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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

    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

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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