Born in Higher Bockhampton on the 2nd of June 1840, Thomas Hardy died at Max Gate, his house on the outskirts of Dorchester, on the 11th January 1928. Thomas Hardy once commented to a friend that he would never have written a line of prose if he could have earned his living as a poet, yet it is as the author of some of the greatest novels ever written in the English language that he is best remembered. Hardy wrote from his personal knowledge and experience. His characters were drawn from people, real and remembered, and his settings were in locations known to him.
He could, and did, move buildings and places from their precise geographic position to suit the requirements of his plot. He changed the names, not to confuse, but to indicate that though the places he described in magnificent imagery were real, the events were fiction. Hardy lived a very normal lifestyle, fulfilling his aims and enjoying his recreational activities. He was, at the time, perceived as a woman sympathiser and, through his work, raised public awareness about the maltreatment of women in the society.We must remember that this society at the time was a sexist one, in which men had a dominant role in the society, and women a submissive one. It was also due to this fact that, a man who publicly or privately beat his wife for whatever reason, if any, was not punished in any way, it was just seen as normal in the society.
Hardy liked to write about the difficulties women faced in the society through his novels and poems, though he did not always get an understanding audience.We must also remember that at this time in Britain, there was lots of organised religion, which Hardy strongly despised, as we can see in Old Mrs. Chundle. He felt that religious people abused their power to their advantage.
Relationships between men and women form a pivotal role in each of the six of Hardy’s short stories I have chosen. In Tony Kytes: Arch Deceiver the relationships between the men and women are very clear. As are the roles of the women in the story. Tony Kytes is the leading man in the story who is being pursued by three women Unity, Milly and Hannah.
The relationship between Tony and them is a very close one, we know this because of the feeling that Tony shows towards them when he is alone with them.Although the relationship seems good, this is expected because obviously the girls know Tony and have gradually built up a formidable relationship with him. We know this because it says ‘He was quite a women’s favourite’. At the start of the Story, Tony is in a strong relationship with Milly Richards and has a slightly better relationship with her than with the other two girls.
He is engaged to her and the rumour is that they are not far off marriage. Despite this, when Unity asks him for a lift home, he obliges.This is because he shares a very good, deep relationship with women. Hardy emphasises this with his use of language when describing Unity’s tone of voice. For example when she is beside him, she asks him whether she is prettier than Milly, “Prettier than She? ” Hardy describes her voice as a sort of tender chide, almost a loving voice, although she refers to Milly as she, this suggests that she does not care about Milly. He replies honestly, but avoids the truth.
The only idea we get of what his emotions are is when Hardy describes Tony as a-struck with the truth.Hardy’s choice of language here gives the reader the impression that he does think that Unity is prettier than Milly. It does also emphasise that they do share a good relationship, but then so do any other woman with Tony. This is outlined along with Tony’s emotions in his response to one of the questions “In fact, I have never knower you was so pretty before” This is clever language that gives us an insight into his emotions in the situation. This close relationship between Tony and women also applies to his relationship with Milly.
His relationship with Unity seems less important when Milly arrives on the scene, as he asks Unity to hide from Milly. “Unity,”…
“here’s Milly coming. Now I shall catch it mightily if she sees ‘ee riding here with me; and if you get down she’ll be turning the corner in a moment, and, seeing ‘ee in the road, she’ll know we’ve been coming on together. Now, dearest Unity, will ye, to avoid all unpleasantness, which I know ye can’t bear any more than I, will ye lie down in the back part of the wagon, and let me cover you over with the tarpaulin till Milly has passed?It will all be done in a minute. Do! – and I’ll think over what we’ve said; and perhaps I shall put a loving question to you after all, instead of to Milly. ‘Tisn’t true that it is all settled between her and me.
” Tony’s way with words is shown once again as he persuades Unity to hide from Milly, but at the same time manages not to anger Unity, he does this by making an excuse that seems plausible. Maybe this is because he is petrified of the consequences of being seen by Milly, with Unity.Their relationship in Unity’s opinion is still the same as it was though, as he sweetly talks her into hiding from Milly. Maybe this is why he has such a great relationship with women. Tony resorts to lying about things and saying “Ah, I didn’t know that” When he did so. Hardy describes the conversation between himself and Milly as pleasant.
This language suggests that Tony is very happy at present with his fianci?? e. This is a good situation for the two. They also have a very good, if less exiting relationship. They are going along happily until they encounter Hannah.
We are told by Hardy that Hannah was Tony’s first love, so she must also share a good relationship with him. Her first remark to Tony seems to suggest otherwise, “No, I am not, don’t you see I have my bonnet and jacket on? I have only called to see her on my way home. How can you be so stupid, Tony? ” But we soon see their true relationship. It is a very strong one, we can tell this from Hannah admitting that she likes riding with Tony, and Tony relying with the same statement.
Their relationship is so good that the paragraph which outlines his true emotions says… In short, having considered her, he warmed up, and the more he looked at her the more he liked her, till he couldn’t for the life of him think why he had ever said a word about marriage to Milly or Unity while Hannah Jolliver was in question. So they sat a little closer and closer, their feet upon the foot-board and their shoulders touching, and Tony thought over and over again how handsome Hannah was. He spoke tenderer and tenderer, and called her “dear Hannah” in a whisper at last” This tenderer and tenderer is Hardy conveying the unique relationship between Tony and Milly.
But yet again he lies to Hannah regarding the axel of the wagon. At last, unsure of what to do he asks his dad, who advises Milly. He seems rebellious and decides Hannah. When he boards the wagon, the truth is revealed and the girls are not happy, the relationships between each of them and Tony are ruined.
When questioned about his actions, Tony pleads, but to no avail. “Well will You, Unity dear, be mine? ” he says. This suggests that men are unfaithful and deceitful; this view that one sex is unfaithful to the other is conveyed by Hardy in the other short stories too. When Hannah refuses Tony, as does Unity.
Milly is left and he proposes to her and assures her that he did not mean a word of what he said to the other two girls, these are even more lies. She accepts, and they marry the next Sunday. It says almost everybody in Longpuddle was at the wedding, which suggests that Tony’s relationship with Unity and Hannah is ruined. This idea of the men being unfaithful in their relationships with women is in stark contrast to An Imaginative Women, where the woman is the unfaithful one.
In Tony Kytes, the message about the relationship between men and women seems to be that men are unfaithful.In ‘An Imaginative Woman’ we realise from the content and tone of the conversation between Ella and William Marchmill right at the beginning of the book that they are a well off couple of similar social standing. However, we then read “…
No common denominator could be applied. ” Meaning that they really had nothing in common. The importance of forming a relationship with someone from the same social class is a theme that is emphasised in these books. Although they do not have much in common, they get along very well and have a very strong relationship until they decide to go to Solentsea.
They were of similar ages, same appearances, and a good couple, and the fact that they had little in common suited them. They speak to each other in a pleasant way, because the language Hardy uses when showing their speech towards one another is pleasant. When things start to go wrong, is when Elle hears the name of Robert Trewe, who is her favourite poet. “I know his name very well — Robert Trewe — of course I do; and his writings! And it is his rooms we have taken, and him we have turned out of his home? ” She begins to become obsessed with him, neglecting her husband, and their relationship begins to suffer, though Mr.
Marchmill does not realise that their relationship is getting any worse. Elle begins to develop a relationship with Mr. Trewe, a man she has never met in her life, but makes it her life ambition to meet him. He does not realise her love for him, as he keeps missing her, she is oblivious to him. She begins to become obsessed to this relationship. This is apparent to the landlady, but not to her husband.
“You are interested in Mr. Trewe, I know, ma’am,” She cradles his picture to her chest and looks at him. Her husband is still not aware of her hidden relationship.Her relationship and love with her husband lessens with every second, hour and day. She continually asks about him and thinks of him at night.
“She promised with secret delight, and went to bed musing of him” Hardy uses words like “magnetic attraction”, “fantasy”, “glorious”, ecstatic”, and “immersed” to describe Elle’s relationship with Trewe, which suggest that is a very intimate relationship, even though they have never spoken or met. Even when Elle asks Mr. Marchmill if they can stay longer, he is still not in the slightest bit suspicious. So she is deeply upset when she doesn’t get to see him, Ella was miserable, and for a long time could not even reread his mournful ballad on “Severed Lives,” so aching was her erratic little heart, and so tearful her eyes.When the children came in with wet stockings, and ran up to her to tell her of their adventures, she could not feel that she cared about them half as much as usual” And when she invites him to her house, he does not arrive, following a bad review of one of his poems. When she later finds out that Trewe has died and reads his last words, she realises that is she had made herself know to him he would still be alive today.
O, if he had only known of me — known of me — me! . . . O, if I had only once met him –only once; and put my hand upon his hot forehead — kissed him — let him know how I loved him — that I would have suffered shame and scorn, would have lived and died, for him! Perhaps it would have saved his dear life! . .
. But no — it was not allowed! God is a jealous God; and that happiness was not for him and me! ” She is deeply upset and blames herself for his death; she has lost a relationship and her lover. She begins to sink; her life is no longer worth living.Hardy’s language in the previous speech by Elle, shows us how much she cares for Trewe and shows us more of her emotions.
She still though, wants to maintain their relationship, she asks for a lock of his hair, and kisses it all the time, which shows their relationship is stronger than ever. This is well conveyed by her asking for the lock of hair and kissing it. Marchmill finally realises his wife’s unfaithfulness to him when he realises that she loved Trewe and sees the lock of hair and follows her to his grave. She finally become so miserable that she thinks that she is going to die with the birth of her fourth child.Her husband dismisses the idea. Just before her death she confesses everything to Marchmill and it is by chance that he sees the dates on an envelope a few years later and ultimately concludes that the fourth son is not his, but Trewe’s.
He shuns the child, thinking it to be Trewe’s. This is however impossible because Elle never met Trewe. This story conveys the message about women being unfaithful to their partners. Unlike Tony Kytes, when Tony was the unfaithful one.
This story also, like the first, seems to suggest that women do not have good relationships with men.The same can be said of the third story, which is Squire Petrick’s Lady, in this story the woman is apparently unfaithful to her husband. The relationship between young Timothy and Annetta seems to be very good, as unlike his brother, he had married Annetta for her looks and because he loved her, and not for the family that she belonged to. “She was a very pretty woman, by all accounts, and her husband had seen, courted, and married her in a high tide of infatuation, after a very short acquaintance, and with very little knowledge of her hearts history.He had never found reason to regret his choice as yet, and his anxiety for her recovery was great” Hardy’s language here suggests that Timothy thinks very highly of Annetta. There good relationship is continued as she tells him the truth.
But we soon realise that although, he thought they share a good relationship all these years, she had infact been unfaithful to him and that this baby she was giving birth to was not his. This sudden news shocks him and he immediately reveals his shock news to his dieing Grandfather, also named Timothy. He immediately changed his will and the new baby was Cut off and scorned as none of the elect” Hardy’s language here suggests that the son would be harshly treated.This experience ruined Timothy, after his Grandfather died. It ruined his relationship with women and he began to mistrust them. Another relationship that was non-existent or suffering due to is wife’s unfaithfulness to Timothy was his relationship with his son (or not his son).
Hardy tells us through his language that “Timothy had scarcely noticed the unfortunate child that his wife had borne, after arranging for a meagre fulfilment of his promise to her to take care of the boy, by having him brought up in his house.Occasionally, remembering this promise, he went and glanced at the child, saw that he was doing well, gave a few special directions, and again went his solitary way. Thus he and the child lived on in the Stapleford mansion-house till two or three years had passed by. ” Hardy conveys the fact that the child is unfortunate and that Timothy has no emotions towards it.
Then one day he sees his child playing, and the feeling to love someone possessed him, so he spent more and more time with the child, building a greater relationship with him each day.Hardy uses words such as “attachment” and “deeper” to describe Timothy’s relationship with his son. So it is with great surprise that Timothy discovers that Rupert, the child, is infact the son of the Marquis of Christminster. “he learned by accident that it was the name of the young Marquis of Christminster, son of the Duke of Southwesterland” His relationship with his son instantly begins to get much better and he loves him because he is the son of a powerful man.
Timothy rejoices and cannot hide his emotions and this discovery.He built up such a good relationship with his son however that he began to research the child’s real dad. “So much was he interested in his boy in this new aspect that he now began to read up chronicles of the illustrious house ennobled as the Dukes of Southwesterland, from their very beginning in the glories of the Restoration of the blessed Charles till the year of his own time” He became so angry that his child had been cut off in the will, that he illegally changed it to benefit Rupert. When, later on Timothy finds out that his wife did not actually have an affair with the Marquis and that her story was a lie.Instead of being happy and rejoicing that Rupert was his child, he began to feel empty and upset about the fact that his son was no longer important. Hardy’s language tells us “His manner towards his son grew colder and colder from that day forward”.
Timothy is really upset about this and his relationship with his son begins to deteriorate once more when it should be stronger than ever. To add insult to injury his last remark emphasises his emotions. This story is once again about the unfaithfulness, or the supposed unfaithfulness, shown by Annetta towards her husband, Timothy.Readers have to assume that once again the relationship between man and woman in this story, like the previous ones, is not as strong as it once seemed.
This is also the case in the story “Destiny and a blue cloak” by Thomas Hardy. One of the central characters in the story, in this case a man called Oswald, is not unfaithful as in the other short stories, but fails to keep him promise as it was. This is the case in this story. Agatha Pollin, at first shares a weird relationship with Oswald, the relationship between them was only due to a case of mistaken identity.Despite this, they get along very well and share a unique relationship. Indeed “Agatha had already lost her heart to him”.
This use of language by Hardy shows that they share a unique relationship, and not just a friendship. She goes on to say “I love you so dearly” Oswald feels the same way about her, therefore making the special relationship between them even stronger than before. By then, they share such a good relationship that they agree to marry to show how much they love each other. “If I’m on this earth I’ll come home and marry you. “But Oswald had arranged to go to India and stay there for a few years.
So they postpone the wedding for when he gets back. While he is in India, Agatha thinks about him all the time, counting down the days until he returns, this use of language shows how good their relationship still is even though Oswald is in India, thousands of miles away. They continue to enhance their relationship by communicating through letters. “all which information, being mixed up with her life and taking colour from it, she sent as scraps in her letters to him, deriving most of her enjoyment in contemplating his”During Oswald’s time in India, however an Old man takes quite a liking towards Agatha, his name is Farmer Lovill, he constantly stalks her, and then asks his friend, Agatha’s uncle, who is also his debtor, whether he can have Agatha’s hand in marriage. Agatha’s uncle pressurises her into agreeing by saying that if she marries Lovill all his debts will be cleared. She relies “O, I never! That old man! ” Which is just the language needed to show her disgust at the prospect of marrying Lovill and deserting Oswald.
She does not want to disappoint her uncle though, so agrees that she will marry Lovill if Oswald doesn’t return by November. She promptly writes to Oswald to tell him the situation. He writes to her and tells her that he shall be back in time to marry her before November. This once again shows the special relationship that they share and this is underlined by the complete confidence she has in him, “But he’s coming in six weeks, He tells me about it in this very letter. ” Their relationship, from her point of view is as strong as ever, and we can tell by the language used, that her emotions are ones of happiness and impatience.
At this time, Agatha’s relationship with Lovill is not a good one from her point of view, she despises him, doesn’t like him at all, and constantly refers to him as the “Old man”, it is quotes such as this which give the reader the impression that she hates Lovill. The day, weeks, months tick by and he still has not arrived, her relationship with Oswald looks very weak indeed, then on the night before her wedding. She attempts to escape in an attempt to avoid marrying Lovill and to reignite her relationship with Oswald. Her plan backfires, and who is waiting there for her but Lovill. This shows a suspicious relationship that they share.
Lovill and Agatha marry and Agatha is very emotionally hurt and disappointed with Oswald. The final thing that suggests that their relationship was never going to work was when Agatha says “That information is deeply interesting, but does not concern me at all, for I am my husband’s darling now, you know, and I wouldn’t make the dear man jealous for the world” This suggests, at face value, that her relationship with Oswald has dissolved, and that she has a great relationship with Lovill. But if we look carefully at the language used we can see words like “slain”, and “quivering” which suggest that she is really upset.This was another story of lack of trustworthiness between couples.
The last story which I have chosen to include in my comparison is “Old Mrs. Chundle” and unlike the other stories does not involve a loving relationship between man and woman, it does, however, include like the other short stories, some element of unfaithfulness. At the start of the story we have a new curate, eager to make a good impression, as anyone is in their new job. He forms a relationship with Mrs.
Chundle, who he asks for some food. He seems nice enough and committed to forming a friendly relationship with Old Mrs.Chundle. She, it seems, does not want to do this, and so, Hardy describes it with expressions such as: “Sour look”, “Some folk have nothing better to do with their time”, and “There’s yours” Which suggest that she wants to rid herself of this man.
Their relationship soon builds however and Hardy infact describes this by saying “engaging her in a little friendly conversation before parting” and she begins to talk to him more civilly. She remarks that she goes to Church every Sunday, which the Curate finds out is purely a lie. So he questions her and discovers that she is deaf.He visits her often to try to help her, she is a bit curious at first, but strikes up a great relationship with him as he tries to help her overcome her deafness in order to attend Church. When the first device does not work then Mrs. Chundle becomes impatient and says there is no hope, but they share a great relationship and through his own expense, purchases another device, this device, though severely misused by the old woman, appears to work.
It does appear to work, but at great inconvenience to the curate, as his sermons are interrupted by bad breath. Due to this, his very good relationship with Mrs.Chundle begins to suffer drastically and he tries to avoid her. “He did not call on Mrs Chundle the next week, a slight cooling of his zeal for her spiritual welfare being manifest; but he encountered her at the house of another cottager whom he was visiting; and she immediately addressed him as a partner in the same enterprise” When he does see her, she tells him that it worked, and she will be coming regularly to Church from now on. Hardy captures his thoughts, feelings and emotions brilliantly through his use of language when he says “The curate quivered internally”Thinking obviously that he would have to put up with the bad breath every week.
By the next weeks, the ordeal is repeated, and to him, his relationship with Mrs. Chundle is now non-existent, he says that he will tell her not to come anymore. When the message came from her, his relationship with her was so unimportant that her put off going for a day. When he realises that the Old Woman is dead, he feels utter guilt, Hardy describes his emotions as “Like Peter at the cock-crow”, “His eyes were wet” and “Covered his face with his hands”. This obviously shows that he still had a special relationship with Mrs. Chundle despite everything, as does the fact that he knelt down and wept for a few minutes.
This story unlike the others shows a relationship between a young man and an Old woman. In all of the stories Hardy has involved a central man and women and their relationships may have started off as good, secure relationships but by the end their relationships have been torn apart or very bad, due to the element of unfaithfulness by one of the sexes. So the morals of the stories and their similarity is that men and women have not had good relationships and this is constantly show by Hardy through the language he uses and his storylines.