Summarize "The Son's Veto" by Thomas Hardy.

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Sophy's upbringing has a lot to do with her sadness in the midst of this story.  Growing up in a rural village in England isn't exactly an upper class existence, so Sophy marries into a better station.  She marries an older man, a preacher named Reverend Twycott.  Because of this marriage between classes, the two become outcasts.  In fact, even after marrying into a higher class, Sophy is still underestimated.  Even her husband himself denies her any inheritance after his death!  Sophy's husband clearly held the same opinions of those she escaped in her youth!  Left with only a tiny home to live in, Sophy is forced to view her husbands possessions entrusted to others and her son embark upon an education in which she had no say.  Obviously, Sophy's husband didn't have much confidence in her.  Unfortunately, it's "like father, like son" with Sophy's son, Randolph, constantly correcting her (even expressing his displeasure when Sophy desires to marry again, ... into a lower class by reuniting with her old friend Sam) and obviously feeling superior to his mom.  Sophy, then is an outcast both by her husband AND eventually by her son, neither of whom would allow her true happiness.  It is this sadness that speeds her to her grave.  Poor Sophy!  (And what a commentary on social class prejudice in 19th century England!)

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

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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In "The Son's Veto" by Thomas Hardy, what does the son veto?

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Can you please summarise the story "The Son's Veto" by Thomas Hardy?

Hardy's chronologically told story starts with an event calculated to provide an in-depth character sketch of the heroine and her son Randolph. They are at a public concert in a "neighboring parish" thus strangers to the locals who are all curiosity to know about the delicate looking woman with intriguingly arranged hair who is in a wheelchair. This exposition equally importantly establishes the relationship of domineering superiority her "twelve or thirteen" year old son has over her as he "fastidiously" corrects her grammar in a manner "that was almost harsh."

Hardy then gracefully dips into her backstory that takes us to the village of Gaymead when she was a young woman of nineteen and in love with Sam, a gardener ... and Sam was in love with her--Sophy. This flashback opens when Sophy's employer's wife has just died and she and Sam are tentatively speaking of what will come next: Will she stay with the widower vicar? Will she wait for Sam to prepare her a home and marry him? Before the hardest of these questions could be satisfactorily answered, Sophy fell down staris while removing a tray from the vicar's sickroom. The surgeon says it is such a bad injury she will never walk or work normally again.

As a result, the vicar saw his way clear to owning and stating his feelings for her. She consented to be his wife; he takes a lucrative vicarage in South London; their son is born and generously educated among the best; and fourteen years later, she still is ill-favored in society because she speaks in a lower dialect of English and has ...

confused ideas on the use of 'was' and 'were,' which did not beget a respect for her among the few acquaintances she made.

Eventually she is widowed, her son enters college to become a clergyman, and she encounters Sam seemingly by chance one day. They proceed to rekindle their friendship and romance but when Randolph is notified by her of their intentions to marry, he exerts his male veto authority over her by bursting into a protest of "passionate tears":

He hoped his stepfather would be a gentleman? he said.

'Not what you call a gentleman,' she answered timidly. ... The youth's face remained fixed for a moment; then he flushed, leant on the table, and burst into passionate tears.

As time goes by, Sophy tries again and yet again and always receives the same authoritative negative veto on her plans and happiness. In the end, the veto wins out as she dies alone leaving Sam to continue to live alone. Randolph is a clergyman himself now and rides in the carriage that bears his mother to her grave in Gaymeade. The procession passes Sam who mourns the loss of love and life while Randolph looks like so many black clouds in his stern person, clothes, and profession:

From the railway-station a funeral procession was seen approaching ... towards the village of Gaymead. [A] man, whose eyes were wet, held his hat in his hand ... while from the mourning coach a young smooth-shaven priest in a high waistcoat looked black as a cloud ....

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How does Thomas Hardy characterize the son in "The Son's Veto"?

Hardy seems to have little problem in depicting the son in a very intensely cold manner.  Sophy finds herself almost imprisoned by the wishes of her son.  There is a fundamental collision between she and her child.  She wishes to act upon her freedom, to conceive of a life that she might be able to live.  Yet, her son demands that she conform to the life of what is socially acceptable.  Randolph associates his mother with a lack of culture and civility.  Seen in the cringing manner he responds when she speaks and almost in her being, he is characterized as being both ashamed of his mother and unwilling to allow her to live her own life.  

To an extent, Sophy has internalized Randolph's view of her in terms of how she sees herself:  "He seems to belong so little to me personally, so entirely to his dead father. He is so much educated and I so little that I do not feel dignified enough to be his mother."  In this quote, Randolph is shown to possess a controlling personality, one that influences how Sophy's view of self is dictated by her son.  Hardy's characterization of Randolph is a controlling one, a sense of personality that ensures that his mother not only sacrifice her happiness for his, but do so in a manner where he is able to influence how she perceives herself.

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