Thomas Hardy and his use of language in the portrayal of women in 'A Mere Interlude'

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  • Thomas Hardy and his use of language in the portrayal of women in 'A Mere Interlude'
    • Positive Portrayal
      • The author suggests Baptista is a strong-willed woman in several intervals of the story, "though for once he gave way
    • Negative Portrayal
      • We can see her as a very weakly willed woman throughout the story as she is very easily manipulated. There is evidence of this through his choice of language, "Then we shall do as I say" Mr. Stow and "She passively allowed circumstances to pilot her along"
      • "Monosyllabic remarks" imply she has a dull and boring personality
    • The author compares her age throughout the story, through the use of words "youthful" and "girl" compared to "widow"
      • This could be in an attempt to mock the expectations of the time the story was wrote
      • However it could also be used to show her growing of age through marriage when he calls Baptista a widow, shortly after Mr. Stows death
    • He uses language to suggest obedience as a woman to others, as well as her naivety and ability to be easily influenced as a woman.
      • We can see her as a very weakly willed woman throughout the story as she is very easily manipulated. There is evidence of this through his choice of language, "Then we shall do as I say" Mr. Stow and "She passively allowed circumstances to pilot her along"
  • "The colours and tones which changing events paint on the faces of woman kind were looked for in vain upon hers" This sentence offers the first compliment for the main character. This also hints that the qualities within the young woman are envied
    • Thomas also suggests, alongside her envied qualities she has a bland and subdued personality "There was nothing in her to love, and nothing to hate."
      • Negative Portrayal
        • "Monosyllabic remarks" imply she has a dull and boring personality
    • Positive Portrayal
      • The author suggests Baptista is a strong-willed woman in several intervals of the story, "though for once he gave way
  • In calling her miss when referencing her conversations he shows his respect for women and her formality
    • It also suggests her high self opinion
      • In calling her miss when referencing her conversations he shows his respect for women and her formality
      • He suggests the opinions of women's behaviors are more chore-like as opposed to enjoyable, for example, the words "deed", "departure" and "inconvenient" argue a more formal and cold approach to her life
        • However it could be argued that the author is attempting to go against expectations in the events following her swift marriage to Mr. Stow in words such as "lover" and "ceremony"
      • However it could be argued that the author is attempting to go against expectations in the events following her swift marriage to Mr. Stow in words such as "lover" and "ceremony"
      • This could be in an attempt to mock the expectations of the time the story was wrote
      • However it could also be used to show her growing of age through marriage when he calls Baptista a widow, shortly after Mr. Stows death
      • He uses language to suggest obedience as a woman to others, as well as her naivety and ability to be easily influenced as a woman.
        • He talks about the obedience of women throughout the piece by a repetitive use of the word, and the more subtle lack of individual will she shows
          • Hardy suggests men merely sought to provide affection for women in order to wed them. "To show the depth of his affection without the inconvenience of syntax"
            • Thomas Hardy and his use of language in the portrayal of women in 'A Mere Interlude'
              • The author compares her age throughout the story, through the use of words "youthful" and "girl" compared to "widow"
            • Hardy's choice in wedding clothes also implies she has a bland personality. "...married in her ordinary summer bonnet and grey silk frock."
              • Baptista seems very reliant on others. Hardy writes "Baptista did not much like the idea of being left alone" and through his consistent reference to her passive behavior, suggests the is not very self reliant towards her marriages.

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