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The Winters and the Palmleys Analysis

Author: Prose of Thomas Hardy Type: Prose Views: 466

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'To go back to the beginning – if one must – there were two women in the parish when I was a child, who were to a certain extent rivals in good looks. Never mind particulars, but in consequence of this they were at daggers-drawn, and they did not love each other any better when one of them tempted the other's lover away from her and married him. He was a young man of the name of Winter, and in due time they had a son.

'The other woman did not marry for many years: but when she was about thirty a quiet man named Palmley asked her to be his wife, and she accepted him. You don't mind when the Palmleys were Longpuddle folk, but I do well. She had a son also, who was, of course, nine or ten years younger than the son of the first. The child proved to be of rather weak intellect, though his mother loved him as the apple of her eye.

'This woman's husband died when the child was eight years old, and left his widow and boy in poverty. Her former rival, also a widow now, but fairly well provided for, offered for pity's sake to take the child as errand boy, small as he was, her own son, Jack, being hard upon seventeen. Her poor neighbour could do no better than let the child go there. And to the richer woman' house little Palmley straightway went.

'Well, in some way or other how, it was never exactly known – the thriving woman, Mrs. Winter, sent the little boy with a message to the next village one December day, much against his will. It was getting dark, and the child prayed to be allowed not to go, because he would be afraid coming home. But the mistress insisted, more out of thoughtlessness than cruelty, and the child went. On his way back he had to pass through Yalbury Wood, and something came out from behind a tree and frightened him into fits. The child was quite ruined by it; he became quite a drivelling idiot, and soon afterward died.

"Then the other woman had nothing left to live for, and vowed vengeance against that rival who had first won away her lover, and now had been the cause of her bereavement. This last affliction was certainly not intended by her thriving acquaintance, though it must be owned that when it was done she seemed but little concerned. Whatever vengeance poor Mrs. Palmley felt, she had no opportunity of carrying it out, and time might have softened her feelings into forgetfulness of her supposed wrongs as she dragged on her lonely life. So matters stood when, a year after the death of the child, Mrs.Palmley's niece, who had been born and bred in the city of Exonbury, came to live with her.

'This young woman – Miss Harriet Palmley – was a proud and handsome girl, very well brought up, and more stylish and genteel than the people of our village, as was natural, considering where she came from. She regarded herself as much above Mrs. Winter and her son in position as Mrs. Winter and her son considered themselves above poor Mrs. Palmley. But love is an unceremonious thing, and what in the world should happen but that young Jack Winter must fall wofully and wildly in love with Harriet Palmley almost as soon as he saw her.

'She being better educated than he, and caring nothing for the village notion of his mother's superiority to her aunt, did not give him much encouragement. But Longpuddle being no very large world, the two could not help seeing a good deal of each other while she was staying there, and, disdainful young woman as she was, she did seem to take a little pleasure in his attentions and advances.

'One day when they were picking apples together, he asked her to marry him. She had not expected anything so practical as that at so early a time, and was led by her surprise into a half-promise; at any rate she did not absolutely refuse him, and accepted some little presents that he made her.

'But he saw that her view of him was rather as a simple village lad than as a young man to look up to, and he felt that he must do something bold to secure her. So he said one day, 'I am going away, to try to get into a better position than I can get here.' In two or three weeks he wished her good-bye, and went away to Monksbury, to superintend a farm, with a view to start as a farmer himself; and from there he wrote regularly to her, as if their marriage were an understood thing.

'Now Harriet liked the young man's presents and the admiration of his eyes; but on paper he was less attractive to her. Her mother had been a schoolmistress, and Harriet had besides a natural aptitude for pen-and-ink work, in days when to be a ready writer was not such a common thing as it is now, and when actual handwriting was valued as an accomplishment in itself. Jack Winter's performances in the shape of love-letters quite jarred her city nerves and her finer taste, and when she answered one of them, in the lovely running hand that she took such pride in, she very strictly and loftily bade him to practise with a pen and spelling-book if he wished to please her. Whether he listened to her request or not nobody knows, but his letters did not improve. He ventured to tell her in his clumsy way that if her heart were more warm towards him she would not be so nice about his handwriting and spelling; which indeed was true enough.

'Well, in Jack's absence the weak flame that had been set alight in Harriet's heart soon sank low, and at last went out altogether. He wrote and wrote, and begged and prayed her to give a reason for her coldness; and then she told him plainly that she was town born, and he was not sufficiently well educated to please her.

'Jack Winter's want of pen-and-ink training did not make him less thin-skinned than others; in fact, he was terribly tender and touchy about anything. This reason that she gave for finally throwing him over grieved him, shamed him, and mortified him more than can be told in these times, the pride of that day in being able to write with beautiful flourishes, and the sorrow at not being able to do so, raging so high. Jack replied to her with an angry note, and then she hit back with smart little stings, telling him how many words he had misspelt in his last letter, and declaring again that this alone was sufficient justification for any woman to put an end to an understanding with him. Her husband must be a better scholar.

'He bore her rejection of him in silence, but his suffering was sharp – all the sharper in being untold. She communicated with Jack no more; and as his reason for going out into the world had been only to provide a home worthy of her, he had no further object in planning such a home now that she was lost to him. He therefore gave up the farming occupation by which he had hoped to make himself a master-farmer, and left the spot to return to his mother.

'As soon as he got back to Longpuddle he found that Harriet had already looked wi’ favour upon another lover. He was a young road-contractor, and Jack could not but admit that his rival was both in manners and scholarship much ahead of him. Indeed, a more sensible match for the beauty who had been dropped into the village by fate could hardly have been found than this man, who could offer her so much better a chance than Jack could have done, with his uncertain future and narrow abilities for grappling with the world. The fact was so clear to him that he could hardly blame her.

'One day by accident Jack saw on a scrap of paper the handwriting of Harriet's new beloved. It was flowing like a stream, well spelt, the work of a man accustomed to the ink-bottle and the dictionary, of a man already called in the parish a good scholar. And then it struck all of a sudden into Jack's mind what a contrast the letters of this young man must make to his own miserable old letters, and how ridiculous they must make his lines appear. He groaned and wished he had never written to her, and wondered if she had ever kept his poor performances. Possibly she had kept them, for women are in the habit of doing that, he thought, and whilst they were in her hands there was always a chance of his honest, stupid love-assurances to her being joked over by Harriet with her present lover, or by anybody who should accidentally uncover them.

'The nervous, moody young man could not bear the thought of it, and at length decided to ask her to return them, as was proper when engagements were broken off. He was some hours in framing, copying, and recopying the short note in which he made his request, and having finished it he sent it to her house. His messenger came back with the answer, by word of mouth, that Miss Palmley bade him say she should not part with what was hers, and wondered at his boldness in troubling her.

'Jack was much affronted at this, and determined to go for his letters himself. He chose a time when he knew she was at home, and knocked and went in without much ceremony; for though Harriet was so high and mighty, Jack had small respect for her aunt, Mrs.Palmley, whose little child had been his boot-cleaner in earlier days. Harriet was in the room, this being the first time they had met since she had jilted him. He asked for his letters with a stern and bitter took at her.

'At first she said he might have them for all that she cared, and took them out of the bureau where she kept them. Then she glanced over the outside one of the packet, and suddenly altering her mind, she told him shortly that his request was a silly one, and slipped the letters into her aunt's work-box, which stood open on the table, locking it, and saying with a bantering laugh that of course she thought it best to keep 'em, since they might be useful to produce as evidence that she had good cause for declining to marry him.

'He blazed up hot.' "Give me those letters!" he said. "They are mine!"

"No, they are not," she replied; "they are mine."

' "Whos’ever they are I want them back," says he. "I don't want to be made sport of for my penmanship: you've another young man now! He has your confidence, and you pour all your tales into his ear. You'll be showing them to him!"

'"Perhaps," said my lady Harriet, with calm coolness, like the heartless woman that she was.

'Her manner so maddened him that he made a step towards the work-box, but she snatched it up, locked it in the bureau, and turned upon him triumphant. For a moment he seemed to be going to wrench the key of the bureau out of her hand; but he stopped himself, and swung round upon his heel and went away.

'When he was out-of-doors alone, and it got night, he walked about restless, and stinging with the sense of being beaten at all points by her. He could not help fancying her telling her new lover or her acquaintances of this scene with himself, and laughing with the mover those poor blotted, crooked lines of his that he had been so anxious to obtain. As the evening passed on he worked himself into a dogged resolution to have them back at any price, come what might.

'At the dead of night he came out of his mother's house by the back door, and creeping through the garden hedge went along the field adjoining till he reached the back of her aunt's dwelling. The moon struck bright and flat upon the walls, 'twas said, and every shiny leaf of the creepers was like a little looking-glass in the rays. From long acquaintance Jack knew the arrangement and position of everything in Mrs. Palmley's house as well as in his own mother's. The back window close to him was a casement with little leaded squares, as it is to this day, and was, as now, one of two lighting the sitting-room. The other, being in front, was closed up with shutters, but this back one had not even a blind, and the moonlight as it streamed in showed every article of the furniture to him outside. To the right of the room is the fireplace, as you may remember; to the left was the bureau at that time; inside the bureau was Harriet's work-box, as he supposed (though it was really her aunt's), and inside the work-box were his letters. Well, he took out his pocket-knife, and without noise lifted the leading of one of the panes, so that he could take out the glass, and putting his hand through the hole he unfastened the casement, and climbed in through the opening. All the household – that is to say, Mrs. Palmley, Harriet, and the little maidservant – were asleep. Jack went straight to the bureau, so he said, hoping it might have been unfastened again – it not being kept locked in ordinary – but Harriet had never unfastened it since she secured her letters there the day before. Jack told afterward how he thought of her sleep upstairs, caring nothing for him, and of the way she had made sport of him and of his letters; and having advanced so far, he was not to be hindered now. By forcing the large blade of his knife under the flap of the bureau, he burst the weak lock; within was the rosewood work-box just as she had placed it in her hurry to keep it from him. There being no time to spare forgetting the letters out of it then, he took it under his arm, shut the bureau, and made the best of his way out of the house, latching the casement behind him, and re-fixing the pane of glass in its place.

'Winter found his way back to his mother's as he had come, and being dog-tired, crept upstairs to bed, hiding the box till he could destroy its contents. The next morning early he set about doing this, and carried it to the linhay at the back of his mother's dwelling. Hereby the hearth he opened the box, and began burning one by one the letters that had cost him so much labour to write and shame to think of, meaning to return the box to Harriet, after repairing the slight damage he had caused it by opening it without a key, with a note – the last she would ever receive from him – telling her triumphantly that in refusing to return what he had asked for she had calculated too surely upon his submission to her whims.

'But on removing the last letter from the box he received a shock; for underneath it, at the very bottom, lay money – several golden guineas – "Doubtless Harriet's pocket-money," he said to himself; though it was not, but Mrs. Palmley's. Before he had got over his qualms at this discovery he heard footsteps coming through the house-passage to where he was. In haste he pushed the box and what was in it under some brushwood which lay in the linhay; but Jack had been already seen. Two constables entered the out-house, and seized him as he knelt before the fireplace, securing the work-box and all it contained at the same moment. They had come to apprehend him on a charge of breaking into the dwelling-house of Mrs. Palmley on the night preceding; and almost before the lad knew what had happened to him they were leading him along the lane that connects that end of the village with this turnpike-road, and along they marched him between 'em all the way to Casterbridge jail.

'Jack's act amounted to night burglary – though he had never thought of it – and burglary was felony, and a capital offense in those days. His figure had been seen by some one against the bright wall as he came away from Mrs. Palmley's back window, and the box and money were found in his possession, while the evidence of the broken bureau-lock and tinkered window-pane was more than enough for circumstantial detail. Whether his protestation that he went only for his letters, which he believed to be wrongfully kept from him, would have availed him anything if supported by other evidence I do not know; but the one person who could have borne it out was Harriet, and she acted entirely under the sway of her aunt. That aunt was deadly towards Jack Winter. Mrs. Palmley's time had come. Here was her revenge upon the woman who had first won away her lover, and next ruined and deprived her of her heart's treasure – her little son. When the assize week drew on, and Jack had to stand his trial, Harriet did not appear in the case at all, which was allowed to take its course, Mrs. Palmley testifying to the general facts of the burglary. Whether Harriet would have come forward if Jack had appealed to her is not known; possibly she would have done it for pity's sake; but Jack was too proud to ask a single favour of a girl who had jilted him; and he let her alone. The trial was a short one, and the death sentence was passed.

'The day o' young Jack's execution was a cold dusty Saturday in March. He was so boyish and slim that they were obliged in mercy to hang him in the heaviest fetters kept in the jail, lest his heft should not break his neck, and they weighed so upon him that he could hardly drag himself up to the drop. At that time the government was not strict about burying the body of an executed person within the precincts of the prison, and at the earnest prayer of his poor mother his body was allowed to be brought home. All the parish waited at their cottage doors in the evening for its arrival: I remember how, as a very little girl, I stood by my mother's side. About eight o'clock, as we hearkened on our door-stones in the cold bright starlight, we could hear the faint crackle of a waggon from the direction of the turnpike-road. The noise was lost as the waggon dropped into a hollow, then it was plain again as it lumbered down the next long incline, and presently it entered Longpuddle. The coffin was laid in the belfry for the night, and the next day, Sunday, between the services, we buried him. A funeral sermon was preached the same afternoon, the text chosen being, 'He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.' ...Yes, they were cruel times!

'As for Harriet, she and her lover were married in due time; but by all account her life was no jocund one. She and her good-man found that they could not live comfortably at Longpuddle, by reason of her connection with Jack's misfortunes, and they settled in a distant town, and were no more heard of by us; Mrs. Palmley, too, found it advisable to join 'em shortly after. The dark-eyed, gaunt old Mrs. Winter, remembered by the emigrant gentleman here, was, as you will have foreseen, the Mrs. Winter of this story; and I can well call to mind how lonely she was, how afraid the children were of her, and how she kept herself as a stranger among us, though she lived so long.'

'Longpuddle has had her sad experiences as well as her sunny ones,' said Mr. Lackland.

'Yes, yes. But I am thankful to say not many like that, though good and bad have lived among us.'

'There was Georgy Crookhill – he was one of the shady sort, as I have reason to know,' observed the registrar, with the manner of a man who would like to ha'e his say also.

'I used to hear what he was as a boy at school.'

'Well, as he began so he went on. It never got so far as a hanging matter with him, to be sure; but he had some narrow escapes of penal servitude; and once it was a case of the biter bit.'


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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i compared fury with the winters and the palmleys
The characters of Mrs Fletcher and Jack Winter are similar in many ways, especially the ways they express love, pride, disappointment, anger and revenge. They both contribute to their own downfalls partly, as other people help as well. Jack Winter is the son of Mrs Winter, who many years before stole the boyfriend of Mrs Palmley. This then led to a chain of events meaning Mrs Palmley wanted revenge. In “The Fury” Mr Fletcher is more besotted with his rabbits than his wife. This angers his wife and once again leads to an act of revenge.
The theme of love is evident throughout the story “The Fury” and is shown a lot by Mrs Fletcher toward her misguided. He on the other hand shows most of his love to his rabbits and shows little love towards his wife- until the end of the story. Mrs Fletcher is portrayed as “a passionate women who clung single-mindedly on to what was hers, and was prepared to defend her rights with vigour”. The sentence shows the reader Mrs Fletcher is a powerful and ruthless. Furthermore it conveys she thinks of her as a possession rather than a person which could cause the reader to think she is rather manipulative. The term “defend” highlights how steadfast she is and that she won’t let anyway defeat her in an argument also that she is persistent and won’t let other people get their point across. The phrase “single-mindedly” shows she is an unequivocal person who won’t admit when she’s wrong and will only believe her side of the argument; this would also make her seem strong and powerful. Also the word “vigour” shows she will not just give up and take defeat lightly, but that she will fight until the death to “defend” what she believes is hers.
Equally Jack Winter is as passionate throughout “The Winters and the Palmleys” toward Harriet Palmley, with whom he falls “woefully and wildly in love with” “almost as soon as he saw her “this shows jack is a impulsive person who doesn’t think about what he’s doing as he just falls in love with a girl who he has practically just met. The words “woefully and wildly” further show the haste involved in his decision to be in a relationship with her, this is shown mostly by the word “woefully”. Also the word “woefully” shows that he is sad that he cannot spend more time with her. Also it shows that he cannot stop thinking about her which gnaws at his mind which makes him even more emotional. The word “wildly” suggests that jack is very passionate as he hasn’t just fell in love with her he has fell “wildly” in love with her which is a stronger love altogether. It also shows that he would do anything for Harriet’s love as he adores her so much. Another phrase which shows he loves her is,
“He asked her to marry him”
This, I feel, shows his love is strong as he has only known her for a week or so, yet he is asking “her to marry him”. Furthermore I feel that it shows that he doesn’t want to lose his love as he wants to make the commitment of marriage to her so she cannot leave him. Additionally it shows his insecurity as he lacks the confidence to feel the relationship will last. Overall these two acts of love contribute to their own downfalls as, if jack didn’t fall impulsively in love with Harriet he wouldn’t have written those letters to her and she wouldn’t have blackmailed him, eventually causing him to steal the letters and inadvertently stealing Mrs Palmleys money. Similarly if Mrs Fletcher hadn’t been so possessive and single-minded she wouldn’t have been so pessimistic and gullible to believe Mrs Sykes’s lies about her husband and his ‘affair’
As the story takes its course Mrs Fletcher’s disappointment builds up and turns to anger,
“you knew I specially wanted to see that picture didn’t you?”
This shows that the Mrs Fletcher is disappointed because her husband was not back in time to see a film she wanted to see. The word “I” shows how selfish Mrs Fletcher is as just because she wanted to see the picture doesn’t mean that her husband wanted to see it also. She is again upset as just before, when Mr Fletcher was talking about his rabbits “she gave no sign of interest” which shows she is hurt as she is ignoring him as she wants his attention. The question mark shows that Mrs Fletcher is continuously questioning her husband which would put him under pressure. I feel that she does this to him as she craves the attention she feels she deserves, and by questioning him he has to pay attention to her. She is again disappointed when Mrs Sykes tells her of Jim Fletchers conversation with the woman in the bus station the writer tells us this in the line,
“Mrs Fletcher shot the other women a look”
I feel she gave Mrs Sykes a look to disguise her disappointment. I think she did this as she is a very proud woman who wouldn’t want to show her weakness to anyone, especially her meddling, patronising neighbour Mrs Sykes. The word “shot” shows the venom involved in the “look Mrs Fletcher gave Mrs Sykes.
Moreover Jack Winter feels rejected when the love of his life, Harriet Palmley, ends her relationship with him. The writer tells us this when he writes,
“he groaned and wished he’d never written to her.”
This indicates that he has realised that Harriet’s new love is better educated than him and may laugh at him. The word “groaned” shows jacks despair as you wouldn’t groan about something you liked or were pleased about you would only groan at something that displeased you. Furthermore the word “wished” also shows his anguish and his desire for his letters back as he doesn’t want to “be made a sport for his penmanship”. In general Mrs Fletcher’s and Jack Winter’s disappointment contributes to their downfalls as they are disappointed as they have been rejected. Jack’s disappointment contributes in a large way as if he didn’t write in the first way he wouldn’t have been in the mess he was in. Mrs Fletcher’s disappointment also has a great significance as it caused her to kick her husband out. I feel this contributes significantly as if she wasn’t disappointed she wouldn’t have killed his rabbits.
Just after Jim Fletcher arrives home Mrs fletchers tone changes to one of anger as her husband is not back in time, she says,
“I’ve been telling all week but that makes no difference, does it? What does your wife matter when you get off with your blasted rabbits?”
This conveys that Mrs Fletcher loves her husband as she craves attention from him and wants him to put in some effort toward their relationship. There are two questions succeeding one another which would put Mr Fletcher under pressure however they are rhetorical and she doesn’t expect an answer. The word “blasted” shows her anger more as it is a strong, powerful adjective and clearly shows her emotion of fury toward his rabbits who hates as he shares his love with them as well as her. Furthermore she is angry when he arrives home, when she says,
“‘What time d’you call this?’ She said giving him no chance to speak ‘Saturday night and me sitting here like a doo-lal while you gallivant up and down as you please’”
The phrase “ giving him no chance to speak “ shows the reader that Mrs Fletcher is very controlling and manipulating as she doesn’t let her husband tell his side of the story as if she did she may not be able to have a go at him for being late. Also there is yet another question putting Mr Fletcher on edge as he is being bombarded with questions from his wife. When she says to Mr Fletcher “Saturday night, and me sitting her” she seems selfish as she isn’t bothered if Mr Fletcher was enjoying himself and having a good time she is only concerned that he left her by herself. Furthermore when Mrs Sykes tells Mr Fletcher about seeing him with another woman she makes assumptions and when her husband comes home and tells her what he was actually with that woman for it is too late as she has already killed his beloved rabbits.
Similarly Jack Winter shows signs of anger throu

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