Compare and Contrast A Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy and The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs
In this essay I am going to explain the similarities and differences
between 'The withered arm' and 'The monkeys paw'. Both of these texts
were written before 1914 by two different people. Thomas Hardy wrote
'The withered arm' and W.W. Jacobs wrote 'A monkeys paw'.
The withered arm is a short story about a milkmaid who had an affair
with a high class farmer. When the farmer gets a new wife, the
milkmaid becomes jealous.
In a nightmare, the milkmaid who is called Rhoda Brooks sees the new
wife she had been obsessing over for the past few days in a horrific
apparition gloats over her new husband. In this nightmare Rhoda grabs
the apparition and feels her arm as if it were real as she throws the
spectre to the floor. The ghost is gone when she looks down. The
farmers' new wife, the next day, finds a new mark on her forearm in
the shape of a hand in the same place that Rhoda had grabbed the
apparition. Rhoda and Gertrude, the farmers' wife soon become good
friends as her arm becomes increasingly more serious. Eventually
Gertrude persuades Rhoda to get her to take her to a conjurer called
conjurer Trendle who is a local magic man. Eventually Rhoda takes her
and conjurer Trendle gives her advice but does not give a solution to
her trouble. They return home to the village.
A year later after Rhoda and her son had left the village Gertrud's
arm is becoming steadily worse and she is using all types of potions
and magick on it but nothing seems to make it any worse so she goes to
see conjurer Trendle for one last time. This time he gives her a
solution, she must touch the neck of a recently hanged man while the
body is still warm. Gertrude spends many days wondering how she will
pull this off without her husband knowing and to find when the next
hanging will be, she even starts praying;
"Oh lord, please hang a man, innocent or guilty soon"
Eventually she hears of a hanging that is going to happen in another
town nearby and she decides to go to this, things are made better when
her husband says he is going away for a few days and she sets off to
perform her task. She goes to the nearby town where she talks to the
hangman and arranges to touch the body when it is cut down. She spends
the night in an inn and when the morning comes she goes to the
designated spot to wait. She is beckoned by the hangman into a
courtyard as the boy is carried past her in a rough coffin and set on
some trestles she goes over and sees the purplish mark round the
victims' neck and she touches her arm against it. It is then that
Rhoda Brooks and Farmer lodge appear and see Gertrude bending over
their son and Rhoda gasps;
"This is the meaning of what Satan showed me in the vision"
Gertrude sees Rhoda and farmer lodge and faints. She dies later when
they return to the village the texts saying;
"Indeed her blood had turned too much"