” When she finally gets her own way, using money that her husband had been saving for something of his own interest, he lets Mathilde buy a fancy dress. You would think after all that she would be extremely ecstatic about this party, but Mathilde still isn’t happy, “As the day of the ball drew nearer, Madame Loisel still seemed downcast and anxious, although her new dress was ready. ” She still cares for more, ‘I haven’t got a single piece of jewellery; not one stone to wear. It would almost be better not to go to this party at all.
” But once again she gets her own way and her husband suggests that she should borrow something from that friend, Madame Jeanne Forestier. She complains about that too, but in the end up she finally agrees. When she’s at her friends she is picky and takes ages to make up her mind as to what she wants. She then selects out the most _____ jewel necklace that she can find and she achieves her dream, being the center of attention and the _____ of the ball. After attending the Ministry of Education’s party, Mathilde finds out that she has lost the necklace.
Instead of her going to find the necklace, she leaves it all up to her husband. She’s so dramatic and sits at home feeling sorry for herself while her husband is the practical one, using his head to try to find the necklace. “He went out. Still in her evening dress, she sank in a chair, her mind and body numb with shock. Her husband returned at about seven o’clock in the morning. He had found nothing. ” In the first part of the story the author’s feeling towards Mathilde is very negative and there is a lot of criticism.
However, in the second part of the story everything changes. His opinion of her becomes more positive. She worked ten years of her life getting the money to pay back the debt of the necklace; she has lost everything, her house, her clothes and most of all her looks. She learnt how easy it was to go down the social ladder, when it was everything to her to be going up it. However she’s transformed into a proud woman, who cares more about the things that are important in life rather than her appearance.
After she’s paid off her debt, she meets her friend; her friend doesn’t even recognize her. She’s a proper working class woman now who looks far older than what she really is, because she has had a hard life. She walks straight up to Madame Jeanne Forestier and is proud of what she’s done, “She smiled with simple pride and joy. ” This shows that Maupassant has respect for working class woman more than the spoilt middle classes who are selfish and only care about themselves. The withered arm is a story set in 1826.
From the beginning you can see were Thomas Hardy has sympathy for the working class woman, where he doesn’t say anything criticizing and negative against her comparing to what he said about Mathilde in the other story. Gertrude Lodge and Rhoda Brooks are the main characters in “The Withered Arm” playing two different roles, Gertrude being from a higher class and Rhoda from a lower class. The story is about Rhoda Brooks having an affair with Farmer Lodge and having an illegitimate son.
This story really shows a lot of difference between the two classes because in them days if you had a child without being married you would be frowned upon, but nobody seemed to frown upon Farmer Lodge as he was from an upper class family and owned a farm. On the second page the author is making us feel sorry for Rhoda the way all the other maids are talking about her, “Tis hard for she. ” He describes her as, “The radiance lit her pale cheek, and made her dark eyes, that had once been handsome, seem handsome anew. ” This is indicating that she once was beautiful but threw the years she has changed.
Rhoda is a woman of pride and she never once let Lodge know she was interested in his new wife; she liked to keep herself to herself. She is just curious of the father of her child’s new wife is, after all she always thought in the back of her mind there might be a bit of hope, if not for her then for her son to inherit something. The way Thomas Hardy believed “that woman were ruled by their heads not their hearts. ” This ties in very well with Rhoda as she fell for Famer Lodge, if she had a great amount of common since she would of knew nothing serious would of ever happened with Lodge because of their social class.
If you think about it, it was Farmer Lodges fault that Rhoda ended up living a harsh life and now is “a thin fading woman of thirty. ” Gertrude is a kind woman who is willing to help others no matter what class they are from. “Are you the poor boy who had to bring the heavy load from the market? ” She asked Rhoda’s son, this shows that she cares and is willing to listen. “Il come and bring you some better boots and see your mother. ” Rhoda wants to dislike Gertrude but she can’t help to like her. “Rhoda’s heart reproached her bitterly.
This innocent young thing should have her blessing and not her curse. ” One night Rhoda had a dream about Gertrude taunting and teasing her, saying things like she’s the one who won Farmer Lodge and waving her wedding ring in her face. “The pressure of Mrs. Lodge’s person grew heavier; the blue eyes peered cruelly into her face; and then the figure thrust its left hand mockingly, so as to make the wedding ring it wore glitter in Rhoda’s eyes. ” “Gasping for breath” Rhoda then lashes out and grabs the right arm in which she thought had been distorted.
When the two woman meet for the first time Rhoda feels guilty as she feel the distortion on Gertrude’s arm is in fact her fault, but she also feels a bit of happiness at the same time because Gertrude isn’t perfect the way she was. When the arm starts to get worse Gertrude gets paranoid and thinks Farmer Lodge finds her less attractive and becomes obsessed, she will do absolutely anything to get rid of this curse. “It makes my husband dislike no, love me less”. She is willing to do anything to cure herself; she then goes to a Conjuror which she would never have even thought of, despite the fact that she’s desperate.
During the time of this story Thomas Hardy got his inspiration to write The Withered Arm as he knew of an old women, who in her youth cured of wasting disease by going to a convict’s corpse to have her “blood turned” like Gertrude Lodge did to have her arm cured. Conjuror Trundle that recommended the cure to Gertrude was also similar to a man in Hardy’s past, which he never met but heard of through his mother’s stories. Out of both stories and authors, I would prefer The Withered Arm, it’s got a better twist and I parts of the two woman characters.