In “To Please his Wife,” Joanna is unhappy that she is in a lower class than Emily. She feels that there is no reason for this to happen and craves for social status so that she could be seen as more important than her mental rival – her best friend. This however leads to conflict with those around her. The main difference between the conflict in this story and in “The Parvenue” is that this type of conflict had come from just complete jealousy. Both the stories “To Please his Wife” and “The Half-Brothers” are quite similar as they are about characters who are jealous, however, only in “To Please his Wife,” does the character, Joanna attempt to fit into society to which leads to conflict.
When the narrator in “The Parvenue” became rich, she was faced with a dilemma. She couldn’t handle it and gave the money away to charity whereas the character Joanna from “To Please his Wife” wanted lots of money. These two characters are in direct contrast with each other. The narrator in “The Parvenue” is a kind and thoughtful woman who rather give money to the poor than to keep it herself but Joanna’s thoughts had made herself become very selfish and she would rather have her close ones suffering and working hard to gain the money for her just so she could get rich and to appear higher in society.
Character Flaws The characters are used to emphasise and exacerbate the problems and conflicts in the stories. In “To Please His Wife,” Thomas Hardy uses the character Joanna to portray his idea of the originator of conflict. Shadrach is a very decent man, hardworking but has a flaw which causes him to act wrongly. He is scared of his wife so he backs out of the conflicts which makes the matter worse as the wife takes advantage of this to gain more power and the conflict impact worsens.
Like Shadrach, Gregory from ” The Half-Brothers” has a flaw or weakness of being too decent and kind but the only difference was that the conflict was not caused because of his personality but because of the jealousy of his stepfather towards him. The husband of the narrator in “The Parvenue” did not make much effort in understanding his wife and what she does. Instead he becomes angry at her and asks her to choose between himself or her family. One flaw in his character forces those around him
In the three short stories, the conflicts had been caused by marriage, fuelled by wealth to end up as disaster. The main reasons behind the conflicts are often over money problems and jealousy. The ending of “The Half-Brothers” seemed more tragic compared to the other two stories as it was an extremely emotional and symbolic story. This results in the sympathetic attitude of the reader towards this character. Similarly, all three of these stories ended in a sad dramatic way and they were all set around the same time. This may suggest that during that time period, it involved a lot of conflicts.