the fact that it contains some of the title of the book seems to bestow a degree of importance. However, as the reader finds out just before Alec is introduced, the D'Urberville family don't actually have a claim to their name: it was an old ancestor who simply annexed the surname 'D'Urberville' in order to sound more genteel and more impressive.

    • Word count: 2257
  5. How does Hardy portray his grief and loss in The Voice?

    The title summarizes the poem by telling us what it might be about. It makes us wonder about what "The Voice" is and how it could relate to the poem. The Victorian's used to believe a lot about ghosts and afterlife. Thomas hardy is a prime example as he believes that his late wife had come down from heaven to talk to him. It shows how the Victorians have come to believe in ghosts otherwise he would never have believed that he was talking to his late wife.

    • Word count: 2003
  6. Deception is a Driving Factor in the development of the narrative. Discuss this suggestion with particular reference to Act 1 Scene 2 and Act 4 Scene 4.

    Shakespeare's use of reflection is another theme which runs through out. The two kings have been companions for many years and have a strong friendship: "They were trained together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection": their bond is strong and contented. However, both kings are destructive and quick tempered; reacting with anger and to certain situations, as might be perceived by the audience, to be irrational. For example the way Leontes rants about the supposed affair between Hermione and Polixenes: "Too hot, too hot! To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.

    • Word count: 2275
  7. Good women- Bad men?

    He cannot drive the cart as he had a few too many the night before. If he had not drunken any alcohol then he would have got up early and delivered the beehives to the retailers in Casterbridge. Also because of Jack Durbeyfield not being able to work his young child Abraham is awakened in the middle of the night to accompany Tess in her travels, yet another reason to label him a bad man. On the other hand Tess's father is only trying to do what's best for his family and by sending Tess to live with relatives he thinks that she may become something more than what he has.

    • Word count: 2201
  8. On The Western Circuit by Thomas Hardy

    The cathedral is empty and the man turns and walks from the Close into the noise of the city streets. Perhaps in this paragraph Hardy is reflecting again on his own situation and turns his back on the grandeur of the church and seeks to mingle with people of his own standing. Hardy goes on to describe the scenes within the city in particular the noise of the market square on which is a mechanical fare. Men, women and children are described as "gnats against a sunset," and the fare as "swings, see-saws, flying-leaps, above all of the three steam roundabouts".

    • Word count: 2409
  9. How does Thomas Hardy delelop suspense and tension in order to maintain the reader's interest throughout 'The Withered Arm'

    The inclusion of a magical and supernatural theme in the story is a good way of interesting the reader and creating tension, because as witchcraft and magic are subjects most people in a modern audience know little about, they add to the reader's unawareness and curiosity about events in the story. Suspense and tension are created in chapter two, when Gertrude arrives with farmer Lodge. We learn that Rhoda has an illegitimate son with farmer Lodge, and therefore understand her jealous interest in his new bride.

    • Word count: 2220
  10. To what extent do you think Michael Henchard is responsible for his own downfall? Michael Henchard's life is a series of terrible disasters, which leads to self destruction

    The liquor poured in was rum." He soon got drunk after several helpings of it and when his wife tried to quieten him a little. He then began to ramble about how better off he would be without her. "I married at eighteen, like the fool that I was; and this is the consequence o't." It is clear to the audience that Henchard is a rude and careless character. Henchard's attitude and behaviour is influenced by alcohol, and it appears to the audience that his wife, Susan is aware of this.

    • Word count: 2209
  11. Compare and contrast at least two of the female characters in two or more of the female characters in two or more of the tales you have studied

    This beautiful image gives the reader an idea of purity and naivety which also comes across in Gertrude's personality. The focus and detail on her beauty at the beginning of the tale also make the loss of her looks more pointed later on during the story. As well as being blessed with lovely looks, Gertrude is very charming, with a "glance so winning, smile so tender". She is compassionate and selfless, even to those of a lower class than herself. This was unusual for the time, as different social classes did not generally mix. She was an exception to this tradition, showing kindness to Rhoda Brook's young son, delivering new boots personally after noticing that his were old and worn.

    • Word count: 2896
  12. The return of the native by Thomas hardy - review

    heath, the heath folks lives were ruled by the image that the heath watch them as they were trying to live on and away from the heath. Egdon Heath is where the novel is set, It is not only the setting of the novel, the rugged and unforgiving terrain of the heath plays a crucial role, it seems to dominate the plot and determine the fate of characters, it shapes the culture and attitudes of the local heathfolk but also in motivating the main characters and even in shaping the outcomes of crucial events.

    • Word count: 2320
  13. Compare two mystery stories; 'The Superstitious Man's Story' by Tomas Hardy and 'Night-Fears' by L.P.Hartley.

    'Night-Fears' is set in England after First World War: "...bristled like a barricade..." In this story, there are many industrial settings, which suggest the beginning of the industry, which was just after the World War one. The night watchman guards a factory. The settings of the two stories are quite different, the same as the contents. 'The Superstitious Man's Story' is about a man called William Privett. He is said to be a very mysterious person: "...curious, silent man..," with a cold soul: "...without you seeing him, there seemed to be something clammy in the air, as if a cellar door was opened close by your elbow."

    • Word count: 2038
  14. How does the author of The Withered Arm make the incredible events appear credible?

    Hardy adds realism to the story in several ways. He uses his vast knowledge of the mass changes within the rural areas during this period, for example: 'Egdon was much less fragmentary in character than now' and 'farmers' wives' rode on horseback then more than they do now' (p19). With what appears to be direct speech from a third party narrator, he also adds factual event such as 'tis sold by the inch afterwards' (p19) as this is where the expression of 'money for old rope' stems from and dates back to when the hangman would sells inch long souvenirs after the execution (www.rootsweb).

    • Word count: 2105
  15. Compare "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy and "The Schoolteachers Guest" by Isabelle Allende.

    The syntax here shows a time gone by as does some of the archaic language used throughout: 'tisty-tosty,' 'supernumery' and 'barton.' As the story develops we see mentioned a woman separate from the rest. Hardy is slowly introducing this woman to the reader she mentioned as: "a thin fading woman of thirty milked somewhat apart from the rest." The reader is immediately interested in this person the mention that she is 'thin and fading' at thirty suggests that she may have had an arduous life.

    • Word count: 2099
  16. A comparison of 'Old Mrs Chundle' by Thomas Hardy and 'A Visit Of Charity' by Eudora Welty.

    Both concern the interactions between a do- gooder ( Hardy's curate) and Welty's Marian) and old ladies (Mrs Chundle and the old ladies in the Home) In 'Old Mrs Chundle' we meet the curate, new to the parish, who wants to create a good impression, certainly to his superiors. He is a refined young man who sketches 'he thought he would make a little water colour sketch'. He does not speak in the dialect of the locals which shows how he is socially above them and more educated than them.

    • Word count: 2471
  17. Compare the effects of the values and attitudes of the 1800s on the role and status of women in the Withered Arm, Melancholy Hussar and the Yellow Wallpaper.

    From 1862 to 1867 he worked as an architect but also wrote poetry. His poetry was not well appreciated and in 1874 he started writing novels and short stories. These were well valued by the people of England and soon Thomas Hardy could support himself only on his writing. One of his most famous sets of short stories were called The Wessex Tales, set in a real part of England but under imaginary names, such as Casterbridge and Holmstoke. He actually wrote these stories in the 1860s and 1870s, but set them in the time period of the 1800s.

    • Word count: 2355
  18. Return of the Native - Notes.

    Its vegetation makes it appear to wear a dark brown dress. It is quiet, sombre, and tragic by nature, and it seems to intensify the gloominess of both day and night. It is also enigmatic and inexplicable and sometimes hostile. Some critics are of the opinion that Egdon Heath is the "incarnation of a living force with a will and a purpose of its own;" other critics say that the Heath is the "protagonist of the drama" which "feels, speaks, and slays." The Heath is definitely a symbol of the grimness of life. Hardy suggests that "human souls may find themselves in closer harmony with external things wearing a . .

    • Word count: 2533
  19. Thomas Hardy - 'Isolated figures denied the fulfilment they crave by forces that appears to conspire against them'. To what extent is this true of the characters' lives from your understanding of The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion?

    Despite of first impressions, Gould is, in fact, "poor as a crow" but he gives an impression of having class status. The marriage arrangements were not based on love but were simply a convenience, which results in it being for material security rather than a romantic affair. Gould is then forced to leave to for Bath, an excuse about his father covering up his "pecuniary condition" leaving Phyllis bemused. The date of his return passed and winter arrived. This change of season is a metaphor, which represents the colour of Phyllis' mood, described now as "lonely in the extreme" as she had no knowledge of why her husband to be had delayed his return.

    • Word count: 2228
  20. In the short story entitled the withered arm, Thomas Hardy introduces us to a world in which single, working class women, are faced with enormous difficulties. A rich farmer called Lodge has dumped Rhoda Brook a milkmaid in her 30s.

    Just because she was a woman. Men were very sexist and just used woman as sex objects. Men went for good looks and never would they see how there personality was. This would off made Rhoda Brook think she was worthless and she wouldn't have the confidence in herself again. We realize that farmer Lodge is in many ways a self-centered man. At the moment where his son meets Lodge and Gertrude, as he drives his new wife Gertrude into the village for the first time, he feels very awkward.

    • Word count: 2020
  21. 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.

    The setting for Maupassant's story builds up mystery too. It opens with a horrific murder. On page 201, we are told that the victim was 'treacherously knifed'. This is important, as straight away there is some action in it, which makes us wonder what's going to happen next. This is a clever way to build up mystery. Like Maupassant's, Hardy's story gets to the point almost straight away: 'an incident had occurred' (page 133). This is mysterious, because it doesn't tell you what the incident was until a little bit later. This builds up suspension and mystery very well.

    • Word count: 2171
  22. The characterization and lives led by Gertrude Lodge and Rhoda Brook in Hardy's The Withered Arm

    Farmer Lodge chose not to acknowledge the fact that he had a child and therefore the child was deprived of a father, this can be thought to be the cause of Rhoda Brook's fall: "a thin, fading woman", this shows that she has endured poverty for many years and emphasises the hardships she went through, as she was once beautiful but this has now faded. Furthermore, working class women were poverty stricken and as mentioned before were at the bottom of the hierarchy, as the majority of men were employers of women.

    • Word count: 2819
  23. "You could get people wrong," Sandra realises in 'The Darkness Out There'. Assess how effectively Thomas Hardy and Penelope Lively explore this theme in their characterisation techniques.

    She affectionately calls one of them, "my duck." This is a very conventional way of showing her outside, explicit character. Mrs Rutter has a suspiciously inquisitive nature. We can tell this because she asks both Sandra and Kerry a lot of questions about themselves, for example - "Still at school, are you?...I expect you've got lots of boyfriends, though, haven't you?" This factor could just mean she is politely interested, but she asks too many quite personal questions and seems quite lonely.

    • Word count: 2945
  24. How Thomas Hardy portrays women in his stories, the withered arm, the distracted preacher and the melancholy hussar of the German legion.

    The Withered Arm has two main female roles: Rhoda Brooks and Gertrude Lodge. They both have very different backgrounds; Rhoda is the poor working class woman while Gertrude is the pretty upper middle class women. Rhoda has to work for her son and herself just to eat; she has no husband and so is an outcast from society and has to keep herself to herself. Because of this she has no male role model for her son. Rhoda is a "thin, fading women of thirty", which emphasises how hard she works and how tiring her life is.

    • Word count: 2416

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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