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Explore Hardy’s Representation Of Women In His Collection Of Short

1366 words - 5 pages

Explore Hardy’s representation of women in his collection of short
stories The Wessex Tales

Most of Hardy’s short stories, in his book ‘The Wessex Tales’, contain
references to females or contain female characters. This essay will
explore the author’s representation of females in, two of his short
stories, ‘The Distracted Preacher’ and ‘The Sons Veto’. These stories
were chosen because they contain two contrasting but similar female
characters. Hardy presents two women who show great loyalty and no
loyalty to their families, women of different social classes and women
of adventure and passion. The author presents these women differently
from the way women were perceived in that day of age.

In Hardy’s time, 1840 – 1928, women were treated differently from
those today. In the Victorian year’s women were the sex who suffered.
Women were stripped of opportunities. Women’s opportunities depended
on their social status. Women who were of the working class or the
lower class would be looked down upon by the upper class societies.
Women did not have the opportunity to make choices of their own,
instead it was the males choice. The males oppressed women in those
days. Women did not have the opportunity to vote in government
elections, work to earn a living and any earnings their husband’s made
could not be inherited when he died. Women did not have the
opportunity to attend school unless their family could afford it. This
only changed in 1890 when elementary education became free. Women in
these ages were the inferior sex. Although this is how women were
typically treated in the Victorian days, Hardy portrays women in a
different light. For example the women he portrays are not ‘‘normal’’,
they are more in control and dominant of the men. I think Hardy has
the male characters at the females’ fingertips.

In the story ‘The Sons Veto’ the author introduces the female
character in the first sentence. He represents the female character,
Sophy, as an intriguingly beautiful woman. As Sam the gardener looks
up at Sophy he describes her as “ A kitten like, flexuous tender
creature.” This quote shows that Hardy has represented this woman as
alluring to men, like a magnet, and very intriguing. As well as being
intriguingly beautiful the reader is led to believe that Sophy has an
interesting past. The reader is led to believe this when the narrator
says, “ She was generally believed to be a women with a story.” This
quotation suggests that Sophy has an almost mysterious past that
nobody knows of. The use of the quotation will have engaged the
audience and kept them interested in the story, so that they would be
able to find out about her “story”. So far Hardy has represented Sophy
as different from other females because she is intriguingly beautiful
and she has a mysterious past. He also represents sophy as different
from other women by hinting at her social status when Mr. Twycott, a
priest, marries her. The...

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