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Comparing Hap by Thomas Hardy and The Second Coming by Yeats

Comparing Hap by Thomas Hardy and The Second Coming by Yeats

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was one of the great writers of the Late Victorian era. One of his great works out of the many that he produced was his poem Hap, which he wrote in 1866, but did not publish until 1898 in his collection of poems called Wessex Poems. This poem seems to typify the sense of alienation that he and other writers were experiencing at the time, as they “saw their times as marked by accelerating social and technological change and by the burden of a worldwide empire” (Longman p. 2165). The poem also reveals Hardy’s own “abiding sense of a universe ruled by a blind or hostile fate, a world whose landscapes are etched with traces of the fleeting stories of their inhabitants” (Longman p. 2254).

The poem’s major theme seems to be this sense of the world being ruled by a hostile and blind fate, not by a benevolent God pushing all of the buttons. This is clearly stated within the poem itself as Hardy writes “If but some vengeful god would call to me / From up the sky, and laugh: ‘Thou suffering thing, / Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy, / That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!’ / Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die, / Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited; / Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I / Had willed and meted me the tears I shed. / But not so.” (Hardy, Longman p. 2255: ll. 1-9). As you can see, this poem shows that Hardy has indeed lost all faith in a benevolent God that deals out suffering and joy to his creations as he willfully deems they deserve and need. Instead of this idea of a benevolent God up above pulling all of the strings of the world and dealing out everyone’s personal fate, Hardy believes fate is…

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…and present as a sign that the ‘Beast’ is about to be born and rule the next 2000 years just like Jesus was born and resurrected to rule the last 2000 years, while Hardy just relates the evils and pain that is inflicted on man as a sign that there is no benevolent God, but not that there is an evil God staking his claim to our lives now enstead. He leaves our fate up to mere chance and the passage of time, while Yeats leaves our fate up to the beast (also known as Satan).

Works Cited

Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism. New Jersey. Prentice Hall, 1999.

Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman – Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.

Yeats, William, Butler. “The Second Coming.” The Longman Anthology British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. Longman. New York. 2000. 2329.

Comparing the French Lieutenant’s Woman and Jewel in the Crown

Similarities between French Lieutenant’s Woman and Jewel in the Crown

John Fowles’s French Lieutenant’s Woman and Paul Scott’s Jewel in the Crown are two literary works that illustrate continuity in British literature over time. While French Lieutenant’s Woman [is set in]…the Victorian era and Jewel in the Crown [depicts events in]… the twentieth century . . ., the two exhibit similar thematic content. Both works emphasize the importance of social stature, both portray society’s view of what’s acceptable in the intimate relationships of women, and both are stories in which two lovers are together regardless of whether or not society approves.

The portrayal of social statures in French Lieutenant’s Woman is rather simple. Other than Sarah Woodruff, the characters are of the wealthy upper class. Sarah is described as a “poor but educated woman who has lost her reputation.” Other characters include Charles Smithson, a wealthy gentleman who becomes Sarah’s lover; Ernistina Freeman, Charles’ fiance and daughter of a wealthy businessman; Mr. Freeman, Ernestina’s father, a successful businessman who aspires to the upper class by marrying his daughter into [a higher class]…; and Ms. Poultney, a wealthy widow who takes in Sarah Woodruff to belittle and humiliate.

Social statures portrayed in Jewel in the Crown are more complicated; race also plays into the social status of its characters. The main character of the story is Daphne Manners, who starts off as upper class but is later demoted to “that Manners girl” due to an inter-racial relationship with Hari Kumar. Hari is born in India, but grew up well to do in England. Upon his return to India he has lost his social status. he aspires to the …

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…disapprove and criticize her. It was a sad reality that white hostility for mixed relationships could devalue the life of an innocent child.

Jewel in the Crown and French Lieutenant’s Woman illustrate in full, continuity in British literature. While French Lieutenant’s Woman represents the 1860s and Jewel in the Crown represents the 1940s, the two literary works remain very similar in plot and theme. They also illustrate that the values of the British in regards to intimate relationships and social boundaries remained unchanged for over eighty years.

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman – Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.

Scott, Paul. The Jewel in the Crown. (1966.) Vol. 1 of the Raj Quartet. Rpt. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1998.

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