'The Grave by The Handpost' by Thomas Hardy and 'Drunkard Of The River' by Michael Anthony

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I am going to be comparing two short stories. The first story ‘The Grave by The Handpost’ by Thomas Hardy, which was written in the ninth century; the other story was ‘Drunkard Of The River’ which was written by Michael Anthony in the twentieth century. ‘The Grave By The Handpost’ is set in a rural area called Wessex in England. The river Ortoire on the Caribbean island of Trinidad sets Michael Anthony’s story ‘Drunkard Of The River’. ‘The Grave By The Handpost’ and ‘Drunkard Of The River’ have some differences, both the stories are written approximately one hundred years apart; but they also have similarities.

The father son relationships, both stories are about regretting something, which has happened. Also they both have parts of the story that is in dialect. ‘The Grave By The Handpost’ is about a man called Sargent Holway, who committed suicide. Sargent Holway committed suicide because he had a son who wanted to become a mechanic in spite of his father’s wish for him to follow in his footsteps and join the army.

He persuaded his son Luke to go and join the army overseas but as a result of this he had a terrible time.

He dreaded being in the army and sent a letter to his father telling his father that he hates him for making him join the army and he has made his life miserable we know this because Luke says ‘that his life was a burden and a slavery, and bitterly criticized his father for advising him to embark on a career for which he felt unsuited.

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‘ As a result of Luke sending his father the letter his father felt so upset that he shot himself in his head with his own shotgun.

Because he committed suicide his body had to be buried at a crossroad because some Christians at that time believed that if you committed suicide you were not allowed to be buried in a graveyard so sergeant Holway had to be buried at a crossroad so the devil cannot take his soul. His son Luke Holway came back from the army a couple of days after his father’s death, he was told that his father had committed suicide due to his letter. Luke felt really upset that he was the reason why his father had committed suicide.

Luke decided to try and restore his father’s honour, he tried to do this by removing his father’s corpse from the crossroads and move it to a churchyard down the road. However just when he was about to move his father’s corpse he was recalled back to the army; Luke Holway chose to go back to the army because he thought it would make his father proud. We know this because Luke said ‘I’ll try to show myself to be what my father wished me’ so Luke left the reburying of his father to the men of the choir.

However when the choir dug up sergeant Holway’s corpse they found a large wooden stake through his heart, which in conclusion made it impossible to move the corpse, so they left the corpse at the crossroad. As the years passed by the priest of the church and all the men of the choir died. Luke Holway came back once again and could not find neither the choir men nor the priest so he went to the graveyard to see if he could find his father’s tombstone but could not find any trace of his father’s body in the graveyard. He then discovered that his father’s body still lay at the crossroad.

Luke was very upset and lived in a cottage for years until he too committed suicide by shooting himself, before Luke killed himself he wrote a note requesting to be buried at the crossroad beside his father but by the time the note had been retrieved Luke Holway’s body had been buried in the local graveyard! The story ‘Drunkard Of The River’ is about a boy called Sona, he is sent from his home up the river Ortoire by his mother to collect his father Mano from Assing’s shop in the village where he has been drinking heavily and is drunk.

Sona is at home when his mother tells him to go and collect his father from Assing’s shop. When Sona was told this he got angry because he hated his father but his mother still loved Sona’s father Mano as she said ‘In her eyes he was still young. He did not grow old it was she who had aged. ‘ Sona left his home got out a boat and paddled up the river to the village; he got to Assing’s shop and Mano was drunk and making a fool of himself. Sona told his father Mano to come home but this enraged Mano and he said ‘So, you is me father now, eh? in his drunken rage Mano staggered towards his son. Mano kicked Sona in his stomach and it took three people to hold back Mano ‘he is me father now him modder send him for me’ struggling even more than ever ‘I’ll kill him, so help me God, I’ll kill him! ‘ Mano then got on the boat with his son Sona. When they were on the boat; there was an indication in the story that Sona did something bad but it does not say what had happened in the context. Sona got home without his father; his mother became suspicious and wanted to know where Sona’s father Mano was.

Sona’s reply was ‘He out there, sleeping he drunk. ‘ But when Sona’s mother called for Mano, Sona was panic stricken and fled! A narrator looking back on the past tells ‘The Grave By The Handpost’ is in the form of a flash back. ‘Drunkard Of The River’ describes events as they happen and the writer leaves readers to work out things for themselves such as in the end of the story you do not know exactly what happened to Mano (in fact Sona pushed his father Mano into the river Ortoire).

Micheal Anthony does not say what Sona had done to raise more sympathy for Sona and try to make the audience understand why Sona did it. The style which I prefer is the one which Micheal Anthony used because it makes you wonder what could of happened, it makes you understand why Sona did what he did and what frame of mind he was in when he did it. The main characters in ‘The Grave By The Handpost’ are sergeant Holway and Luke Holway. Sargent Holway is an army veteran; he would like his son Luke to follow in his footsteps and become like him.

Luke Holway is the son of sergeant Holway he wants to become a car mechanic but his father forced him to join the army. Luke hated it when he went to join the army overseas; Luke was not really built for the army. The main characters in ‘Drunkard Of The River’ are Sona and Mano; Sona is a young boy who really hates his father also he don’t understand why anyone could like his father especially his mother moreover ‘Sona could not see why she bothered about his father at all for Mano was stupid and worthless and made their lives miserable. Sona is really distressed and feels he has no other alternative but to sort out his father himself Sona ‘Often in silence he had shaken his fist and said, one day I’ll….. I’ll….. ‘ Mano is the father of Sona he is a very ignorant man who does not listen to his son and is not concerned about how he treats him. Mano always drinks heavily; he is an alcoholic. The relationship between characters; in particular the father son relations such as sergeant Holway and Luke Holway, and Sona and Mano, these relationships is one similarity between the two stories.

These characters do not get on with each other; sergeant Holway committed suicide because of what Luke Holway had said about him; Sona could not stand his father Mano; Sona was getting fustrated by his father Mano until Sona had been pushed so far he murdered his father Mano. The characters in ‘Drunkard Of The River’ are Mano, his wife, their son Sona and Assing the owner of the shop where Mano drinks. There are also some villagers. Mano is the father of Sona; Mano is a drunk, an alcoholic and a very unreliable father.

Sona hates his father they have a very dysfunctional relationship. Sona is the son of Mano he is angry that Mano is a drunk and not a proper father. Sona’s mother is a very distressed woman, she loves Mano and thinks she has changed not Mano ‘in her eyes he was still young. He did not grow old it was she who had aged. He had only turned out badly. ‘ In the ‘Grave By The Handpost’ the action takes place in three main places; Long Ash Lane Crossroads, Chalk Newton and Chalk Newton Church Yard. ‘Drunkard Of The River’ is set in a small village on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

We know this because Sona and his family live by the river Ortoire; we can tell it is set on a Caribbean island because of the dialect they use when they speak. In the story ‘The Grave By The Handpost’ there are parts of the story where the characters do not speak Standard English; they speak Wessex dialect such as when Lot Swanhills said ‘who mid ye be a burying there? ‘ which means ‘who will be buried there. ‘ Also when Erza Cattstock says ‘Jown it- weve never played to a dead man afore’ which in standard English is ‘Damn it-we have never played for a dead man before. Moreover there is a part in the story when a man says to Luke Holway ‘no, no don’t ye take on so, young man’ which translates into ‘Don’t you get so angry young man. ‘ The writer Thomas Hardy does this to show that it is set in the countryside and to add to the effect of the story being set in a rural part of England. In the story ‘Drunkard Of The River’ there are phrases which are not spoken in standard English but spoken in ‘island dialect’ such as when Sona said ‘Ma say to come home’ which means ‘Mother said come home’; also when Mano says to Sona ‘So you is me father now, eh’ which in standard English is ‘so you are my father now. Micheal Anthony chose to do this to add to the effect of being on the island of Trinidad. An important event that happened in ‘The Grave By The Handpost’ is when sergeant Holway receives a letter from from his son Luke Holway telling him how much he hates him and it is his fathers fault why he despises his life, this was a key thing because this was the cause of sergeant Holway committing suicide.

Another key event that happened in the story is when Luke went off to join the army after his father had committed suicide Luke left the reburying of his father to the men of the choir to do. But they were frightened that when they dug up the grave at the crossroad they would find that a stake (which would have been put through his heart to prevent the devil taking his soul) had been put through sergeant Holway heart which would make it impossible for the men of the choir to move sergeant Holway’s corpse.

So they left the body at the crossroads. A few years later Luke had come back and discovered that his father’s body had not been moved; this was a key event because Luke Holway thought he had restored his father’s honour but he hadn’t. Also a key moment in the story is when Luke Holway lived in a little cottage by himself because he was depressed about his father. Luke committed suicide because he wanted to join his father.

Luke left a note when he died saying he wanted to be buried at the crossroads beside his father but by the time the note was read his body was buried in the graveyard. This was an important factor because it shows the readers to what depth Luke Holway had sunk to during his depression and it also reveals how he never forgave himself for his father’s death. I think the most important events, which happened throughout ‘Drunkard Of The River’, are when Sona goes to Assing’s shop to collect his father but his father Mano gets angry and kicks him in the stomach.

This is an important event because it changes the mood of the story and makes Sona’s hatred for Mano build up even more inside. Another important event is when Sona and Mano are on the boat going home, but Sona arrives home by himself. When Sona’s mother asks where Mano is; Sona starts to panic and runs away. This is also a key event because it shows us that Sona had done something bad and that Sona could have possibly killed his father Mano.

Cite this page

'The Grave by The Handpost' by Thomas Hardy and 'Drunkard Of The River' by Michael Anthony. (2017, Oct 21). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-the-grave-by-the-handpost-by-thomas-hardy-and-drunkard-of-the-river-by-michael-anthony/

'The Grave by The Handpost' by Thomas Hardy and 'Drunkard Of The River' by Michael Anthony
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