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Comparison Between A Pre-20th Century Text & A 20th Century Text Essay, Research Paper

For this Essay I have to compare a pre 20th

century text with a 20th century text. Both the texts must be short

stories. The two pieces of text that I have chosen for this comparison are The

Withered Arm, which is a pre-20th century text written by Thomas Hardy &

The Genius a 20th century text written by Frank O’Connor. I have chosen these

stories as they fit the category of which I have to write about.In the Withered arm the main Characters are, Rhoda Brook

(Farmer Lodges ex partner), Farmer Lodge, Gertrude (Farmer Lodges new partner)

and Farmer Lodges and Rhoda Brooks son.The first thing I would like to compare is the theme of

both The Withered arm and The Genius. The themes of the Withered arm are

Jealousy, superstition and Love. The theme of?

jealousy in the story is shown by Rhoda Brook. She is very jealous after

her past relationship with Farmer Lodge failed and Farmer lodge has moved

on.? However there is a complication,

Farmer lodge had a son who Rhoda had to look after. Gertrude, farmer lodge?s

fiansey became concerned about Rhodas and Farmer lodges son when she saw him

whilst coming back from Anglbury. She outlined him as a ‘poor boy’ and felt sorry

for him and bought him a pair of boots. The Villagers were aware of the affair

between Rhoda and Farmer Lodge, not until speculated about the goings on of it.

Farmer Lodge pretended to Gertrude not to know his son.The jealousy in The Genius is completely different from

The Withered Arm as the jealousy is set around different subjects. The boy in

the story, Larry, is jealous of people that are older than him. This is mainly

due to the fact that he ise very clever and knows so. This makes him want to

socialise with people who are older than him because he thinks that people of

his age are much to childish. One of the reasons for him becoming jealous, I

think is because if he had been brought up in a poorer family then the language

used around the house would be of a lower standard and he would be much more

like poeple of his age. Larry is very jealous of people that know more about

things than him. For example, when he asks his mother about how babies are

made, she tells him a childish story and he believes it. When he talks to older

people about it, they laugh at the silly story that his mother told him. He is

annoyed about the fact that people think that he is too young to know the real

story while he thinks that he should know. This leads him towards anger and

deep jealousy. So the jealousy domonstrted in The Withered Arm and The

Genius are completely different because the types of jealousy are nowhere near

the same. Though the emotions that are felt by the characters are the same, the

way in which they are felt are different. Larry out of The Genius feels as

though he is being treated like a child while Rhoda Brook feels as though she

is unimportant and is being totally ignored by Farmer Lodge. Anger stems from

the jealousy in both cases but is felt in completely different ways. Rhoda is

jealous of Gertrude as she is so young and beautiful and any hope of Rhoda ever

getting back together with Farmer Lodge dissapeared when she arrived.In the end of The Genius, Larry realises that there is

nothing to be jealous about because he will learn what he needs to know in good

time.The theme of love is involved in both the stories, but

more so in The Withered Arm. As stated in the start of The Withered Arm, Rhoda

had an affair with Farmer Lodge in which it is not clear whether there was

actually love involved. When Farmer Lodge married Gertrude there is doubt that

love is involved because Gertrude may have married Farmer Lodge for his money

and Farmer Lodge might have married Gertrude for her looks. Another kind of love

in the story is that Rhoda oves her son. This is a different kind of love,

family love. In The Genius, Larry falls in love with an older girl,

but he may have just thought that it was love and was not sure. The comparison

between the two stories are not much different because the same kind of love is

felt in both.Superstition plays a big part in The Withered Arm

because when Gertrudes arm becomes ill, she seeks advice from Conjuror Trendle

and tries all sorts of herbal remedies. In the end she seeks the neck of a dead

man and dies because of Witchcraft. Basically, the story is set around

superstition. Rhoda is believed by the locals to be a witch. Compared to The Withered Arm, superstition plays little

or no part in The Genius. There are no examples of superstion in this story at

all.The plot of the two stories are quite different. The

Withered Arm is kind of a superstitious drama and The Genius is a story with a

lesson in it. The Withered Arm relies on superstition and beliefs of that age.

The basic plot of The Withered Arm is that Rhoda has had an affair with Farmer

Lodge. The affair ended quite a long time ago and now Farmer Lodge has married

a young woman called Gertrude. Rhoda and Farmer Lodge have a son which they

keep a secret to protect the details of their relationship. During th night,

Rhoda has a realistic nightmare hat Gertrude is in her bedroom. She throws her

off the bed and later discovers that Gertrudes arm is badly injured. Rhoda

knows that she has caused the injury but is too scared to admit it. Over a

period of years, Gertrudes arm gets worse and she seeks witchcraft as a

remedie. She has to visit a freshly hung body and touch the neck of the body

with her arm. When she goes to touch the neck, Rhoda and Farmer Lodge appear as

it is their son who is being hanged. Gertrudes blood has been turned too much

and she dies. The

plot of The Genius is not very big as nothing much happens compared to The

Withered Arm. It is about a boy who is a genius and wants to beocme more like

an adult. He starts asking questions about adult subjects and meets an older

girl. They become good friends and when they start talking about more

complicated subjects, Larry does not know much about them and embarrasses

himself. The girl leaves him and goes off with an older boy. Larry is left to

feel jealous but then he realises that in good time he will learn about things

that they talk about.The plots are very different as The Withered Arm is

based on things like Witchcraft and drama, The Genius is more light hearted and

in a way quite funny.In both the stories there are quite a few characters but

only about three main ones. In The Withered Arm there are four main characters,

Rhoda Brook, Gertrude and Farmer Lodge and Rhoda and Farmer Lodges son. Out of

the main four Gertrude and Rhoda are involved the most. The main characters

weave the story into the path it takes. The main characters of The Genius are

Larry, Una Dwyer and Larries mum. Una is very important to the story because

she leads Larry into thinking that he is and adult and he starts acting like

one.The languages, being a century apart are bound to be

different and are. The Withered Arm has many words that are not used in todays

conversations and in fact most of the sentences. An expample of the difference

is when the writer writes numbers he would say six and twenty instead of twenty

six. The language in The Genius is much more modern though it still has a few

words that are not as common as they used to be.The Withered Arm is related to life in the times of which

it is set. This is demonstrated by the kind of communication that they used in

the olden days. The story relates to the culture of Witchcraft as being a

common feature in almost everyday life. The Genius

relates to people who think that they are misread by people and fell that they

ought to be treat differently.

38d


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