Hardy's heroines in A Pair of blue eyes and Two on a tower

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Hardy's "'minor" novels seldom display the power, the complexity, or the overwhelming and eloquent dark vision of the major works, but they are nevertheless often underestimated, and sometimes too quickly--and unfairly--rejected. In two of these "minor" works, A Pair of Blue Eyes and Two on a Tower, Hardy certainly succeeds in creating two highly successful heroines, and movingly conveys the depth of their emotions and their accumulating anguish and eventual deaths. This thesis examines the characters of Elfride and Viviette by analysing the two major types of contrasts to be found in the novels: ftrst, the opposing traits to be found within each woman's character, and second, the opposing traits evident between the women and men of the novels. In both works, these contrasts in character and concerns emphasize the depth and strength of the women's emotions, and contribute to the presentation of the heroines as extremely sympathetic characters. Furthermore, these contrasts play an important role in illustrating the benefits and necessity of altruism. In the character of Viviette, the oppositions are eventually resolved, and we are presented with a specific example of the altruistic ideal. Elfride does not reach this stage of ethical development, and she actually displays some shortcomings. Nevertheless, since the reader understands Elfride, he responds with complete sympathy and compassion to her sufferings and consequently experiences for himself a form of the altruism so often encouraged by Hardy.
Bibliography: p. 149-152.
Stephenson, G. (1983). Hardy's heroines in A Pair of blue eyes and Two on a tower (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/18901