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Rhoda’s Diary The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy Essay

Entry 1: I don’t really want Farmer Lodge to marry another woman, quite obviously. He is my son’s father, and my son deserves better than not to have a father. I don’t love Farmer Lodge, quite the opposite actually. I did love him once, but not anymore, he has done too much damage to my life. But his marrying has reawakened some of my previous feelings, and as much as I hate to admit, I am a bit jealous of her. I want to know why he chose her. Is she pretty? Tall? What colour hair does she have? What colour eyes? Is she clever? And what does she do for a living? I have heard she is very young, about nineteen some say.

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Maybe he married a younger woman to have more children. But I suppose if the case was that he wanted more children, then surely he’d have married me. I don’t know what to think anymore. People have been saying I’d be upset by their marriage, but I’m not. I only feel bitter towards Farmer Lodge for what he did to me. But I don’t believe I should even feel that as he has given me a beautiful son. I sent my son earlier on to have a look at his new wife, he said she was very pretty. I think he was a bit taken by her, but thinking about it, he is at an age where he is taking more interest in women.

I only wish he would take interest in girls his own age. However, he also told me that she was a lady complete, not much like a girl of her age. “Her ways be quite a woman’s,” he said, “her hair is lightish, and her face as comely as a dolls. ” He also told me her eyes were blue and she has a red mouth and white teeth. Of course she looks better than I do. I asked him to go to the church the next day and tell me if she is tall, and if she has hands that have been worked, worn hands like mine. He came back and told me she was quite short, and her hands were covered with gloves. She seems to be a rich Farmer’s daughter.

Well, Lodge wouldn’t even think about marrying a pauper, I know that from experience. Entry 2: I had a dream only a few days ago. I saw a mad woman waving her hand in my face, showing me quite clearly her ringed finger. She was teasing me with her ring as if I were a cat and she a fly. I felt threatened, and she was coming closer. I was scared. She was laughing hysterically. I didn’t know what to do. She was so close. I could feel the vibration of her laughter as I shielded my eyes from her. Suddenly, I felt angry. Without thinking I grabbed her arm and hurled her backwards into the wall.

It was then that I realised who she was. Gertrude Lodge. I awoke drenched in cold sweat as the clock struck two. Panicking I looked around. I saw no one. I got up and had a look outside on the hill. Nobody was there. I went back to bed. It was just a dream, a nightmare; they come and go all the time. I’d have seen Gertrude if she really did come to my home; after all, nobody can disappear over a hill that steep so quickly. Some time later, Gertrude came to our house. She was exactly as my son had described her. She had bought some new boots for him, as if I don’t do enough for him.

I was thinking about my dream when he was trying on his boots. The boy had said he’d heard a noise from my bed that night, but had just ignored it as he thought I’d fallen out of my bed. However, this Gertrude was a civilised, kind, caring person, not mentioning considerate. She didn’t seem to have the resentment and mad gleam in her eye. As she departed, I said to her, “I hope you will find this air will agree with you, ma’am, and not suffer from the damp water mead’s. ” “Though now you remind me,” she replied, “I have one little ailment, which puzzles me.

It is nothing serious, but I cannot make it out. ” And she uncovered her wound. I stared aghast. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have anything to say. It was then that I felt the first twinges of realisation that maybe the gossip was true. Maybe I was witch. I had laughed off the thought, but I was jealous of Gertrude. “How did it happen? ” I said almost inaudibly after I’d recovered from the shock. She couldn’t tell how it happened, she didn’t seem too concerned about it, and thought it would go away in a few weeks. She playfully blamed it on her husband. Then she told me on which night it came, A fortnight ago on the morrow,” she said, “when I awoke I could not remember where I was till the clock striking two reminded me.

” I thought then, and it couldn’t be coincidence because in the dream I remember feeling her arm when I grabbed it. I feel so guilty. Maybe I have magical powers that I use against my will. How else could she have been struck? It was against my will to hurt her in any way, and Gertrude is such a nice, kind person; I don’t want her to find out about what I’ve done to her arm. I do so truly and sincerely hope that it will soon heal. Such an innocent, perfect girl, and I’ve spoiled her appearance.

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The arm was hideous; four unhealthy finger marks lay on the pale pink surface of her left arm. Guilt pangs shot up me spine as I stared, horrified. I have had much practice in concealing my many emotions, but I don’t believe I did this time. However, I think she really was very concerned about the worrying marks on her arm for her notice. I can’t stop thinking about the horrible deed I have done, and nobody deserves this kind of humiliating pain. Gertrude came to my home for the third time yesterday afternoon. She told me she had heard of a conjurer, Conjurer Trendle, a man I know, not very well as he lives far off.

She asked me to come with her and show the place at which he lives. I disagreed. His place was five miles away! Yet she pleaded. I thought about her arm and what good it would do if she was to be cured. And I thought if I was to be found out by her, I’d lose the first true friend I’ve had in many, many years. But if I were to be a true friend to her, then it would surely be better for me to show her where he lives. I decided it would be better to save her arm and lose a friend than not to take her and she is unhappy for the rest of her life. No, that would be wrong. I agreed to go with her.

Entry 3: The night disappeared, I don’t know where it went. All I can remember is dreading the next day, hoping more than anything it wouldn’t come, or Gertrude would forget. Yet another bad day stands unwanted, yet unforgettably on my shoulder. How to express my feelings, even I don’t know. But I should let the story of my day out anyway; maybe then I can find a way to get over my guilt. We met where we had arranged and hardly spoke as we immediately set out to climb into the interior of this solemn country, which stood high above the rich alluvial soil we had left in Holmstoke.

It was a long walk and no doubt Gertrude was tired. But I had warned her the walk was long. She talked most of the way. But all that time we talked, all I would feel was an uneasiness of agonising guilt. It wasn’t just for a short period of time, but every time any one of us talked. We soon reached Conjuror Trendle’s house; it was good to see him again, because after all, he had helped me in my hour of need long ago. He obviously looked very much older than when I had last seen him, and worn out. I was asked to step outside so he could show who gave the finger marks.

As I walked towards the door, he said, “Medicine can’t cure it, ’tis the work of an enemy. ” I didn’t want to see anything that was going on inside. But my insides were churning and as the conjurer closed the door behind me, I saw it was left slightly ajar. I was shocked by my own curiosity to see how she would react. I went closer to the door, but stood at an angle so Gertrude wouldn’t see me. I saw the conjurer take the white of an egg and pour it into a glass of water. He then told Gertrude to look closely inside. She stared intently for a few minutes and suddenly stood up and backed away.

That was when, I think, she saw my face in the glass. Her mood had changed when she walked back out. She certainly looked paler and maybe a bit frightened. We walked back to Holmstoke in silence. I felt a sense of triumph that she had found me out. It was out in the open, I felt relief that I didn’t have to keep it inside me any longer. Maybe now she will find a cure for her wounded arm and she will happily live with Farmer Lodge. But I also felt sad that I had lost a dear friend. A long list of ‘if only’ is written in my mind, maybe my life wouldn’t be so hard and miserable.

But what has been done is in the past and what future do I have to look forward to? I will just think of the present so I won’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I have now decided that with all the gossip going around about me being a witch, I will have to move out of Holmstoke, further out into the country, near a town called Casterbridge. I have found a landlord who is willing to let me rent it out. I have also found a new job at the local dairy and I hope I will be happier there than I was at Holmstoke. I am looking forward to moving; I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before.

Entry 4: I have to go and see Farmer Lodge. My son has been suspected of setting fire to a building. Obviously he wouldn’t do such a thing. He is sometimes a bit badly behaved, but this sort of thing has probably never even crossed his mind. I have just been to see Farmer Lodge. He was surprisingly happy to see me. I told him about our son very bluntly and about how he is going to be executed. I was relieved that he would come to Casterbury with me to the trial, and he would find a good lawyer to defend our son. He would make an excuse of going on a business trip to Gertrude.

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I don’t believe their marriage is going too well and Gertrude apparently hasn’t been able to have any children, that was probably why he was pleased to see me, and why he was so eager for my son to win his trial. I have just been to the trial. I wasn’t much of a trial. The lawyer defended his case, and in the end there were many people cheering for him. Many people know my son is innocent. But in the end it was the judge’s decision to execute my son. How dare he play the role of god and decide whether or not a man should die! I am absolutely distraught and totally drained. We haven’t a hope in the world. Who’s going to help us now?

It’s too late. I think they know he’s innocent, but there have been so many suspicious arson attacks in the area that the judge wanted to show the consequences so people get scared to do such things. But I don’t think they will understand. I went to see the executor with Mr Lodge, and he said that we’d be able to have the body for burial and to come and take it straight after the execution. He also said that they always waited for the morning post in case there is a reprieve of the execution. I do hope very much that there is a reprieve, I cannot bear to see my very own son die, he’s the only friend and family I’ve got.

He is so frightened about the execution. I think he is trying to be brave, however, last night, he was crying and he asked me how I was going to cope without him. I couldn’t answer him that. He told me he wished he’d never been there at the time of the arson attack, he was only curious to see what was going on. The execution has taken place and I wish not to talk about it. As we went to see his dead body, I saw a women put her arm on my son’s neck. At first, I was shocked; horrified by anybody who would want to do such a thing. Then I saw who it was and a huge wave of anger rushed through my body like ice. I stared for a moment, speechless.

Then I think farmer lodge realised who it was and called, “Damn you! ” I couldn’t control my rage then and suddenly I saw the Gertrude I had seen so many years ago in that dream. I, once again, took her arm and slammed her into the wall with all my might. I was extremely upset. I had my eyes closed and I was weeping. I heard nothing, so I look up and saw that she lying unconscious on the cold stone floor. Within a few days, I heard that Gertrude had died. She had been trying to turn her blood, but it had turned too far. Maybe she was also a witch; she might have cursed the judge into convicting my son guilty.

I don’t feel anything knowing she is dead. I’m not happy because in the end she turned out to be a horrible person. But nor am I sad because she was once a good friend. I have now had enough pain and anguish to last me a lifetime. I don’t think my situation can get any worse. Farmer Lodge is leaving Holmstoke and has sold all his property. He sent a message for me to go and live in my old home in Holmstoke. I will be working at the same old dairy where I suppose I will work for the rest of my life. I have heard rumours that Farmer Lodge has died of a heart attack. I don’t believe such a thing he was only forty-six.

He probably took some drugs. I don’t feel upset about his death, but I’m not happy about it because he turned out to be a good person in the end and even after everything he did to me, I still forgive him. But I will never be able to forget what he did to me. It will always be there at the back of my mind. Unlike me, Farmer Lodge got nothing out of life, he had a wife, but love only lasted a few months. He had a son who he didn’t want, but he never got a son that he wanted who could inherit his fortune. I had a beautiful son to look after, he was the only thing that kept me going, but now I have nothing.

I miss my son so terribly, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing I can do to bring him back. Not a moment goes by where I don’t think of my son and what he could have been. I often think of what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been pregnant. Would Farmer Lodge have married me? Maybe, maybe not, nobody will ever know. I don’t know what I’m going to do now with my life. I suppose it will revolve around home and work, but I will never be able to improve my life. It will always stay the same, and each day will be the same as the last, nothing will get better, nothing will change.

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Rhoda's Diary The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy Essay
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Entry 1: I don't really want Farmer Lodge to marry another woman, quite obviously. He is my son's father, and my son deserves better than not to have a father. I don't love Farmer Lodge, quite the opposite actually. I did love him once, but not anymore, he has done too much damage to my life. But his marrying has reawakened some of my previous feelings, and as much as I hate to admit, I am a bit jealous of her. I want to know why he chose her. Is she pretty? Tall? What colour hair does she have?
2021-02-12 08:51:40
Rhoda's Diary The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy Essay
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