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The Withered Arm Credibility of Story and Characters In this essay I am going to explain how Thomas Hardy makes events seem credible in his short story The Withered Arm The Withered Arm was written by Thomas Hardy towards the end of the nineteenth century but the storyline itself was set possibly sixty to eighty years previously It was written at a time when people were still interested in spiritualism and superstition was still firmly rooted in their beliefs The story is set in a fictional rural town in Wessex called Holmstoke during the early nineteenth century with a small farming community Farmer Lodge is the most respected man in the village as he owns the majority of the land within the area and is the main employer of the village Many of the villagers who worked at Farmer Lodges Farm were known as Milchers as they mainly worked within the dairy on the farm Hardy gives the locals a common southwestern dialect to add to the credibility of the characters Rhoda another main character is a common milkmaid and is also described as a milcher and carries this typical dialect albeit in a bittersweet persona The local healer known as Conjuror Trendle also has a local dialect and is well respected within the village However because Gertrude Farmer Lodges wife is not originally from the village of Holmstoke the dialect used for the locals is not reserved for her Gertrudes dialect is mildly different to the common villagers I believe that this dialect reinforces the impression that the villagers are very simple and that they live in a relatively isolated area The moral attitudes of the villagers are relatively common with normal interests such as men-women relationships and the usual foolishness which frequently occurs in a community that is closely knit This diverts our attention from concentrating on the credibility of the poem and promotes us to concentrate on the storyline The
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