Thomas hardy was born in 1840’s, in a village near Dorchester where women in most places are seen as weak and venerable, like in the short story ‘Old Mrs Chundle’, where Mrs Chundle always troubles the new curate. It is not until after the World War 1 when woman did most jobs what men can, for example war factories to make tanks and guns for the war, women not only did the dangerous work they also took a lot of responsibility taking after the family during the war, and that is when they gained their rights to be equal with men after the world war.
Although Thomas Hardy’s short story seems sexist, he isn’t, it was just how things were in 1840’s, and the life style was very different from what it is now. ‘The withered arm’ often mentions the beauty of Gertrude, describing Gertrude in all sorts of attractive ways like “Beside him sat a women, many years his junior-almost, indeed, a girl. Her face too was fresh in colour, but it was of a totally different quality-soft and evanescent, like the light under a heap of rose-petals.
And there were not a lot of description of Farmer lodge, but the story shows that “Farmer Lodge” has abandoned his ex-lover; “Rhoda brooks”, with his son. In ‘Old Mrs Chundle’ the curate tries to be helpful to Mrs Chundle but Mrs Chundle seems very troublesome, for example, when the curate tries to interest Mrs Chundle by inserting a sound-tube fixed running up inside the pulpit with its upper end opening in a bell-mouth just beside the book-board, the sound will travel directly down from the pulpit to the book-board and Mrs Chundle will hear from then on.
But once when Mrs Chundle seated where the end of the sound-tube is fixed, Mrs Chundle seems to give the Curate trouble, “It was a fine frosty morning in early winter, and he had not got far with his sermon when he came conscious of a steam rising from the bell-mouth of the tube, obviously caused by Mrs Chundle’s breathing at the lower end. ” And the story goes on with the curate thinking of the breath of Mrs Chundle. “You will perceive that it naturally suggests three points for consideration- (“It’s not onions: its peppermint,” he said to himself)” Namely, mankind in its unregenerate state- (“And cider”)”.
And in ‘Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver’ each of the women are described more and more beautifully, as Tony Kytes is on his way back to the village, and he meets three of the women in which Tony Kytes is in love in, but “Tony” wants to marry three of them but they are all jealous of each other’s looks. At the end of the story two of the women leave “Tony” as they are no longer interested in Tony any more, except for Milly who stayed behind crying. “So there at last were left Milly and Tony By themselves, she crying in watery streams, and Tony looking like a tree struck by lightning.
In ‘The withered arm’ when “Gertrude” is very troubled with her arm, after weeks she tries to get to Casterbridge to touch a dead man’s neck without her husband knowing that she has been there. “Though access for such purpose had formerly been denied, the custom had fallen into desuetude; and in contemplating her possible difficulties, she was again almost driven to fall back upon her husband. ” This shows that “Gertrude” is afraid that “Farmer Lodge” will know what she has been doing in Casterbridge.
Men are very powerful they have the rights to do what they feel like and they can do anything with their wives, as they consider their wives to be part of their property. The situation is quite different in ‘Old Mrs Chundle’ the curate seems to be very kind and helpful in the ways of encouraging Mrs Chundle to go to church every Sunday morning, but because Mrs Chundle is Deaf she needs the Curates special help to listen in sermons, and that is when Mrs Chundle gives trouble to the new curate.
Although Mrs Chundle is trying to friendly and kind to the curate, as she offers dinner for the curate and doesn’t want any reward, she just causes more and more trouble or problems for the curate, but she has more wanted to go to the parish more often and wanted to see the curate every Sunday and to hear from him, but since the incident of Mrs Chundle’s bad breath has stopped the curates interest in Mrs Chundle and does not want to go to her house to see her and to talk to her. “Sure enough, the next Sunday the ordeal was repeated for him. In the evening he told his trouble to the rector. The rector chuckled. You’ve brought it upon yourself,” he said. “You don’t know this parish so well as I. You should have left the old women alone. ” This shows that men do mind when women are give men trouble, and women just don’t know what to do they are often seen stupid, clumsy and venerable, but they are loyal to their husbands not like “Farmer Lodge” in ‘The withered arm” when he abandons “Rhoda” with his son and marries a younger and more beautiful woman. Women in the short stories are more important then men, it is because women are always being mentioned and that they are more interesting to talk about then men.
Like in the three short stories when they often mention about the women more than the men. As I described in paragraph two when the women are described in detail and interestingly and the men are described normally, no physical description were mentioned in the three short stories. Without women I don’t think the three short stories are going to be as interesting as it should be. And the women also make the story more interesting, because men think that women are stupid and venerable, so like in “Old Mrs Chundle” Mrs Chundle is described very stupid and troublesome.
For example, the second time when the curate tries to help Mrs Chundle to hear in the service he inserts a fixed tube so that Mrs Chundle can hear. “The pipe’s chokt! ” came up in a whisper yet louder and hoarser. “Our discernment of actions as morally good or indifferent will be much quicken, we shall be materially helped in our-“Suddenly came a violent puff of warm wind, and he held his handkerchief rising from the bell of the tube and floating to the pulpit-floor. ”
The relationship between men and women are quite different, woman are loyal to their husbands and men tend to do right the opposite to their wives or lovers, like in ‘The withered arm’ when “Rhoda” is abandoned by “Farmer Lodge”, when “Rhoda” had a child of “Farmer Lodge”. But Rhoda is still in love with “Farmer Lodge”, when “Farmer Lodge” married to a younger and more dashing woman “Rhoda often compares herself to the new wife of “Farmer Lodge’s”. “, and she is jealous of the young wife married to her lover. They’ve just been saying down in barton that your father brings his young wife home from Anglebury to-morrow” says Rhoda. “I shall want to send you for a few things to market, and you’ll pretty sure to meet’em”. “Farmer Lodge” seems to ignore and never wanting to speak to “Rhoda” any more when she had his child, but “farmer Lodge” didn’t care about the mess he has done, his relationship has ended with “Rhoda” and he now marries “Gertrude” for his lawful wife and this shows that once women has a child, men don’t find them attractive any more and abandons them, and there are very little loyalty from the man to woman.
The attitude of men and women are very different from Hardy’s days and the days now, I think during those 163 years, we have become fairer then ever and as time travel past, the past time of what people are like, their attitudes and their relationship between women and men will be written down in stories like history books but a lot more interesting and fun to read, the three short stories have told us what are things like in the 1820’s and the life style of way men and women live their lives.
There are a lot of reasons why woman are considered stupid, one of the reasons is because they were not allowed to be educated and the second reason is because they can’t do fun activities like men does, etc.