Compare the ways in which Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Pages: 20
- Word count: 4886
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
Although both of these short stories were written in different times, by different authors, both stories are filled with detail, twists, and turns. This is what makes both of these short stories so popular and interesting to read. Although written in two different styles, both are interesting and dramatic from start to finish and instantly the writers capture our attention by using the hook of curiosity. Thomas Hardy opens his story in a cow barn where the milkers are talking about the newly wed wife of Farmer Lodge. Immediately the reader is curious to find out more about the new wife and why she is so important.
Then the milkmaids continue to talk and they look at the other side of the barn, where they see another milkmaid who is somewhat apart & seems isolated from the others. The milkmaids say “Tis has for she” and again we are curious to know why it is hard for this strange and isolated character. Why are the milkers talking about her? This curiosity makes us want to read on and find out more. However, Charlotte Perkins Gilman opens her story in a different Way; she starts the story with, “In her soft-carpeted, thick curtained, richly furnished chamber, Mrs Marroner lay sobbing on the wide, soft bed.
Although she starts with almost a descriptive sentence, she still uses the hook of curiosity to get us to read on and find out why this character is crying. I have seen that both of these texts open in different ways but still use the same hook of curiosity. I think that both of the openings are very effective in capturing the audience’s interest. The Withered Arm ends when Conjuror Trendle tells Gertrude that, the only way to cure her arm is to touch the neck of a hanged man. When Gertrude agrees to do this and reaches the prison, she sees that the hanged boy is actually Farmer Lodge and Rhoda’s son.
Gertrude cannot take the shock and faints. Unable to recover she dies a few days later. Farmer Lodge was seriously effected by this and changes and tries to support Rhoda by giving her financial help. However, Rhoda refuses the money and continues live a miserable life. Farmer Lodge decides to give up his farms and becomes a member of the parish after he overcomes his remorse and moodiness. Turned continues and reveals to us that a married couple called Mr and Mrs Marroner decide to take on a young Swedish home-helper called Gerta. The couple became very attached to Gerta and she becomes a dear and trusted friend.
However, Mr Marroner betrays Mrs Marroner by having an affair with Gerta & end up getting Gerta pregnant. While Mr Marroner is away on ‘business’, he sends a letter to Gerta and to Mrs Marroner but accidentally gets the envelopes mixed up. Consequently, Mrs Marroner finds out what had happened. This is the scene where the story first starts with Mrs Marroner crying in her bedroom. At first, Mrs Marroner seems angry with both Gerta and her husband but she believes that Gerta had been taken advantage of as she was young and they both decide to leave the house and Mr Marroner.
The story ends when Mr Marroner finds out what had happened and looks for Gerta and Mrs Marroner, but when he finds them, living in a separate house on their own, all Mrs Marroner says is ” What have you to say to us? ” These two women are shown to be very brave because they had to leave their comfortable lives and move to somewhere completely new where their fortune and well-being was uncertain. An interesting point about Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story was the tense that it has been written, it started in the present, then moved to past and then to present.
I think that this also makes the story more interesting and helps to maintain our attention in the story. These two stories come to close in very different ways; Turned ends in a predictable way similar to the way it began. However, The Withered Arm ends with a completely unexpected turn in the story, which was not predictable. I think that both of the stories are interesting and very enjoyable to read and I really liked the way in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman ended her story by using a cliffhanger.
This creates tension in the audience and it keeps our interest in the story because even after the story has finished we still want to find out what happened! Personally I preferred The Withered Arm to Turned because I though that Thomas Hardy had put in a lot of detail in the story. I liked the techniques he used for his writing and I liked the way creates tension in the story. I think that he has really brought out his personal feelings in the story as well as making it fictional.
I have also found some background information on Hardy and The Withered Arm, which revealed to me that the character of Rhoda Brook is actually based on one of Hardy’s own life partners. I also liked the way in which Thomas Hardy describes the characters i9n the story and brings them out. He describes them in such detail that they seem like real people and not imaginary. However, I must say that Charlotte Perkins Gilman also describes the characters in Turned in quite a lot of detail, for example, when the story opens; we see Mrs Marroner and Gerta crying, at that moment Mrs. Marroner is the ‘Superior’ character who cannot control herself.
Right away we have an image of Mrs. Marroner, she’s well educated, independent, and she’s kind. In the first couple of lines we get a complete picture of the first character and then Charlotte Perkins Gilman describes the Gerta, she was “Of a larger frame than her mistress” The last word ‘mistress’ tells us a lot, it tells us that Gerta is poor; she is a servant/helper, gullible. We can conclude a lot of things from this last word and then Charlotte Perkins Gilman continues to say that she didn’t try to control herself, telling us that she’s naive and childlike.
Mr. Marroner’s character is shown as being harsh, deceitful, cowardly, cold, immature and manipulative. This is because of what he did, first he got Gerta to trust him then he got her pregnant. He then leaves the house and doesn’t own up to what he has done and he abandons Gerta. But Mrs. Marroner is the one who takes control of the situation as she is independent and sets up a new home with Gerta, she is very kind and supportive to Gerta. Likewise, Thomas Hardy does the same, at the start of the story he describes Gertrude as a “rosy-cheeked, tisty-tosty little body enough.
This short description tells us that Gertrude is pretty, a bit round and that she’s shy. I think that this description is very good and it introduces us to the character. Thomas Hardy continues to describe Gertrude as more of the narrative unfolds. The complete we get of Gertrude is that she’s pretty, caring, but then becomes superstitious and selfish to cure her arm and she is obsessed by her appearance as she believes that Farmer Lodge wouldn’t love her if she had a withered arm. But she is still very delicate, because she couldn’t take the shock of seeing Farmer Lodge and Rhoda together although she has worked out that they had an affair.
Rhoda’s character was mysterious throughout the story because she had the vision. But we can say that she was jealous of Gertrude (at first), stubborn and independent because she didn’t accept the financial help that he was trying to give her. Farmer Lodge’s character wasn’t revealed much in the story but one can conclude from his actions that he is a very cold, irresponsible and mysterious because he left Rhoda on her own to bring up a child and be put down in the community. However he does seem to change towards the end of the story when he tries to support Rhoda by giving her money and he tries to set up a reform school for boys.
Thomas Hardy describes the characters in a lot of detail and it is one way in which he is successful to maintain the audience’s interest in the story. The Withered Arm shows us that Farmer Lodge and Gertrude change as the story unfolds. Turned is also similar to The Withered Arm in this case because Mrs. Marroner and Gerta also changed during the course of the story. In The Withered Arm I sympathized with Rhoda because of the life she was living, how much she had suffered and the fact that she had to bring up her son on her own who was later executed. Gertrude’s character also seemed to change during the story.
In the start she is shown to be mild, kind, caring, and then toward the end she is selfish and she doesn’t care if somebody is hanged to cure her, because she is so obsessed with her appearance. I Turned I felt sympathetic for Gerta because Mr. Marroner took advantage for her innocence and then Mrs. Marroner tells her to leave. I also noticed how much her character had evolved during the course of the story. At the start she is described as mild, child-like, naive and gullible but at the end she is said to be a tall ‘Madonna’, which means that she is very mature, understanding and the epitome of motherhood.
I don’t sympathize with Mr. Marroner because of the dreadful sin he committed and not owning up and helping the situation. The way in which these two authors have described the characters also helps to maintain the audience’s interest. If we compare Mrs. Marroner and Rhoda, we can see that they both have some similarities. Rhoda is independent, she brings up a child on her own and then at the end she doesn’t accept money from Farmer Lodge. Mrs. Marroner is also independent because she sorts out the problem by herself and she sets up a new home with Gerta.
Another similarity is that both of these characters were worried and hesitant at the time. Mrs. Marroner was hesitant when she finds out about Gerta and Mr. Marroner and blames Gerta at first, but then she realizes that it was Mr. Marroner’s fault. Rhoda is worried and hesitant when she refuses to meet Gertrude because she doesn’t want to face that fact that get is prettier than her and what will happen. So, Mrs. Marroner and Rhoda are similar in many ways, but do have their differences in appearance and lifestyles. Rhoda is poor and she has a very filthy and miserable life, but Mrs. Marroner is pretty, well educated and upper class.
We see their similarities in personality and feelings but a clash in appearance and lifestyle. If we compare Mr. Marroner and Farmer Lodge we see that they do not have many differences. Mr. Marroner is mean, harsh, irresponsible and cowardly for the entire story and Farmer Lodge is also mean, irresponsible, immoral, and heartless for most of the story but he changes when Gertrude dies and tries to support Rhoda. Mr. Marroner was also concerned about Gerta, but more about his wife finding out so he sent her money and told her to stay somewhere else for the time.
Mr. Marroner is supposed to be upper-class, well educated and understanding but he is shown as the opposite in the story. If we compare Gertrude and Gerta we see that both are kind & caring but Gerta is poor, child-like, naive and gullible but Gertrude is upper-class and pretty. Both of these t3wo characters change as the narrative unfolds. Gerta becomes independent, a tall ‘Madonna’ and Gertrude becomes selfish & obsessed by her appearance. Both writers have described the characters really well and they make the story more interesting by making the characters change, this creates tension and it helps maintains our interest in the story.
Making the characters change is like having twists and turns in the story which makes the story more exciting. As the characters are described so well the audience forms a special relationship with the characters of the story. We can see that both stories same a similar storyline and the characters in both are described really well. These are just two of many similarities in both stories. Both stories show tales of deceit and lies between the three members of the individual triangular relationships. In turned the biggest lie comes from Mr. Marroner deceiving his wife by cheating on her and getting the young impressionable Swedish home help, Gerta, pregnant.
Mr. Marroner made the mistake of mixing the two letters and sending Gerta’s letter to his wife and his wife’s letter to Gerta. In his letter to Gerta, he had made more empty promises by lying to Gerta that he will look after and takes care of her, he was subtly trying to get Gerta to leave Mr. Marroner and bring up the child on her own, so that there would be absolutely no chance of his wife finding out. He promised to send Gerta money for the baby’s upkeep but he really was deceiving her.
The same sort of thing happened in The Withered Arm which also contained many deceiving lies. Farmer Lodge didn’t say anything to his new wife about his past relationship with Rhoda Brook and he also ‘forgot’ to mention to his new wife that she Rhoda had a child and his wife has a stepson. When Gertrude and Rhoda became good friends, Rhoda didn’t tell Gertrude about the ‘dream’ even when Gertrude expressed her concerns for her ‘withered arm’ Gertrude didn’t tell her husband when she went off to visit Conjuror Trendle about her arm.
When she found out that Rhoda had cursed her she still said nothing to her husband, but she went off to try and heal her arm. She dared not tell him. ” Then Farmer Lodge used the same ‘going away on business’ excuse to go and collect his dead son’s body with Rhoda not knowing that Gertrude was going to be there. Again we see that the two stories are very similar, this time in the use of lies and deceit and the fact that both are based on triangular relationships. Thomas Hardy has also described the landscape in such detail that it alone seems like a character. This also helps to maintain the audience’s interest in the text.
One good example of the description of the landscape is when he describes Egdon Heath as Gertrude and Rhoda are walking. He writes, “The hardly spoke to each other, and immediately set out on their climb into the interior of this solemn, country, which stood high above the rich alluvial soil they had left half and hour before. It was a long walk; thick clouds made the atmosphere dark, though it was as yet only early afternoon; and the wind howled dismally over the slopes of the heath – not improbably the same heath which has witnessed the agony of the Wessex King Ina, presented to after-ages as Lear.
In this description of Egdon Heath Thomas Hardy uses words like solemn, which is actually a mood of a character. He refers to the winds as howling dismally, which is an action of a character. This gives the landscape a living presence and it is called personification. Thomas Hardy writes so much about the landscape because he grew up in the countryside and it’s been a great influence in his style of writing. I think that this is one major difference between him and Charlotte Perkins Gilman and I personally think that writing about nature helps to bring out the story.
Both stories revolve around human relationships and the characters seem to develop and become more mature as the more of the narrative unfolds; this is another similarity in the two stories. I like the way the characters are described in The Withered Arm but I also like the way Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s preoccupations make her story more interesting. The themes of Turned are almost similar to The Withered Arm, but because Turned was written later on, so some themes are more modern.
The themes of The Withered Arm are magic, superstition & the supernatural, tragic relationships, conflict between men and women, fate & coincidence and the permanence of the landscape. We can compare the themes of Turned which are independence, support of sisterhood, conflict between men & women and power and control. There is also another important there which plays a major part in both stories this is the theme of betrayal. We can see that some themes are the same in both stories but there are some modern themes in Turned, like, support of sisterhood & independence.
This would make Turned more interesting to read for reader in the 21st century. In Thomas Hardy’s story the themes of superstition & the supernatural and magic play a really big part. The whole if the story line is based in magic and the supernatural from the start; the villagers think Rhoda is a witch and stay away from her because she also an unmarried mother. Being an unmarried mother was really bad in the past but seems fine in today’s society. This story would have been really popular in Hardy’s time because people used to believe in witch-craft and the supernatural.
This theme is also popular today, because although the belief in the supernatural has decreased people still like to read/hear about it because they find it interesting. Hardy creates a really strong impression of the supernatural when Rhoda has the strange vision. This setting is good for creating the mystic atmosphere, which draws the reader into the mystery, especially during the scene where the incubus visits Rhoda Brook. This is rather exciting and creates fear inside the reader, which is enjoyable. I think that this greatly helps to maintain the audience’s interest in the story.
In Turned the theme of independence is very important, because this is a more up-to-date story so people would really like the use of this theme. This theme starts from the point the Mrs. Marroner and Gerta decide to take action against Mr. Marroner and leave and become independent. The theme of betrayal is present in both texts and this is another way in which they are linked together. In The Withered Arm Farmer Lodge betrays Rhoda and marries Gertrude. In Turned Mr. Marroner has an affair with Gerta and betrays Mrs. Marroner. This theme develops the story for us and it is a fairly modern theme.
The preoccupations of The Withered Arm are equally as good as Turned, but the extra theme in The Withered Arm is the theme of the permanence of the landscape and as I mentioned before this is something that sets both of these authors apart. The themes of superstition & the supernatural and magic create tension in The Withered Arm making the story dramatic and more interesting to read. In Turned these themes are replaced by the theme of power & control because this theme also creates tension, making the story more interesting to read.
But three themes are the same in both stories; tragic relationships, conflict between men and women and betrayal and this is another similarity in the two stories. The theme of independence in Turned is really interesting because it makes the story really positive and enjoyable for people of the 21st century. This theme is quite hard to understand, because it means that you have a right of independence and to do something, which is a more modern view of the society and it gives Turned an advantage over The Withered Arm because the message in Thomas Hardy’s story is that if you have a problem you can’t do anything about it.
I have concluded this from a moral & philosophical aspect. Another way in which both Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman maintain their audience’s interest in their stories is by the way that both stories are written in other words the form of the stories. If we look at the way Turned is written, the story starts at the present, then there is a flashback into the past and then we come back to the present and continue from there. This makes the story much more interesting because it sets a better scene and I think that it make the characters more realistic.
Thomas Hardy hasn’t written his story in this form; The Withered Arm starts at the present and continues to the end. The reason for this is that hardy wrote The Withered Arm for the expectation of his audience (which was to be produced in a series) so it was better to have the story in the continuous for so that the audience wouldn’t get confused. Thomas Hardy had more experience in writing than Charlotte Perkins Gilman & he wrote in a different time for a different audience, purpose and in a different style.
The way in which Thomas Hardy brings the story to life with his preoccupation keeps us intrigued and interested in the story but the way that Hardy uses language in The Withered Arm also keeps us engrossed in the story. The language used in The Withered Arm is quite old and some of it is archaic language, from the past countryside therefore some of the words are really hard to understand because we don’t use them anymore. However the language in Turned is quite simple and easy to understand. This is because Turned was written later on than The Withered Arm.
In The Withered Arm most of the language used is detailed description, dialect and figurative language. The same type of language is also used in Turned. Towards the start Thomas Hardy gives a really detailed description of Gertrude. He writes, “Her face too was fresh in color but it was of a totally different quality -soft and evanescent, like the light under a heap of rose-petals. ” This short description really describes Gertrude very well. If we look at the description carefully we can see that Hardy uses words like ‘evanescent’ which means delicate shimmering.
He uses a really good simile, ‘like the light under a heap of rose-petals. ‘ This shows us that Gertrude is kind, delicate, caring and soft hearted. We can get a complete picture of Gertrude with jus a few words which shows that the author can really play with words. Charlotte Perkins Gilman has also used a lot of detailed description. This is shown right at the start when she contrasts the bedrooms where the two women are crying. “In her soft-carpeted, thick curtained, richly furnished chamber, Mrs Marroner lay sobbing on the wide, soft bed. ” We can contrast this description with Hardy’s description of Rhoda’s house…..
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. ” We can instantly see that Hardy’s description has a lot more detail than Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s description which makes Hardy’s description more effective. Thomas Hardy shows that Rhoda lives in poverty and that her house is ruined and old. Hardy uses a lot of descriptive words like, where he says that the rafter showed like a ‘bone protruding though the skin.
This simile makes the description more effective because then the audience is engaged and can picture the scene. Hardy also describes Farmer Lodge’s house and after comparing the two houses we see many differences and we sympathize with Rhoda, because of the way she lives. Charlotte Perkins Gilman also uses metaphors and similes in Turned. A good example of a metaphor is when Mrs. Marroner finds out that Mr. Marroner had an affair with Gerta. “Mrs Marroner rose to icy peaks of intellectual apprehension, from which her hours of frantic pain seemed for indeed removed. ”
This metaphor tells us that Mrs. Marroner was thought very clearly. She got to the top of her problem and thought about what she should do. Charlotte Perkins Gilman describes Gerta really well at the end when she writes, “One like a tall Madonna, bearing a baby in her arms. ” This short sentence tells us that Gerta has developed and evolved a lot during the story, from being child-like and naive, to a ‘Madonna’ which means that she is very independent, strong, caring and that she is the epitome of motherhood. This makes the audience think about the maturity of Gerta and how much she has developed and changed.
Both writers use a lot of imagery and figurative language in their stories and this is what makes the stories really interesting. But one technique that Hardy uses is dialect, because The Withered Arm was written in Victorian times. He uses words like “tisty-tosty”, “gownd” and “he do bring home. ” To today’s society these words don’t make much sense because they are old fashioned, but in Hardy’s times it would be fine because this was casual. This type of language was used in rural and countryside areas and as the countryside had a lot of influence on Hardy’s writing I think that the purposely chose to use dialect.
As mentioned before both authors use a lot of figurative language in their stories. This technique also helps to maintain the audience’s interest and it helps to understand the characters. Thomas Hardy is a very skillful writer, this is shown when he builds up the image of the supernatural when Rhoda has the vision of the incubus. He creates a mystic atmosphere which keeps the audience’s interest. Thomas Hardy’s use of language is very intriguing because he uses all different styles of writing and his sentence structure is really good but Charlotte Perkins Gilman also presents her story in a different but detailed way.
After studying both stories I have found out that there are many differences in both stories, this is because Thomas Hardy wrote for a different type of audience with a different purpose and he wrote in a different time. Thomas Hardy’s story is set in rural England in the early 19th century, while Charlotte Gilman Perkins’ story is set in a more modern place, in America in the early 20th century. In Turned the story is set in the urban realms of the United States. The background of the family was wealthy as we can tell by the description of Mrs.
Marroner’s bedroom, “In her soft-carpeted, thick curtained, richly furnished chamber. ” However, The Withered Arm is set in a very poor background and poverty. (For one of the main characters, Rhoda. ) Both the authors were writing for different purposes, Thomas Hardy writes to entertain the audience, but Charlotte Perkins Gilman story has a more moral approach, which is to show independence & human rights of women. I have noticed in both stories that Thomas Hardy brings out the male character and Charlotte Perkins Gilman brings out the female character.
Thomas Hardy focuses more on poverty, magic, rural life and the countryside and Charlotte Perkins Gilman focuses on human rights and the theme of independence. People in today’s society like to read stories that are based on the supernatural and they like stories that are based on human relationships, so I think that both of these stories would be very popular. Thomas Hardy wrote this story on his beliefs as a Victorian and the influence on him, so I think that his attitude toward writing about witchcraft and magic probably came from the times he lived in.
Hardy brings in the countryside because he was brought up in the area and it is a major influence in his writing. This is why he uses the technique of personification to describe Egdon heath so well. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is very academic, like the character of Mrs Marroner in her story. She has brought personal preferences in to the story, which make it realistic. I think that the two stories she many similarities and differences between them and I think that both are really detailed.
Personally I preferred The Withered Arm overall but I really liked the way Charlotte Perkins Gilman presented the themes in her story because it all seemed to fit together and was coherent, but in The Withered Arm there are lots of different theme and sometimes that can get a bit confusing. I feel that The Withered Arm should be re-written with simpler language that people would understand easily. I think that this would re-introduce the story and would make it even more popular. I found both stories very enjoyable to read and the mysterious atmosphere and the gripping storyline of both stories attracted me.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ending of The Withered Arm and Turned, which left me flabbergasted, because I did not think that Gertrude would die. I think that Hardy was very talented and I admire his skilful use of language and the use of his techniques used to focus my attention and shift the perspective almost unnoticeably. Overall, I think that both stories are brilliant and that both authors have made them really interesting by adding a lot of detail into them, using gripping themes and by their outstanding style of writing.