Summary of The Son's Veto - Thomas Hardy

Summary of The Son's Veto - Thomas HardyOf the stories we have read thus far, I found Thomas Hardy’s The Son’s Veto to be the most interesting because it offers readers a very insightful critique of the social class system in-place in England during the nineteenth century. As the story begins we are introduced to the protagonist......

Sophy is working as a servant to rural vicar Reverend Twycott when she receives a proposal of marriage from gardener Sam Hobson, but she doesn’t accept him.

When she injures her foot in a fall down stairs, she thinks she will have to leave the vicarage, but Reverend Twycott (recently widowed) suddenly realises her worth and proposes to her, an offer which she accepts.

Feeling that he has committed ‘social suicide’ by marrying a servant, Twycott moves to a new ‘living’ in south London. They have a son, Randolph, who is sent to public school in preparation for Oxford or Cambridge, prior to taking up the ministry.

When Twycott dies, Sophy lives in a small house he had the foresight to provide for her. She is bored by the eventlessness of her existence, and estranged from her son, who has adopted a superior and critical attitude to his uneducated mother.

Eventually she meets Sam again when he is transporting vegetables to Covent Garden market. She tells him she is unhappy and wishes she were living back in the countryside. Their relationship comes to life again, and Sam proposes marriage to her for a second time.

She accepts in principle, even though by doing so she would lose the home and the living Twycott has provided for her. But she needs time to break the news to her son. When she does so, he forbids her to marry Sam because the shame of it would downgrade him in the eyes of his friends.

Sophy asks Sam to wait, and he does so for five years, after which he repeats his offer. Sophy renews her appeal to Randolph, who is now an undergraduate at Oxford. He forces her kneel down and swear that she will never marry Sam, claiming that he does this to honour the memory of his father.

Five years later Sam has become a prosperous greengrocer. He stands in his shop doorway as Sophy’s funeral procession passes by on its way to her home village. Randolph who has now become a priest scowls at Sam from the mourner’s coach.

Principal characters

  • Reverend Twycott widowed vicar in Wessex
  • Sophy Twycott his parlourmaid, then second wife
  • Randolph Twycott their son, a public school boy
  • Sam Hobson a gardener, then shopkeeper

1 comment:

  1. Thomas hardy has clearly expressed Victorian Age in the story.


Do leave your feedback on the comment box below.