The Son’s Veto, a story by Thomas Hardy, is set in the Victorian Period. During this era, there was a huge divide between wealthy and poor, showing the divided nature of the Victorian Class System. Another divide was the role of women, they had little authority and were simply ‘breeders’ to children and had no influence over them. In contrast, it was the men and the school which would closely associate with the children, showing that the Victorian era was male dominant. Hardy introduces Sophy was a woman of intrigue by using the words ‘wonder’ and ‘mystery’.
The language employed here by Hardy suggests her secrecy, secrecy that the crowd want to be in on. The reader is made away of that because of the crowd’s desire to know more about her. Sophy is used to gossip and glances; we can see that the Victorian crowd make a judgement of her, the reader is made aware of here being different to the crowd; because of her difference; we can assume she is a victim to the upper class society. Hardy reveals Sophy’s relationship with Mr Twycott. Twycott’s view on Sophy is ‘kitten like’ and ‘tender creature’.
The highlights Twycott’s views of women, simply as toys, lovable and playable, furthermore, this suggests Twycott’s disrespect towards women. Twycott’s proposal to Sophy reveals her view on the class system. She feels honoured to be asked to marry an upper class citizen; she feels she cannot deny a man of superior class. However, Sophy may see this is an opportunity to gain superiority, to have money, a house and more. We are alert that this decision will have a bearing on her whole life. Hardy uses the phrase ‘social suicide’ to summarise Twycott’s and Sophy’s marriage.
During the Victorian Period, if a higher class citizen married a lower class citizen, it would be frowned upon and the upper class family would disown their son/daughter. This forces Twycott and Sophy to move away. At this point, we feel sympathetic towards Sophy. Hardy reveals that it was only a priest, Twycott, Sophy and two ‘necessary person’ that was present at the wedding. We feels sympathetic towards Sophy, a wedding is supposed to be a huger celebration with friends and family, instead her wedding is a dirty hushed up secret.
The aftermath of her marriage has more consequence for Sophy, she must leave the countryside, away from her friends and family to avoid the gossip. Hardy uses contrast between the countryside and the city to reflect the effect this view has on Sophy’s life. In the countryside, Hardy uses the words ‘pretty’, ‘free’, ‘trees’ and ‘fine peal’ . In the city, Hardy uses the words ‘clangour’, ‘dusty’, ‘narrow’ and ‘long’. The comparison between the two gives the impression that in the upper class society, Sophy is imprisoned and choking, almost trapped from happiness.
In the lower class, she was free to happiness and is allowed to do what she wants. Hardy may have done this to show that he is on side with the lower class citizens. From research, Thomas Hardy was bought up in a working class Victorian family; therefore, it is more likely he will favour the lower class citizens. The title of the story (Son’s Veto) shows contrast between Mother and Son. Her son, Randolph, rudely corrects his Mother’s grammar and shames her; this implies her son’s lack of respect for her. The reader would figure out that Sophy wasn’t originally part of an upper class society, she has incorrect grammar and uneducated.