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Hardy's Portrayal of Femal Characters in English Literature

[size=18:6fee2ed2ba]'How does Hardy portray female characters in his short stories?'[/size:6fee2ed2ba]
English Litrature 'Thomas Hardy'


During the course of this essay I intend to fully answer this question in depth and sufficient detail. This will be achieved by means of tackling separate sections at a time. I will by using the short novel 'The Withered Arm', I believe this is a good example to use, as the two main roles are played by women. These women go through complex emotions and feelings, and as a result they develop a great deal throughout the story.

I will be studying the two women 'Rhoda Brook' and 'Gertrude Lodge'. I hope to produce a comparison between these two women and highlight all the way that they differ from each other, and perhaps some aspects in which they are similar. Also, I intend to pinpoint all the ways in which the women's characters and personas develop with the story.

In addition I will be looking at the various techniques that hardy used to produce the oddly dark and compelling writing he is known for. Language used, structure of the text, and his style of writing will be individually analysed.

To conclude this essay I will be looking at, and attempting to comprehend the context this story is written in and using it to fully understand the way that women are portrayed in Hardy's stories. Finally I will be giving my own opinion of the way Hardy depicts female characters.

The first and most obvious comparison to make, would be of their physical appearance. Hardy's initial depiction of Rhoda as a "thin fading woman of thirty, who milked somewhat apart from the rest", tells us straight away how Hardy wished us to envisage her. As a distanced, perhaps lonely woman, the 'fading' could imply that she "once had been handsome", but her looks were now fading away with seemingly premature ageing. She is a tall woman with dark hair and pale skin. She seems to grieve for her lost beauty and appears jealous of Farmer Lodges new wife's beauty. As the story progresses she becomes thinner, more haggard and visibly sadder looking. Perhaps brought about by the extreme pressures of the ordeal she encounters.

In the beginning, Gertrude Lodge could not be more the opposite of Rhoda.
She is beautiful, graceful and full of "youthful freshness", in contrast to Rhoda's haggard features, Gertrude's "face was...

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