Hire writer
Paper Types
Disciplines

Marital Relations in “The Workbox”, Reaction Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 416

Reaction Paper

Thomas Hardy’s “The Workbox” uses symbolism to address issues of death and marital fidelity.  Working on multiple levels, it ostensibly tells the story of a husband who presents his wife with a gift that unintentionally causes her discomfort.  The revelation that the wood used to make the workbox was also used to build a coffin draws a distinct parallel between love and death.  Thus, the symbolic nature of the workbox and the mysterious figure of John Wayward speaks to the secrets that are hidden in all relationships and the subtle ways in which men and women deal with issues of trust and power.

The character of the wife demonstrates the multiple levels of meaning in “The Workbox.” She is a very feminine figure, engaging in domestic tasks like sewing, and reacts in a stereotypically female manner when her husband tells her about John Wayward’s coffin.  Although the wife reacts strongly, causing her husband to ask “But why do you look so white, my dear/And turn aside your face?” (Hardy 21-22), her mysterious response suggests, perhaps, that she knew Wayward back in her “native place” (24).  While Hardy does not state overtly that the wife was unfaithful, her strong reaction to Wayward’s name implies that the wife is far from the doting and domestically-inclined helpmate that she first appears.

The husband is also a complex figure whose intentions in building his wife a workbox may not be entirely positive.  The connection that is made between the coffin and the workbox exists, on one level, as a subtle threat from husband to wife.  When his wife states that the gift will “last all my sewing years!” (8), the husband not only agrees with her but suggests that it might outlast her, musing that creating the box made him think of the brevity of life “where people eat and drink” and can soon enough be “in a tomb” (19-20).

John Wayward is the mystery which binds this couple together while he also drives them apart.  His name alone is suggestive of infidelity, and the unknown cause of his death speaks to the unspoken secrets behind husband and wife.  This connection is strongly emphasized by the suggestion, in the poem’s conclusion, that the wife “had known not only John/But known of what he died” (39-40).  The lack of clear resolution surrounding this mystery demonstrates the unknowable aspects of marriage, and the subtle ways in which secrets can undermine the marital bond.

Works Cited

Hardy, Thomas. “The Workbox.” Poemhunter. 10 Apr 2010. Web. 14 Sept 2011.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Reaction Paper Samples & Examples

Two Dimensions of Inequality, Reaction Paper Example

Introduction This paper examines the subject of inequality in early Boston MA.  Particular focus is made upon social class and ethnic diversity. Social Class In [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 563

Reaction Paper

The Stages of Language Development in Young Children, Reaction Paper Example

This chapter seeks to explore the stages of language development in young children. By examining how children enter into and utilize the four main aspects [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 587

Reaction Paper

Descriptive Research, Reaction Paper Example

Descriptive research refers to five types of applied research which are correlation, longitudinal, case study, ex post facto, and survey. Correlation research looks for relationship [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 421

Reaction Paper

Understanding and Analyzing Experimental Research, Reaction Paper Example

In this article, the author observes that the purpose of experimental research is generally to observe cause and effect relationships (Creswell, 2008). Yet, the author [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 344

Reaction Paper

How Children Learn, Reaction Paper Example

Introduction This paper explores concepts of how children learn and provides a personal reaction with evidential opinions that support this. How Children Learn It was [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 634

Reaction Paper

Medication Safety in Children, Reaction Paper Example

Introduction The purpose of the reflection paper is to provide a summary of the project, to consider my role and involvement in the project, to [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1276

Reaction Paper

Two Dimensions of Inequality, Reaction Paper Example

Introduction This paper examines the subject of inequality in early Boston MA.  Particular focus is made upon social class and ethnic diversity. Social Class In [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 563

Reaction Paper

The Stages of Language Development in Young Children, Reaction Paper Example

This chapter seeks to explore the stages of language development in young children. By examining how children enter into and utilize the four main aspects [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 587

Reaction Paper

Descriptive Research, Reaction Paper Example

Descriptive research refers to five types of applied research which are correlation, longitudinal, case study, ex post facto, and survey. Correlation research looks for relationship [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 421

Reaction Paper

Understanding and Analyzing Experimental Research, Reaction Paper Example

In this article, the author observes that the purpose of experimental research is generally to observe cause and effect relationships (Creswell, 2008). Yet, the author [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 344

Reaction Paper

How Children Learn, Reaction Paper Example

Introduction This paper explores concepts of how children learn and provides a personal reaction with evidential opinions that support this. How Children Learn It was [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 634

Reaction Paper

Medication Safety in Children, Reaction Paper Example

Introduction The purpose of the reflection paper is to provide a summary of the project, to consider my role and involvement in the project, to [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1276

Reaction Paper