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‘A Vendetta’ and ‘The Sons Veto’

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A Vendetta, by Guy de Maupassant, is a short story which was written in the Nineteenth Century. This story tells us of a mother’s loyalty to her son after he is brutally murdered. This story is set in Corsica, which is a small fishing community, which lies just off the coast of Italy. The widow Saverini swears to her dead son that she will avenge him but she has no one to carry out the vendetta on her behalf. The widow Saverini ‘shed no tears’ when her son died but instead ‘stood there motionless for a long while. Another important aspect of the story is the deceased son’s dog.

Whilst the widow Saverini stood motionless the dog seemed to be grieving itself by howling. The dog only stopped howling when the widow Saverini started talking to her deceased son. The widow ‘shut herself up’ and was very isolated for a while with her son’s dog. After the body was buried the widow Saverini’s son, Antoine Saverini, was soon forgotten. Although the rest of the community forgot about Antoine his mother didn’t. She never forgot what Nicolas Ravolati, her sons killer, did to her only son. The widow knew Ravolati had taken refuge in the Sardinian village of Longosardo.

The Widow could see Longosardo through the only window in her house. The widow Saverini ‘sat all day long at her window dreaming of vengeance. ‘ This shows us just how much the widow wanted revenge. Widow Saverini was a woman with not much time to live. She could not sleep at night; she was determined to find a way to take revenge on her son’s murderer. Then, during one of the widows sleepless nights whilst her dog was howling, she had ‘ a sudden inspiration, the fierce vindictive inspiration of a savage. ‘ This idea was to use her dog to carry out the revenge she had long awaited.

In the morning the widow went to church to pray. This shows us that she is a religious woman but she needs to carry out the vendetta. The widow looked for ‘help and support off God. ‘ This shows us that she believed she really needed that extra strength. She was physically a very weak woman, but mentally strong. After she finished praying the widow began to train the dog. The widow secured the dog in a kennel she made herself. She left the dog in the kennel with nor food or water. When the widow was walking ‘ up and down restlessly in her room’ this tells me that she is excited but nervous.

It seems like she can’t wait to avenge her son. She seems very eager as she had lost a lot of sleep of her son’s death. The next day the widow gave the dog only water, no food. Another day passed and again the dog was given no food, only water. The dog was ‘tugging furiously at the chain now. ‘ The dog was very hungry. The widow then made a dummy of a man and she fixed it to a stake in front of the dogs’ kennel. The widow then went to the butchers and bought black blood sausage. She cooked the meat in the garden. The meat made the dog excited. The widow then placed the sausage around the neck of the dummy.

She then untied the dog. The dog pounced at the dummy’s throat, ripping it apart. The dog ripped the face of the dummy to pieces. The old woman was ‘tense with excitement. ‘ The widow repeated this again until the dog learned to go for the dummy with a gesture. It seems that the widow’s plan is going to work. By now we have realised the widow’s plan. The dog had been trained to carry out the vendetta. Before the widow went to take out the vendetta she went to confession. The widow dressed up in her late husbands’ clothes and went over the strait to Longosardo.

She carried a sausage in her bag. She was ready to carry out the vendetta. When the widow found Nicolas, working at the back of his shop, she let the dog off its lead and cried ‘At him! Go for him, tear him to pieces. ‘ This gesture shows how furious the woman was and the excitement she experienced. The dog killed Nicolas quickly and furiously. Neighbours remembered seeing an old beggar eating something brown. ‘That night she slept soundly’ This tells us that after all them sleepless night the widow can now finally sleep. She has fulfilled her dream to avenge her son.

In ‘The Sons Veto,’ by Thomas Hardy, Sophy, the main character of the story, is portrayed in many different ways throughout the story. This is because we see Sophy over a period of years and not just over a few months, as Widow Saverini is seen in ‘A Vendetta. ‘ This allows us to see what kind of person Sophy is, and how she changes throughout her life. The first part of the story shows us that Sophy is not as attractive as she first appears. We first see Sophy at a concert. Her beautiful braided hair is much different to her looks. From behind Sophy looks much more beautiful than she really is.

This gives us the impression that she has a lot of time on her hands and probably does her hair nice to compensate for how ugly the rest of her is. Also Sophy is bound to a wheelchair. We find out how she had been confined to a wheelchair later on in the story. Also the first part of the story shows us how subservient she is to her son Randolph. Randolph corrects his mother and seems embarrassed of his mother’s lack of education. For example, ”Has, dear mother – not have! ‘ The first part of the story takes us back to Sophys past. At this point in the story we see how confident Sophy is. Why, Sam, how you can be so fast! This shows us how confident Sophy is and how she is a bit flirty with Sam. Here Sophy seems spirited, confident, assertive and in control. Also here, when Sam asks to marry Sophy, she acts as if she is not ready to marry yet but is not against the idea. Here Sophy is confident but we see her confidence deteriorate after she is bound to a wheelchair. After her accident Sophy initially shows a sense of responsibility and offers to resign because she is no longer able to do her job but says she could still be independent and be a seamstress.

Both Widow Saverini and Sophy are physically weak. Mr. Twycot, her employer and a vicar, decides to make his move and ask Sophy to marry him. Sophy agrees to marry Mr. Twycott although it seems that she doesn’t love him. I think she agrees to marry him because Sam will not fancy her because she is in a wheelchair. After Sophy and Mr. Twycott get married they decide to move away to avoid embarrassment. They decided to move to South London, a big change of lifestyle considering they both used to live in a village. This big change seems to add to the deterioration of Sophys confidence.

It is also not possible for Sophy to go out and make new friends because of her social position and disability. It is at this time in which we are taken to the start of the story where we see Sophy at the concert. I think her hair is like this because it seems that she has little else to do except to braid her hair. The next part of the story tells us of the death of Sophys’ husband. Although Sophy is a widow she is still well looked after, but is more restricted than ever and confined now. She has no friends and family as they are back in Wessex, her hometown.

The difference between Sophy and Widow Saverini here is that Sophy is mentally weak whilst Widow Saverini is a strong woman who will fight on, although she is physically weak. Here is a comparison between Widow Saverini and Sophy as both are widows and both are restricted and lonely. Also here we know that both Widow Saverini and Sophy are both restricted and confined to their houses. Sophy is now confined to her house with a horrible view of the town. ‘… Looking out upon the fragment of the lawn in front, through the railings at the ever-flowing traffic. This is completely different to her hometown. As Randolph gets older it seems that his relationship with his mother deteriorates. He seems to bother with his friends more and visits his mother less and less. At this point in her life it seems as if she wants to go home. As she cannot get to sleep she watches the produce wagons pass her. This reminds her of her life in the countryside. Here it shows us that Sophy as too much time on her hands, similar to Widow Saverini in ‘A Vendetta. ‘ This adds to the evaporation of Sophys’ confidence.

Also Sophy suffers from a lack of sleeplessness the same as Widow Saverini. This affects Sophy by her luck of seeing her childhood sweetheart. One night, whilst watching the produce wagons, she notices Sam, her former sweetheart, and starts to look out for him at night. She starts to regain her confidence after they meet again. One night Sam takes her for a drive and it seems she feels there is still a reason to live. Sam proposes to Sophy but her new found confidence starts to evaporate again, as she believes that her son, Randolph, will not approve of this.

But, nevertheless, she agrees to Sam’s’ proposal. Sophy decides to break the news to Randolph whilst watching him at a cricket match. She thought that his spirits would be high so, therefore, he would ‘weigh domestic matters as feathers. ‘ Her plan failed, as she didn’t have time to break the news to Randolph or the confidence. Also the opportunity to tell him was ‘inopportune one. ‘ Then, one evening when they were alone, Sophy decided to break the news to Randolph. Randolph didn’t take the news very well, had a tantrum, and locked himself in his room.

Sophy is now subdued by Randolph. Here Sophy loses her son to another social class as widow Saverini loses her son physically in ‘A Vendetta. ‘ Over a period of years Sophy tries several times to persuade Randolph but none are successful. Randolph finally has enough, of his mother’s attempts to persuade him to approve of Sam, and decides to humiliate her by making her swear at the alter. Sophy never defies Randolph and dies after four years. Sophy never did what she always wanted to do, marry Sam, and dies unhappy. Both mothers react to circumstances in different ways.

Sophy has no confidence, which she used to have as a young woman, and just lets Randolph control her. She lets Randolph dictate her and he doesn’t let her free. She does this because she believes that she can only be a good mother by having a sense of duty towards her son and her late husband. Widow Saverini shows her love in a completely different way. She shows her love by avenging her son’s murder. When she decides what she is going to do she won’t let anything get in the way. She is single minded. The Widow Saverini had nothing to lose. She is mad with grief and wont sleep until the ‘vendetta’ is carried out.

It seems like an old woman like Saverini wouldn’t be as cold-blooded as this but she feels she owes a debt of honour. I sympathise with both widows, but especially Sophy who didn’t succeed in marrying Sam because of her selfish son. I admire the way in which Widow Saverini overcame her obstacles, such as her age. Widow Saverini is a strong woman whilst Sophy is easily manipulated. Overall, I prefer ‘A Vendetta’ because I admire the fact that the Widow Saverini avenged her son against all odds. Also I like the descriptions, by Guy de Maupassant, of Sardinia at the start of the story.

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