Thomas Hardy’s story “The Son’s Veto” opens by describing a decently attractive woman sitting in a wheelchair at a local outdoor concert in a suburb of London. She is accompanied by her young son, who apparently has just become a teenager. He is dressed in the uniform of a “public” (that is, private and prestigious) English school. As the boy pushes his mother home from the concert, she alludes, using poor grammar, to the illness of her husband, the boy’s father. The boy impatiently corrects his mother’s speech and she responds meekly. Perhaps she was thinking back on her...
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