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The two stories resemble each other with the idea they communicate with the reader, that people should respect the supernatural. In the Withered Arm, Thomas Hardy develops why we should fear and respect the supernatural by showing that by mocking Gertrude about her medicines and counter curses, Farmer Lodge ended up with a dead son and a dead wife. He also ended up selling all his land because he could not endure staying in the village with everyone gossiping about him. Also by keeping the tempo of the story fast and building up to all the supernatural events keeps us tense.
In the Monkey’s Paw, Sergeant Major Morris warns the White family about the consequences of the wishes the paw grants. However the White family do not take heed of the warning and take advantage of the paw and in doing so, they end up with their son dead, Mrs. White acting senselessly to try and bring back her son and Mr. White having to wish his son back to the grave. The author is trying to tell us that if you do not respect the supernatural and take advantage of it, you will feel its wrath. The two stories are alike in other ways. Both stories involve young innocent people suffering.
In the Monkey’s Paw Herbert died for his family’s foolishness. Whilst in the Withered Arm it was Rhoda’s and Farmer Lodge’s son that was innocently sent to the gallows. Another similarity is that people that were selfish earlier on in the stories are punished in the end. Mr. White is self-seeking at the start of the Monkey’s Paw and does not take Sergeant Major Morris’ advice and his son dies as a result. In the Withered Arm Farmer Lodge is punished for his negligence shown to his son and his failure to accept the responsibility for his son. The consequence for this is the eventual hanging of his only son.
Also both stories have ironic twists. In the Monkey’s Paw the family wishes for two hundred pounds and after the money doesn’t appear straight away, Herbert says “Well I don’t see the money, and I bet I never shall. ” The wish eventually does come true and the money is handed over to the family but only as an insurance payout for Herbert’s death at the factory. So the irony is that Herbert will never actually see the money. In the Withered Arm the ironic twist is that when Gertrude was waiting for a hanging she got so desperate that she used to pray for a hanging “O Lord, hang some guilty or innocent person soon!
” It turned out her prayers were answered but the man seen to be in the wrong turned out to be Farmer Lodges’ and Rhoda Brooks’ son but it seemed the boy was wrongfully charged with arson. At the hanging, Farmer Lodge and Rhoda were present in the crowd and once Gertrude had realized the hung man must be their son, she entered a sense of shock. This proved too much for her and she died. The irony is that she prayed for a man to be hung, so that she could cure herself but the man in the end was her husband’s son and this did the opposite of curing her and the shock of it all ended her life.
In conclusion, the writers use the supernatural to show the reader that if you ridicule the supernatural, it will backfire on you and you will feel the consequences greatly. Also they try and make you scared of the supernatural by making the paranormal events happen to normal people. Meaning it could have been you instead.