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A Sons Veto

  • Date Submitted: 08/09/2013 01:19 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.3 
  • Words: 1309
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 The Son’s Veto
Sophy’s character is presented to us by concentrating on a number of telling moments in her life. The story reveals detail gradually in order to allow us to build up an impression of her. The narrator begins writing from the perspective of a man viewing the woman’s immaculate hair from behind. We hear the exchange of dialogue between son and mother in which the former rebukes the latter for her poor grammar ‘with an impatient fastidiousness that was almost harsh’. The boy’s sensitivity here will eventually lead to his veto over his mother’s wish to re-marry. The vignette of the public-school cricket match illustrates perhaps best of all the class consciousness at the heart of the story.

In brief:
The demise of rural England is best shown in the comparison between Gaymead (the name itself being telling) and London as shown at the end of the first chapter and in the second chapter in particular.   After the false rurality of the London park, the reader is transported back to the wide spaces and peace of rural life before the contrast with the dirt and enclosed nature of London (49.7) in a sequence of direct contrasts.   It is worth noting here Hardy’s use of the short sentence to drive home a point: “It was all on her account”.   Here the narrator seems both accusatory as well as explanatory. Indeed these short sentences might also suggest that the omniscient narrator is teling us precisely what Sophy is thinking.
Later the country comes to town in a sequence of brightly coloured carts in the small hours of the morning, each is however described as impregnable – “bastions… walls… howdahs” as if those living on the city can never enter the world of the country.

Women in society is a driving motif in much of Hardy’s writing –prose and poetry.   Here the focus is on Sophy for whom Hardy has great sympathy which shines through the whole piece form the opening.   Students should consider the ways in which Hardy generates sympathy in the opening...

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