In the sons veto Thomas Hardy shows the relationship between the mother and the son as very poor. The son Randolph is a very self-centred boy who thinks he is superior and looks at his mother as if she is beneath him. Sophy because of her working class background has no self-esteem and feels inferior to her son but feels a great sense of love and duty towards him. The behaviour between the mother and son was affected by social attitudes at the time. At the end of the 19th century all men looked at the women as inferior.
Women had hardly any rights at all and were financially independent. Woman from all classes were looked down upon by all men and had a complete lack of education. Men were very prejudice against all women and looked at them as the slaves who bred the children looked after the house and fed the men. Woman could not marry for love they had to marry for security and a home. ” Sophy did not exactly love him, but she had a respect for him which almost amounted to veneration.
Even if she had whished to get away from him she hardly dared refuse parsonage so reverend and august in her eyes, and she assented to be his wife” They weren’t aloud to be independent in the 19th century class was very important and it was very hard to change what class you were from and even if you did they would still look down on you. Education was very important but woman were not allowed to go to decent schools. Therefore Sophy was not very well educated and her son Randolph would get embarrassed and correct Sophy’s grammar all the time she would get her was and were’s wrong.
Religion was looked upon as very important and if you were a vicar or priest you would immediately be middle class and when Sophy married the vicar she worked for as a slave her class changed slightly but her son always looked down at his own mother. When Sophy married the vicar in the friendly town of Gaymead because of the different class the vicar was said to have “committed social suicide” and as everyone in Gaymead what the vicar and Sophy had done they had to move away to a different town where no one would know who they were and what class Sophy was from. Sophy’s character is profoundly affected by contemporary society.
Her gender, class and lack of education shaped her attitude to herself. Sophy was born into a low class family giving her a strong sense of inferiority and lack of self-esteem. Sophy had no love in her life ever since she was a little girl living in the town of Gaymead. Sophy started working as a servant for the vicar at the age of nineteen. Sophy had an accident and slipped down the stairs incapacitating her for a long time.
When Sophy told the vicar, who’s first wife recently passed away, that she wanted to leave he told her not to go and asked her to marry him. No Sophy, lame or not lame, I cannot let you go. You must never leave me again” Sophy did not love the vicar but felt it her duty to marry him not for love but for parsonage and security. Sophy had been with the vicar 14 years and her education had improved much with the vicar’s help. Sophy was more a lady now rather than a woman but she was not happy, her son was of a much higher class than she was and had a far better education making her feel depressed and lonely, she spent her time braiding her beautiful hair and watching out of the window.
The vicar came down with a serious illness and for a while Sophy became his servant again caring for him until he passed away. After the death Sophy became even more depressed she had nothing to do as the vicar had taken care of everything before he died. Her life became insupportably dreary she could not walk and did not want to drive or travel anywhere she just sat at the window and watched. Thinking about how much she would love to go back to the village she was born in evan if it was just to work in the fields.
Sophy took no exercise so often she could not sleep and would wake during the night to look out upon the thoroughfare and one morning Sophy spotted a man who accompanied a wagon load of potatoes looking hard at the house-fronts as he passed, she knew the person was familiar and after 3 days she remembered who he was Sam Hobson a former gardener at Gaymead who at one time would have married Sophy. Sophy occasionally thought of him wondering if life in a cottage with Sam would not have been a happier than the life she had accepted.
Sophy didn’t think of Sam passionately but her now dismal life lead an interest towards him. Later on Sophy was sat watching the sun shinning down on her when she saw him she shouted his name and he came over o her. Sam took Sophy out on his wagon and they talked about old times together. When Sophy got back she wandered what it would be like to start a new life with Sam but thought not because if she was to marry Sam she would lose the money for her sons education and she would be marrying back into a low class family and she cared for her son so she new she would not be able to do that to him.
After a long time of thought Sophy had a plan but she had to ask for her sons permission he said no and Sophy obeyed him. Her son made her swear she would not marry Sam . For years Sophy asked for permission to remarry but Sophy never got it. Sophy cared for her son’s welfare more then her own so she led a miserable life. Sophy’s son Randolph was much more educated than Sophy therefore he was of a much higher class. Randolph made Sophy feel inferior and he felt superior to Sophy because of his gender.
Randolph was arrogant egocentric, self-centred and always says he is embarrassed by his mother and with the friends he has mad and education he received he rose well above his fathers class. He did not speak to his mother much and when he did it was to correct her grammar, spelling or to tell her to do something. Randolph felt it was his duty to love his father as it was because of his father’s money and class that he became so well educated.
Randolph’s hold on his class is very insecure and if his mother remarries after the fathers death Randolph would lose everything his money his friends and most important his class. It would ruin me! A miserable boar! A clown! It will degrade me in the eyes of all the gentle men of England” If Randolph was not born into a family with a rich middle class father he would probably have had a lot of respect for his mother and would not feel so obliged to rise above his class to be with the upper class friends he had made. Randolph will never be upper class no mater how much money he has and he finds it hard to believe that he can never an upper class gentleman which makes him more and more arrogant.
This proves that society has affected him a great deal. The relation ship between the mother and son is an extremely poor one. Randolph was much more educated than his mother which created a distance between them to start with and the son’s egocentric personality did not help. In this essay I have discussed how the social customs of the time affected Sophy’s happiness looking closely into reference to her son Randolph and Sophy’s relationship, Thomas hardy gives Randolph a nasty character in the story.
He appreciates his social class more than he appreciates his mother. Thomas hardy tells the reader that Sam and Sophy’s relationship is warm and that Sophy and Randolph’s relationship is cold. As Randolph has a better education than Sophy, Sophy finds it difficult to marry within her social class. She has to marry someone within Randolph’s class. These are all of the points that I have discussed in my essay. Hardy tells the reader of Sophy twycott the heroine of the story