What is the theme of "love" about "The Son's Veto" by Thomas Hardy?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of love is rather a bitter one in "The Son's Veto." Sophy and Sam Hobson love each other when they are young (we know she is nineteen). Yet Sophy's sense of good breeding and propriety prevents Sam from successfully professing his love for her on his ill-chosen night on which Mrs. Twycott died. Later, after Sam does successfully win an engagement from Sophy, they quarrel, which leads to her staying on with Vicar Twycott, permanently injuring her ankle, and marrying Twycott.

A day or two after she said: 'I don't want to leave just yet, sir, if you don't wish it. Sam and I have quarrelled.'

He looked up at her. ... he had been frequently conscious of her soft presence in the room. What a kitten-like, flexuous, tender creature she was! ... What should he do if Sophy were gone?

It is Twycott's love and care for Sophy that ironically lead to her humiliation and to her long years of suffering under the conditions of her son's veto of  (i.e., rejection of) her marriage to Sam after Twycott's death left her a widow. It seems Twycott's love for Sophy had a weak spot that prevented him from teaching his gentleman-to-be son Randolph to love and respect his mother, regardless of her inelegant country upbringing. It is this weakness in his love that caused Sophy her humiliation that resulted in being seen as inadequate and inferior in the eyes of her son.

"_Has_, dear mother--not _have_!" exclaimed the public-school boy, with an impatient fastidiousness that was almost harsh. "Surely you know that by this time!"

The only bright spot in Hardy's theme of love is Sam's devoted and long-suffering love for Sophy. Yet this too has a painful end. Sophy dies wondering "Why mayn't I say to Sam that I'll marry him? Why mayn't I?" Sam is left with only tears and his hat in his hands as the cold-hearted and hypocritical young clergyman, Randolph, drives with his mother's funeral carriage to her burial place.

noorulaina | Student

3 moments you should definitely remember:

1: The proposal which was accepted by Sophy not because she loved Reverend Twycott but because she respected him.

2: Sam Hobson always loved Sophy. He just didn't portray himself in a better image.

3: When Randolph bursts out into tears her mother kisses him. This showed no matter how much Randolph hated her mother. Sophy always loved her son Randolph


asimradhrani | Student

the theme of love is about that a son doesnt loves her mother & thinks entirely about his own life & doesnt let her mother marry. so thats not a true love for a son with her mother.