Who are the victims in the Withered Arm?
Throughout the story Mr Lodge seems to be punished by a divine power but also by Rhoda Brooks who’s seeking her revenge. Mr Lodge is indirectly punished by Mrs Lodge’s withered arm. This seems very painful for him and the fact that he thinks that it “might be a judgement from heaven upon him”, suggests that he feels very guilty and helpless in the face of a mysterious divine power. This mysterious power seems to punish him for his own superficial and selfish behaviour. This makes him victim of his own actions. Mr Lodge is also punished by not having a son with Gertrude, he fears that it might also be a judgement from heaven upon him. Therefore it is most likely that he will be the last of a family who has occupied the valley for some two hundred years. At that time securing the line was a big deal. Unfortunately, the fact that the boy who’s supposed to be hanged is his only son that he had with Rhoda, suggests that he will not have anyone to inherit his land and therefore, Farmer Lodge sells all his land and dies miserable soon later.
The son of Farmer Lodge and Rhoda is a victim of his father’s selfishness. The fact that Mr Lodge fails to recognise his son from the carriage makes us pity the boy. He takes “no outward notice of the boy whatever”, suggests that the farmer has disowned his son.
In conclusion, everyone has suffered one way or another as they pay the price of Mr Lodges’ mistakes and these punishments are inflicted on them to punish not so much them but Farmer Lodge who is the main victim of this sad story.
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