What is the first paragraph of Thomas Hardy's "The Son's Veto" about?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The opening to Thomas Hardy's "The Son's Veto" could confuse readers as to what it is about. Compounding the reader's confusion is the man's confusion: "the nut-brown hair was a wonder and a mystery." Although readers know that the paragraph describes the woamn's hair, readers may not understand why the woman's hair is being described in the first place. 

The woman's hair is described as long, braided, twisted, and coiled. Compounding the complexity of the hair's style, the reader is told that the hair is unbraided, untwisted, and uncoiled each and every night. Here, the reader's confusion can be compounded by bringing up the fact that the hair is fixed and unfixed. For the reader, he or she may question what the point of the opening paragraph even is. Essentially, the opening paragraph is about one thing alone: the hair of the woman being described. 

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