Hardy and Lawrence use these short stories to portray the relationships between men and women. Both writers show us how money affects and alters these relationships. Lawrence’s story, ‘Her Turn’ follows the relationship of a man called Radford and his wife. He works down a coal-mining pit and she takes care of the home. This alone reveals that at this time men were the workers; the providers for the women. After a strike, she is deprived of her monthly instalments of money, since Radford argues that she has enough already. When the next one comes, she is prepared and ready; she knows exactly how to overcome the problem.
Hardy’s story describes the relationship of a sailor called Captain Shadrach Jollife with his girlfriend who later becomes his wife, Joanna. He meets and courts Joanna after returning from sea but Joanna becomes unhappy. Her ambition and jealousy get the better of her and eventually lead to the presumed death of her husband and sons, which mentally destroys her. The main relationship that Lawrence describes in his story is the relationship between Radford and his wife. At the beginning of the story we are told that with this marriage ‘there was between them that truce which is never held between a man and his first wife’.
Their relationship is more of a companionship than a passionate romance that a first marriage would consist of. Radford is described as a ‘man for the women’. This shows that in a relationship in is the man that has to be suitable for the woman, not the other way round. He has a natural ‘courtesy’ about him. Lawrence portrays him as a kind gentle man who has ‘good humour’ and ‘plenty of friends’. We are told his ‘naivety’ makes him popular with the neighbouring women in ‘spite of their prudery’. This shows that despite the woman’s preconceptions, they can still find a man to be ‘suitable’.
He treats her with respect and gives her the money she needs for the housekeeping. We are told his ‘wife did well’ because he gives her money, but he does only give it to her when he himself doesn’t need it, proving he is the priority in the relationship. She is described as doing ‘well’ from him, which indicates that other people’s relationships are not as good as theirs. This indicates that people are constantly being judged, especially when it comes relationships. When Radford and Mrs. Radford are sitting together alone, we are told how Radford ‘fascinates’ Mrs. Radford. This indicates that she looks up to him with the utmost respect.
Even if she was angry this ‘passion’ for him settles her. Radford goes to the pub and socialises with other people while his wife is left at home. This indicates he is free to do as he wishes, since in their relationship he has the upper hand, and is uncontrollable. She knows her place in the relationship and has his dinner prepared for him when he returns home. He ‘never comes in drunk’ and so is always predictable around her. He doesn’t want to be seen by her in that state. If he does come home drunk, he knows how awkward he might become and this might put a strain on their relationship; it is too important to risk.
This shows that he has concern and respect for both his wife and the marriage. After Radford returns from the pub he asks that he’d ‘rather ha’e a smite o’ cheese than this meat’ which she had previously prepared. She doesn’t argue with him, which reveals that they care for each other and want not to fight. She is easy with the situation and doesn’t let it bother her. She must be feeling slightly annoyed by the fact he doesn’t want what she has made, but she doesn’t argue. His word is stronger than hers in the relationship and so she must agree. She very subtly stands up to the authority be saying “Well, can’t you get it?
” without him even having to ask if she could get it. It is as though that she is expected to fall under his every desire whether he asks or not. He just replies ‘ye surely I can’ without a fuss because he doesn’t want to trouble his wife. His language used is somewhat calming and soothing to her, again showing his gentleness towards her. When money comes into this relationship, it changes dramatically. Mrs Radford is annoyed when she isn’t going to get any of the ‘union money’ because according to her husband she has ‘plenty of money she can use’.
Because he is so calm and ‘indolent’ about the situation she feels ‘sharp’ because she could not get at him. He thinks that she should get what she is given, again a sign of their relationship. Mrs Radford tries to be reasonable and fair by saying that they will ‘go shares ‘ on the money they have, but Radford thinks this is unreasonable, and that the man should have more than the women. He thinks woman aren’t equal. She feels she has to win her battle and stand up for women’s rights, and so decides to get her revenge and manipulate him into getting what she wants.
When Mrs Radford decides to spend all of her monetary savings so that she now has to be given more, the reaction of Radford when he realises what she has done tells us a great deal about their relationship. He was obviously ‘angry’ at her. Not only because she had spent all her money but also because he knew she had beaten him. Despite his attempt to put his foot down she outwits him. In this relationship, he had lived forever being the one in control; having the final word. He now realises that this is not the case and she can also make big decisions and have power over the other partner.
He ‘clenched his fist’ ready to hit her. This violence was a typical male response at the time, and so knowing what is to follow, she ‘shrinks away’. He knows he has been proved wrong, and so did not hit her and just walked away, showing that to hold on to the relationship he must not use his physical advantage against the woman. He respects her too much, and realises that she was only trying to prove a point. In this story, we are told ‘men stood in gangs and men played marbles’ in the town. Women are not mentioned. It is as though women shouldn’t be out and about socializing, but they should be at home.