Feeling Sympathy for Gertrude and Rhoda in The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy

Feeling Sympathy for Gertrude and Rhoda in The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy

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Feeling Sympathy for Gertrude and Rhoda in The Withered Arm, by Thomas Hardy

The Withered arm is typical of Hardy's novellas, as it is a tragedy.
It involves two main characters, Rhoda and Gertrude. Rhoda and
Gertrude both have their own different problems that the must face.
Rhoda and Gertrude become friends after they first meet. Rhoda had an
illegitimate child to farmer lodge who marries Gertrude. Before Rhoda
and Gertrude meet Rhoda does not know what Gertrude is like so is
bitter about the idea of her marrying farmer lodge who hardy hints
Rhoda is still in love with.

Rhoda is described to be old before her age and works as a milkmaid.
She receives no help in the upbringing of the boy she had with farmer
lodge so she works hard to care for him. The other milkmaids talk
about her and they start to talk about the subject of farmer lodges
new wife. This part makes you feel some sympathy for Rhoda as she is
being talked about when she is still there. Because of the times Rhoda
was not at all respected for bringing up a child on her own but
instead she was treated as a social outcast. No one seemed to blame
farmer Lodge for what had happened. The other milkmaids will think
nothing of talking about her business when she is there. This makes
you feel sympathy for Rhoda because in this day and age the farther
would be forced to help at least financially with the upbringing of
his son and Rhoda would be respected for her hard work in bringing up
a child on her own.

Rhoda is curious about the new wife and sends her son of to "check her
out", as it would be. She wants to know what his new wife is like.
Hardy gives the impression that Rhoda is jealous of the new wife or a
least angry that he is taking a new...


... middle of paper ...


...ge says that he is
away on holiday. You feel sorry at her desperation as she is only
doing this so farmer lodge will like her for her physical beauty but
she does not seem to mind.

The body that she touches happens to be Rhoda's son and farmer Lodge
is with her. You feel sorry for both the women equally as much at the
end of the story but for different reasons. Rhoda has had her whole
life taken away from her however little it was and Gertrude has now
died as a result of trying to improve her physical beauty.

In conclusion I think that you can not feel more sympathy towards
either woman as they are both in the same boat and it is because of
each other that they had so much grief and hardship. If they had
nether met or had anything to do with each other then they would not
have been like they were. It was all a matter of situation and
circumstances.

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