The withered arm Essay
The withered arm
In Tony Kytes, Tony comes across as a bit of a player. This is because he asks all three women, all of which have had connections with Tony, to marry him, even though he is engaged to one of them; Milly Richards. Tony’s attitude to marriage could be that it’s not really that important to the men of the 19th century, and that getting married is just to say that they are married. This is suggested when Tony is rejected by Hannah Jolliver and Unity Sallet, but Milly accepts again, just for the ability to say that he is married.
However, the women’s attitude to marriage was mainly that they had to get married for the social status. This is shown well through Milly’s acceptance to Tony. When Tony asks Milly, she replies with ‘If you like, Tony’ illustrating how she’s not very keen on marrying him after what just happened, but will anyway because she wants to be married. Unity Sallet comes across as an independent woman, which can be mirrored in today’s times. She says ‘take her leavings? Not I!
‘, meaning that she doesn’t want to marry someone that was rejected not one minute ago. Because she walks away from Tony, this can symbolise her independence because it shows how she doesn’t always need a man there in her life. This links to nowadays because some women never marry in their whole lives, because they believe they don’t need a man in it. In The Withered Arm, Farmer Lodge’s attitude to marriage is that marriage is for having children and carrying on the family name.
Proof of this is after Gertrude’s change from beauty queen to ugly duckling as Hardy describes Farmer Lodge’s realisation: ‘she had brought him no child, which rendered it likely that he would be the last of a family who had occupied that valley for some two hundred years’. This shows my point because it illustrates how he knows that he’s it, that he’s the end of the line for the Lodge name, and how he isn’t very pleased that his wife hasn’t given him a child. Farmer Lodge also bases marriage on appearance.
This is implied through ‘beauty was contorted and disfigured’ because it shows how he has fallen out of love with Gertrude ever since her arm had the curse bestowed upon it. Gertrude’s attitude to marriage is very much the same of that to Milly’s in the Tony Kytes. This is because both Gertrude and Milly wanted to be married for the social status. From both characters, it’s subtle that they only want to be married for the status, but if you look close enough you can find it.
Milly says ‘if you want, Tony’ as though she only wants to marry him for the status and Gertrude says ‘that lad stared at me!’, also comes across as though she is happy with the attention she gets from her new marriage. Both stories have varying attitudes to marriage, but they link together sometimes. For example, Gertrude and Milly’s attitude to marriage is the same. Both stories’ attitudes link with today’s attitudes to marriage because Unity’s character doesn’t really need a man so don’t need to be married, and neither do plenty of woman in this time, and many men don’t see marriage as a big deal, which is like Tony’s attitude to marriage.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 30 September 2017