Social Influences on the Female in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (Dissertation Chapter Sample)

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Words: 508 Pages: 2
  • Published: 25 April 2021
  • Copied: 151

Part of this dissertation discusses Hardy's views on women, which many argue has two perspectives, one that women favor and the other that men favor. It also explores how utilizes his female characters to push his critical views of his time. His female characters, often more dimensional and complex than other male authors of his time, faced struggles other than just love and marriage. Through the premise of these “acceptable” struggles, he also reveals about their class, financial, and power struggles. This source will provide greater detail on the historical views of women at the time as well as how others, modern and of his time,  perceive his female characters.

Although the whole book explores British marriages from 1600 to the present, Part II of the book specifically discusses the change of marriage during the Age Agrarian and Industrial Revolution. Giles discusses all the ways the Industrial Revolution influenced courtship, especially since more men and women now work together. Also, due to the early financial independence from their parents, many could marry even earlier than before. Marriage and courtship had become less strict, which in turn causes more illegitimate children, sexual intercourse before marriage, etc. The history behind the shift of Victorian marriages may explain Hardy’s disdain for it.

It is likely that “Part IV The Historical and Cultural Context” (pg. 165-446) will be used for research, specifically the “Education and Social Class” and “Marriage” sections. The first section touches on the purpose of education around the industrial age and its effects. For instance, one perspective stated that the education system was designed to train leaders and followers into their distinct classes. His story, “On the Western Circuit,” subtly comments on class through the two main female characters, one raised in a poorer household and another married rich and literate. The concept of class often influences the culture around Victorian marriages. The “Marriage” section provides information on one of the more obvious themes of the story. This section offers Hardy’s views on Victorian marriage, which were often critical. The sections will be utilized to explain Hardy’s disdain for marriage and why he writes about its flaws, which then descends to his critique of Victorian society. .

Plotz’s article provides a more literary perspective to Hardy’s views. He analyzes Hardy’s use of metaphors to reveal Hardy’s distrust of the changing society such as modern inventions and modern lines of thinking. Throughout the article, Plotz discusses the main metaphor of Hardy’s “On the Western Circuit'': the steam-powered merry-go-rounds. They represent the encroaching industrial cloud onto the countryside as well as a visual representation of the love triangle in the story. Overall, this article delves deeper into the literary analysis of the story, which the literary presentation will emphasize.

The dissertation investigates the performative nature of Victorian weddings from major Victorian authors like the Bronte sisters and the target author of the literary presentation, Thomas Hardy. Although marriages and weddings are often seen in Victorian novels, they often lack anybody or emotional complexity in the actual celebration. Instead, they are used to conclude one part of the story. The theatrical tendencies of Victorian weddings allow for deeper insight into more serious conflicts such as human suffering and confusion. This source introduces other authors that had similar mindsets to Hardy, supporting a collective and shifting beliefs of such as tumultuous time.

 

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