Compare and Contrast how Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Compare and Contrast how Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman

present the situation, behaviour and attitude of the women in the stories

The Withered Arm and Turned. Explain what motivates these characters to

behave as they do.

Thomas Cookes

Compare and Contrast how Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman

present the situation, behaviour and attitude of the women in the

stories 'The Withered Arm' and 'Turned'. Explain what motivates these

characters to behave as they do.

Hardy and Gilman both share a similarity of characters and theme in

their short stories. Both focus particularly on the female characters

and the ways in which the other characters react and behave towards

them throughout the stories.

Both stories have two strong main female characters and two weaker

more naïve but also lead female characters. The way these characters

interact with each other is very similar in both stories, how Marion

and Rhoda seem to almost mother Gerta and Mrs. Lodge as they appear to

have a kind of power over the two younger women. Although it can be

argued that in the case of Mrs. Lodge, she has Rhoda's ex lover as her

husband and this could be looked upon that she has an advantage over

Rhoda. She feels as though Gertrude is 'closing doors' between herself

and Farmer Lodge that finally there is no chance of rekindling the old

flames she once had with him or for Farmer Lodge to make 'any

reparation' for what he did to her. Both the elder women also have

greater knowledge of men and how the world works, even if Mrs. Lodge

is what is called a 'lady complete' she is still unaware of how

society works and is treated.

Both Rhoda and Marion are women who refuse to conform to how society

expects them to act and behave. This is obvious when Marion takes in

Gerta after discovering her husband to be having relations with the

girl. Most women of the time would have taken back their husband and

banished the girl, and although this is Marion's instinct she knows

deep down this is wrong.

Rhoda is similar to Gerta; she also had a sexual relationship outside

of marriage with Mr. Lodge and bore a child from it, but yet still

continues to hold her head high and not disappears in society as many

women of the time would have done. In a way this difference between

these two similar characters is kind of ironic as Marion has to deal

with her husband having relations outside marriage with a girl,

whereas Rhoda is a woman who had sexual relations outside marriage.
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