Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Son's Veto by Thomas Hardy analysis

The Son's Veto by Thomas Hardy essay analysis

Essay questions: "Discuss how status influenced the lives of the characters in the story, paying particular attention to the text." 
"Discuss also the relevance of the title."

Thomas Hardy places the social status and subsequent classes at the forefront of his short story, "the Son's Veto". Status and class, and therefore society's perception of one the, shape the plot and more importantly, the character's actions, reactions and thought processes in this short story.

Primarily, Mr Twycott is acutely aware of the implications of a decision and its affects on one's class in relation to society's perception. His proposal to Sophy was not the norm or status quo of the time and thus the text states "Mr Twycott knew perfectly well that he had committed social suicide by the this step..." Mr Twycott's marriage to Sophy was one of controversy since all in the village knew both people; Mr Twycott being a vicar demanding great respect and veneration while in comparison, Sophy was little more than a servant in his house.

Sophy herself is also aware of the social implication of marriage to Mr Twycott and in response to his proposal of marriage, "even if she had wished  to get away from him she hardly dared refuse a parsonage so reverend and august in her eyes." My Twycott's position and place in society and thus in her eyes refers on her ability to refuse.

Previously Sophy was courted by Sam Hobson, a villager with a similar status as herself . Hobson asked Sophy to marry him and her refusal or rather choice to marry Mr Twycott draws conclusion to the fact that Sophy could easily refuse Sam Hobson but due to MY Twycott's status and position, she could not refuse him.

Mr Twycott gives his son, Randolph, the best education money could buy since he realises the importance of education and its relationship with society. Twycott's plans for his son to go the best school, to be ordained are all testament to the fact that Twycott will want his son to be a gentleman and thus amongst the wealthy and important  in the city.

As Randolph's education improves, he is soon able to realise the faults in his mother and in turn looks upon his mother with shame and disgrace since her level of education affects his status amongst society. Sophy's grammar "which did not yet beget a respect for her among the few acquaintances she made" further reinforces Randolph's perception that his mother is to be viewed as uneducated and in retrospect as a person of little use to him in his quest to become respected amongst his peers, due to his mother's lack of friends or connections.

Sam Hobson's re-emergence and subsequent rekindled relationship with Sophy, Randolph's mother strengthens and soon his proposal of marriage to the widow Mrs Twycott becomes all Sophy can think about. Even though Sophy is Randolph's mother and she should hold her own right to make decisions, Randolph being male, well educated and socially important he has to agree whether she can marry Hobson. Randolph's idea of status shapes his decision and his refusal of Sam is directly related to his mother's marriage to a commoner like Hobson would degrade his status in the eyes of "all the gentleman of England."

Randolph's refusal is foreshadowed by the title of the story, "The Son's Veto", in which veto refers to the son's right to refuse his mother as he holds the position of authority and his masculinity is a direct representation of the common law and social interpretation that men are superior to women. The title and this point indicate that status, class and social perception play the single largest factor in shaping each character's motives and decisions.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this short story. Any questions, please leave in the comments section below.


  1. luv u so so so much. lifesaverrr.

  2. saved me from failing in my exam

  3. More quotes and details would have made the answer better. You should have added about how the relationship between Sophy and her son was ruined due to society.
    However, good points on an interesting topic.
    Please post more articles on short stories from 'Stories of Ourselves' (as that is my GCE O LEVEL LITERATURE COURSE. feel free to look up my syllabus. :) I am doing Julius Caesar as well. Please post on that too.

    1. Thanx for the feedback... Yeah, I will definitely post more articles on course work that is common between both IGCSE and your course

  4. this was helpful but i hate you bcs it was not so helpful for me i can write better

  5. disqus_tXj12NkqGF30 January 2013 at 11:20

    Life saver! ^^

  6. This was really helpful thanks

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  8. i want you to give more questions

  9. More questions on this short story? Or more questions in general?
    Anyone can answer if you feel the need to. Thanks

  10. you should have written more on this its not all that helpful

    you might wanna check this guy out... he copied this word to word
    And excellent analysis. Thank you :)

  12. Thanks for the help! Will definitely give it a look

  13. Zachary Johnson14 May 2014 at 23:05

    Had my IGCSE Lit exam today; ur blog was indemnable, so I figured I could help you out with the DMCA.
    List of things that came up: Julius Caesar Act 5 Scene 1
    From Stories of Ourselves: Pied Beauty, Sandpiper, A Birthday, City Planners, Horses
    From Songs of Ourselves: Sandpiper, Her First Ball and, At Hiruharama

    Cannot thank you enough. If I get an A* its because of the guidance of your essays as to how to structure essays; and topic sentences of main focus, to augment the core literary analysis.