Essay on How Thomas Hardy Presents Women in His Short Stories
Thomas Hardy wrote about society in the mid 1800's and his tales have rural settings in the fictional name he gave to the South-West of England, Wessex. The short stories reflect this time and the author also demonstrates the class division in rural society - rich and poor - and the closeness of the communities. Almost everyone belonged to the 'labouring classes' and worked on the land.
People of around 150 years ago were very superstitious and marriage was important. If a woman did not marry by a certain age she was thought of as a witch, or 'spinster'. Her only roles were to be faithful to her husband and to bear a son to become heir. The role of women was very different from today's …show more content…
Rhoda is naturally curious to see her former lover?s new wife. She sends her son to ?spy? on the woman and to inform her of Gertrude?s appearance. Rhoda wants to know if ?she ever worked for a living? and to see if she ?shows marks of the lady on her?. Her son is told to also study her hands - ?if they look as she had ever done housework?. When her son does report back home, he describes her face as ?comely as a live doll?s?, and ?soft and evanescent, like the light under a heap of petals?, and calls her ?pretty Gertrude?. The image of petals conjures up something soft and fragile.
Your future as a woman was determined by your class. Farmer Lodge would have been, presumably, proud to have her on his arm, like she is a trophy wife.
Hardy presents both women as vulnerable. Rhoda is an outcast of lower class and