The story that most struck me from the week's reading was Thomas Hardy's "The Son's Veto". Of course I was appropriately responsive to Hardy's obvious subject matter of class division in modern society; however, another thing that I found compelling was the drive of a mother's love for the affection of a disinterested child.
First off, Hardy effectively illustrates the follies of proper society throughout the story. Every interaction between Sophy and her son is formal and shallow. The story begins with a young son correcting the grammer of his mother, whom he considers inferior. An interesting symbolic interlude takes place at this moment when Sophy considers asking her son to wipe the remnants of the cake he was hiding off his mouth. Through this symbolic juncture Hardy attempts to illustrate the obvious hypocricies of the social heirarchyLater on, as Sophy lives her life of widow and her son gains a parochial education, he is mortified at the idea of his already meager mother loving a common merchant. Denied her love, Sophy dies sad and alone, mother to a "gentleman and lover of who would turn out to be most successful merchant in area.
The question that I constantly asked while i read the story was: why does Sophy care what her son thinks? We know that the son is against the proposed marriage for the sake of his own career, but why is Sophy so willing to be swayed by the ignorance of her absentee son? The only answer I can draw is that, although context clues tell us she does not favor her son or his behavior, she--as a mother--cares more about his happiness then hers. The question I leave the class with is this: although Sophy died alone and away from her love, was she still happy in the fact that her procreation acheived the success and status he so desperately wanted?