The short stories by Thomas Hardy I have read dealt with many issues, including the way women were valued and considers when being compared with men and the economy in the 19th century. They all shared a rural setting, in Wessex, with the exception of the Son’s of Veto which was set in South London. Thomas Hardy depiction of the role of women during this period is limited because of the similarities of the settings and the concentration on a particular type of culture. Though despite the limited roles of women in the 19th century, Hardy`s stories can tell us a lot about there position of society.
As Hardy`s stories are set in the 19th century many issues that would now be considered as “pretend” state a very clear view of what women could have been doing wrong. Witchcraft is one the many issues. The withered arm is the main story which includes this topic. Rhoda and Gertrud are both named or known as women that have something that to do with witchcraft, this affects there Characters to a major degree and shows how something as little as a rumour can drastically affect their life. Rhoda already has a name as being someone who has something to do with witch craft, that is what made farmer Loger brake away from here.
Illegitimacy is not a major part in this story but there is a definite moral which is connected to The Withered Arm where Rhoda does not fell like a complete woman, because her son has never had a father who he could be close to, she desires to be married to him
Women work in those days was very scares, and the work that there was, was of no important`s in the work environment. Rhoda from the Withered Arm Worked, but only as a milk maid, this kept her and her son alive and to live in a house, now a days there is no such living as a milk maid and the closest job to that is a farmer, who earns a low income. Sophie also works at the beginning of her life but had an accident; she then never had to work again due to the man who married her. This would have been great help to her as the work in the 19th century was hard to get let alone being disabled. Where as now a days there are many more opportunities for women.
Thomas Hardy depicts the role of women and the concept of the lady very well in the Son’s of Veto. In the book there is a statement which describes Sophie as a good women but not a good lady. This means that Sophie is a good person but not a “lady like person”. This I think shows defiantly what time these stories were set.
In the Son’s Veto’s the priest’s social status is brought down by Sophie because of the class person she is. Now a days, that doesn’t happen as much but you still find certain “classes” that can be booked or chosen which is just a state of money. I don’t think there is such thing as a higher person.
Romance is not a subject dealt a lot with in the 19th century and is not known as the same kind of romance these days. Competition for men happens a lot in the stories I have read. Rhoda and Gertrude both are fighting for the same man, But Gertrud is married and has the better side up. This is an even better competition for men, many women are hurt in this story and I find this more memorable.
Submission to male authority is the main subject that these short story show. The son’s veto includes a big part about male authority and how Sophie does what ever her son says even if it causes her to live the rest of her life alone. Now more women do what they want and even have female authority in there relation ships. In Tony Kytes there’s a statement that show how women then had no authorities where Hannah say’s no to Tony Kytes only because her farther is standing there. This is an amusing part oft he story, which shows what really what women were like.
Overall I have found that from reading Thomas Hardy`s short stories that women in the 19th century were in a less fortunate position in society and suffered tremendously and I am pleased that I live in 21st century.