Old Mrs Chundle ニオケル ゼンイ ノ モンダイ : カタリ ノ ギホウ ト シンリ ビョウシャ
Goodwill in 'Old Mrs Chundle' : Narrative Technique and Psychological Descriptions
‘Old Mrs Chundle' by Thomas Hardy(1840-1928)was posthumously published in
1929. Unlike other serious novels and short stories, this short story is unexpectdly and
surprisingly very comical in some of its climaxes. This comical aspect of many of
Hardy's writings is perhaps a neglected one overshadowed by his other major tragic writings.
In the story the new curate happens to know Old Mrs Chundle, who is hard of hearing
and on this account has neglected to go to church for long years.She tells a lie to him
that she goes regularly to church for formality's sake. The curate later discovers her lie
and tries hard to make this 'wicked' Old Mrs Chundle to come to his church. His ideas
of setting up 'an ear-trumpet'and afterwards‘a sound tube',especially for the sake of
Old Mrs Chundle, somehow moves her to attend church.His ordeal,however,during his his
sermon caused by her fidgeting just under his pulpit and her stink breathings through the
sound tube, discourages him to continue his sermon.His ordeal,the 'test' for the
‘discernment of actions as morally good, or indifferent', appears in the eyes of the
people in the church as ‘miracle' or in fact a comedy.His goodwill heretofore for Old
Mrs Chundle quickly dwindles and he decidedly avoids meeting her.However her
sudden death and her‘will' full of her goodwill for him throws upon his soul a dark shadow.
In this paper some ironic aspects of goodwill on both sides are discussed in relation
with narrative technique and psychological descriptions.
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