The Son's Veto
Thomas Hardy was a novelist and a great poet. He was born into the
working class until he married into the upper class, forgetting about
his past because of the embarrassment it caused him. He was born in
1840 and died in 1928.
Sophy is an upper class woman with a lower class background who is
used to working class expectations and 'not up to the standard of the
upper class'. Sophy had worked as a maid in the house of the reverend
as a young girl and after his first wife died had stayed to look after
the reverend. After an accident which left her partially lame, the
reverend asked her to marry him. Her life would have been happier if
she had married Sam instead. She would not have been caught between
An example of his embarrassment about his background is shown when he
is alleged to have destroyed evidence of his past when working on his
autobiography about him. He was reluctant for his upper class
acquaintances to know about his poor past. Another example is the fact
that he did not invite his family to his wedding. He was embarrassed
about them and did not consider them good enough to mix with his new
family. This is reflected in 'The Son's Veto when Mr Twycott ensured
that the wedding was held in secret because it would destroy Mr
Twycott's reputation. In those days people from the two classes could
Another example is that Sophy and Rev Twycott gave up their home in
Gaymead and went to live in a small 'dusty house' in London. 'They
were however away from everyone who had known her former position'.
This is an example of Rev Twycott wanting to get away from observation
and gossip. They were prepared to give up everything to avoid gossip
and hide the shame of her poorer background. He knew that he had
committed 'social suicide' in marrying Sophy.
After Rev Twycott's death, Sophy spent two long lonely years until she
met Sam Hobinson. When she joined Sam for a ride, she took drastic
measures not to be seen 'wrapping herself up in cloak and veil', 'not
a soul was visible'. They met in secret as social expectations would
not allow them to meet. Sophy asked her son Randolf if she could have
a life with Sam, his reply was that he hoped his stepfather would be a
gentleman. This ruled out any hope for Sophy as Sam clearly was from
the working class.
Hardy depicts Sophy as a victim of society throughout the short story.
The Victorian society is portrayed as rigid, judgemental and
prejudiced against the working classes. However, Sophy's character is
shown as having certain weaknesses that can be said to have
contributed to her tragic end.
Sophy is shown as a weak character with low self esteem. She also
lacks the confidence to reprimand her own son when he rudely corrects
her grammar 'Sophy hastily adopted the correction'. The word 'hastily'
shows how she readily pleased her son due to her low self esteem. 'He
seems to belong so little to me â€¦ I...