Thomas Hardy

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Explore characterization in Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm."

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In Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm," of the several characters in the story, the two main characters in the story are Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge. The narrator concentrates first on Rhoda, and later on Gertrude. 

Hardy's characterization is direct. Direct characterization takes place when the author...

...literally tells the audience what a character is like. This may be done via the narrator, another character or by the character him- or herself.

The author provides specific information regarding Rhoda, Gertrude and the others, through the narrator and other characters. The audience is given a mental image of the Gertrude's looks from Rhoda's son's descriptions, but we learn from our omniscient narrator how Rhoda feels about Gertrude when they first meet:

...her voice was so indescribably sweet, her glance so winning, her smile so tender, so unlike that of Rhoda's midnight visitant, that the latter could hardly believe the evidence of her senses. 

Another aspect of characterization is...

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