Compare how characters in T.Hardy's "The Withered Arm" and J. Steinbeck's "of Mice & Men" are isolated and alienated.

Essay by parvA-, January 2003

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A south-east England setting, in the 1800's, is the short story, 'The Withered Arm' by T.Hardy. This story involves four lives, where they all end up alienated and isolated, leaving them feeling alone. They are also isolated as they live in a small village far apart from the town or other villages called Holmstoke. It also involves the role of jealousy and at times guilt, played by one of the main characters, Rhoda Brook. The theme is involved around the realm of supernatural and witchcraft and the sight of evilness. Friendship, a theme for this story and also a dream for Rhoda and Gertrude. Religion was also a main issue, especially for the women. Everyone would go to church, meaning they didn't believe in sex before marriage, where the most unfortunate had happened to Rhoda Brook, as she became pregnant and gave birth to her son, who was left with no father who betrayed them both.

The time in which this was set was the time of poverty and loneliness for most people, but you also had the wealthiest people who were above the rest, who at first had respect from everyone beneath them, in this case, Farmer Lodge. Reputation was quite important to most people back in the 1800s, as it could change their life in a way that people would begin to judge them because of their past experiences or because of the path they had chosen to take in their life. T.Hardy shows this by provoking Rhoda's life due to her past behaviour. Gertude's reputation had transformed from nothing into a respectable woman of the 1800s, as she married Farmer Lodge, which back then was most common for a younger women marrying a older man. Betrayal, another form of excessive self-indulgence and carelessness, is the part...