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Pre 1914 Prose - Book Report/Review Example

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Pre 1914 Prose

He is snobbish and concerned only about himself. He never stops to consider his mother, her feelings, or the simple fact that she is his mother. He is educated and that works against him because he has been taught by society that he is somehow better than simple, less-educated individuals - even if that individual happens to be family. In short, he has been educated to become a snob. Randolph ruins his mother's chances for happiness because of what might happen to his reputation. In "The Withered Arm," we witness several types of prejudice that do not necessarily belong to the typical, snobby upper class. Rhoda and Farmer Lodge display their prejudice toward Gertrude, who while may be slightly prejudice, comes out cleaner than her counterparts. Rhoda is prejudice because she is lower class and has lived a hard life. Her relationship with Farmer Lodge only increases her unconscious anger toward him. Gertrude becomes a victim in that Rhoda can take her anger out on her. While we never know the reason for her withered arm, we can certain that Rhoda's unconscious self did. These characters illustrate how class can work against individuals because of societal norms. Hardy exposes how prejudice can works both ways to destroy individuals.
In "The Son's Veto," social classification is reveale...
d did not resent his making it, or retaliate, as she might well have done" (Hardy The Son's Veto) and "that question of grammar bore upon her history. Hardy then inserts the notion of whether or not Sophy has shaped her life "wisely" (Hardy) after such a reaction from her son. From these examples, we can see that while Sophy is young and attractive, she is from a lower class. Sophy is a gentle woman despite her class. She is depicted as a pushover; however, she is not snobbish. Mr. Twycott is quite older than Sophy and we read that she "did not exactly love him" (Hardy). Sophy is aware of how she is and this is revealed by her admitting to the fact that she is not a lady and she "shall never be" (Hardy). Her life did not improve after her husband's death; in fact, it became worse. She was lonely and had no control over the affairs of her life. Her snobby son controlled every aspect of her life. Sophy would have been happier had she never chosen the path she had.

The men in Sophy's life are extremely prejudice. It is also worth noting that Randolph is not from the same class as Sophy from the way that he treats her. In fact, from his reaction, we might say that it embarrasses him. He does not want to be associated with his mother's past nor does Mr. Twycott. Interestingly, Mr. Twycott is fully aware of his actions when he marries Sophy. We read, "Mr. Twycott knew perfectly well that he had committed social suicide by this step, despite Sophy's spotless character, and he had taken his measures accordingly" (Hardy). Marrying a milkmaid was simply below him. He even relocates to avoid tarnishing his reputation. In addition to this, he attempts to educate Sophy, but she is resistant to his efforts. With these men, Hardy is illustrating how prejudice can ...Show more

Summary

Thomas Hardy is infamous for presenting us with tales that expose some of the most deplorable conditions of man ever known. His fiction works well within the realm of realism and that is exactly what makes it so painful to read sometimes. We know that his characters could very well be our neighbors or friends and sometimes this is chilling, as most of Hardy's character analyses are painfully critical…
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