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"The withered- arm and other Wessex tales' by Thomas Hardy

             "The withered- arm and other Wessex tales' by Thomas Hardy .
             How does Thomas Hardy portray his female characters in this collection of short stories?.
             Does he create them sympathetically?.
             Do they seem real? .
             Do you think he understands women? .
             Write about your idea and feelings about Hardy's female characters with evidence from the stories to support your response. .
             In the first short story the withered arm' there are two main characters are female, one of which is Rhoda Brooks.
             Hardy creates Rhoda sympathetically by telling the readers that many of the people lookdown, ignore and frown at her because she had borne' an illegitimate son to a local farmer. Another main factor that lots of the people dislike her is that the village people think she posses' special powers and performs witchcraft. When Hardy was young it was common that people were accused of practising witchcraft so Rhoda would have seemed real at this time. .
             Gertrude Lodge is the other main female character, She is married to Rhoda's ex-lover, the farmer. Hardy creates rivalry between the two women as Rhoda still has feelings for the farmer and wants his love back.
             The two girls are not friendly at the start of the story but gradually throughout the story they become friendly. I think this is because Rhoda wants to information about Gertrude so she could use it to hurt her in later life, as she still is jealous about Gertrude and the farmer. .
             One night Rhoda dreams that she is so mad and jealous over Gertrude and the farmer that she hurts Gertrude's arm. When Gertrude finds out it was Rhoda who hurt her arm she became angry and upset with Rhoda, consequently Rhoda and Gertrude dislike each other and go back to square one. Hardy again has shown signs of sympathy because Gertrude did not deserve to have her arm withered'.
             In the sons veto' again the main character is a female. Sophie Twycott was a young invalid lady'.

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