Coldness and Selfishness of Male Characters in Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm" and Anton Chekhov's "A Misfortune"
Both of the stories have themes of selfishness and coldness. They appear in the roles of some characters of each story. Lubyantsev, the male character of The Misfortune, is similar to Mr. Lodge, the male character of The Withered Arm. Each of them appears as a selfish and cold man at the beginning.
The author does not introduce Mr. Lodge at the first act of the story directly. We know some things about him through the talk of "milkers, regular and supernumerary" which takes place in the dairy. The talk is about Mr. Lodges marriage from the young lady Gertrude. One of the milkmaids says that "he hasn't spoken to Rhoda Brooks for years." (p. 22). That indicates how cold he is to leave Rhoda, the woman he loved, for long years.
Mr. Lodge leaves her suffering alone with his son because he cares about his appearance and his reputation to society. And then, he marries Gertrude for her beauty and appearance, and that stimulates jealousy in Brooks.
Like Mr. Lodge, Andrey Lubyantsev doesn't appear at the beginning. We knows about him through Sofya's conversation with her lover and through her monologue. His coldness is noticeable in his behavior when he arrives home. Her wife makes for him a special meal, but he does not show appreciation or admiration kindly.
"They've just been saying down in barton that your father brings his young wife home from Anglebury to-morrow,' the woman observed. 'I shall want to send you for a few things to market, and you'll be pretty sure to meet 'em.''Yes, mother,' said the boy. 'Is father married then?" (p. 22). This dialogue occurs between Rhoda and her...