An analysis of Thomas Hardy’s The Distracted Preacher could delve into its comedic elements. Hardy’s novella is supposed to be funny. Consider the traits that make it humorous. Comedies tend to depend on disorder, ambiguity, the unfamiliar, and reversal. There’s disorder when the officers come and try to stop Lizzy’s operations. There’s ambiguity because Stockdale can’t figure out what Lizzy does at first. Finally, there’s unfamiliarity and reversal because Stockdale and romance aren’t on familiar terms.
If analyzing the comedic traits of Hardy’s novella aren’t of interest, try an analysis of the feminist properties of The Distracted Preacher. Despite being published in the late 1800s during the Victorian period, it’s possible to argue that the story presents women in a progressive, modern light. Lizzy is a strong-willed, self-sufficient person. She maintains multiple careers—one of which isn’t so legal—and, for most of the story at least, doesn’t plan on changing her ways for a husband. When Stockdale tries to persuade Lizzy to leave the bootlegging business behind, Lizzy refuses. She asserts her independence and the right to do what she wants.
Then again, the conclusion seems to upend the feminist portrayal of Lizzy. Taking the ending into account, it might be interesting to analyze the ways in which patriarchy ultimately triumphs.