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Coldness And Selfishness Of Male Characters In Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm" And Anton Chekhov's "A Misfortune"

1104 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

That means that she still respects him and reminds his son of him. The son's answer refers to his innocence. It seems he's not annoyed. And all of that emphasizing how cold and selfish Mr. Lodge is to pay attention to society and to his appearance more than to his love and his son, the innocent child who came to a miserable life because of him. Then, his coldness and selfishness appear again with Gertrude. He Marries Gertrude for her "grace and beauty". At first, he cares about her. Then, after some years, his love to her increases when her beauty fades due to the harm of her arm. And because she doesn't bring him a child, he thinks of Rhoda and her son. He thinks that what happens with him is a judgment from God. "You want somebody to cheer you," he observed. "I once thought of adopting a boy; but he is too old now. And he is gone away I don't know where." (p. 30). Here, it seems that he cares about her feeling and tries to be kind with her although he is not attracted to her anymore.Mr. Lodge at the end of The Withered Arm is changed to better. After losing his son and his young wife, he becomes depressed and feels " remorse". I think that's because he realizes that he is the reason beyond the whole misery that happened to them. The curse that hits his young wife has came as a result of jealousy he has stimulated in Rhoda. And then Rhoda and their son leave their cottage. After that, he loses his child, then his "poor young wife". Sorrow and "remorse" change his way of thinking. He becomes " a chastened and thoughtful man". "It was found then that he had bequeathed the whole of his not inconsiderable property to a reformatory for boys, subject to the payment of a small annuity to Rhoda Brook, if she could be found to claim it." (p. 36)....

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