An Examination Of The Negative Effects Of Duty And Sacrifice In The Son S Veto Essay

Submitted By naomiduru51
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Pages: 5

‘The Son’s Veto’ is a story, written by Thomas Hardy, about a woman named Sophy, who marries a Vicar named Mr Twycott. Mr Twycott dies, and she is consequently left a widow with a child that is better educated than her at the age of 13. Hence Sophy is living in her house, when she sees her previous lover, Sam. However, contrary to what would be assumed Sophy and Sam actually meet in secret, early in the morning, before anyone is up to see them rendezvousing. Sophy however doesn’t actually join with Sam, because she’s excessively indecisive and intrinsically weak; and eventually, because Sophy doesn’t fulfil her desires with Sam, she passes away, after numerous years of keeping Sam tied to her, due to the anticipation that Randolph (her Son) would eventually allow them to see each other.
One of the negative effect of duty and sacrifice in ‘The Son’s Veto’ is that of Sophy. Her duty, quite simply, was to uphold her social rank as a middle class widow. It was extremely hard for her to find a job because she was lame, however she had more than enough money to survive and maintain her reputation. But perhaps more importantly, her duty was to please her son Randolph: Randolph by the age of thirteen was more than capable of looking after himself, therefore that wasn’t an issue: rather the fact that she was forbidden to ‘ruin [him]’ or ‘degrade [him] in the eyes of all the gentlemen of England’ was where Sophy had to be especially careful. Thus I suppose that her duty to please Randolph was purely to maintain their social rank, and everything else was irrelevant. Nonetheless there was one duty that wasn’t wholly about Randolph. Sophy had a duty to Sam, to reward his tolerance and persistence for waiting for her by marrying him. These duties that Sophy had to perform meant that essentially she was prohibited liberty: she was controlled wholly by the Patriarchy, and their wishes were everything she needed to live for. This was very common in 19th Century Britain, and she, like many women in the Patriarchy, were owned by their husbands.]
As a result, Sophy had to sacrifice all her real friends, supporters and connections she had and knew that were in her lower class as a parlour-maid – in fact, when Mr. Twycott married her, he fully knew that he was ‘committing social suicide’. Sophy also had to sacrifice her relationship with her true love, Sam Hobson, who was more than willing to wait for her, and she never faced the reality that her son was immovable in this aspect, and he would never approve of Sam marrying Sophy. Both of these sacrifices were made for and by the men in her life: firstly by her superior (the man of the house) / her husband, and then by her son.
Another negative effect of duty and sacrifice in ‘The Son’s Veto’ is the relationship between Sam and Sophy. Sam had two rather simple duties in life: to be more than a common peanut farmer and sell in the ‘largest fruiterer’s shop in Aldbrickham’; and to ‘[offer Sophy] a home’ even though ‘[he wasn’t] ready just yet’. Sam however had put his duty towards Sophy in front of everything else, and although this can be perceived as loving and positive, it was actually destructive because he had hypothetically put all his eggs in one basket. If his relationship failed, then he wouldn’t have much else to stay around for, and that’s exactly what happened. Due to his loyalty to Sophy, Sam had actually thwarted any opportunity he may have previously acquired to settle down and have a stable relationship with someone of his social class; all because he was overly permissive: some may say spineless. Regardless, he was foolishly devoted to Sophy, and that was ultimately his downfall, because in a world where strong men get their way, Sam is too benevolent, too sympathetic and too compassionate.
Perhaps the most…