In she is ‘in the hand of

In Duffy’s poem
‘Thetis’ we are introduced to the titular character, who is also the narrator.
In the poem she is unable to live without being in the constant fear of being
attacked by the male figure that is dominating her. In contrast to how the
character of Tess conforms to the abuse and dominance that is placed upon her,
Thetis incessantly tries to escape the harsh reality of abuse that the male
figure tries to place upon her. In the first stanza Thetis is initially
portrayed as a sweet ‘bird in the hand of a man’. The imagery of a bird
suggests freedom and independence as a bird is able to roam the sky as freely
as they wish. However, this idea is juxtaposed by the fact that she is ‘in the
hand of a man’ which implies any freedom is dependent on whether he allows he
to be free or not.

 Whilst initially small and sweet Thetis is a
“bird in the hand of a man”. Her first form of “bird” shows the freedom that
the character believes she has with the ability to fly away if things become
too much for her. However this is juxtaposed with the fact that she is in the
“hand of a man” insinuating that her entire freedom is based upon what the
“man” decides to do and that essentially she is not really in control of her
own freedom and instead is just given the belief she is. This freedom is quickly
stripped from her by her dominator who abuses his power and “squeeze(s)” her
with his “fist”. This initial demonstration of violence makes it obvious that
she is not in control as much as she believes to be and makes her aware of the
posing threat of violence and dominance that men pose towards her. Similarly to
Tess the initial violation is what causes Thetis to become more cautious and
wary of men. However in Hardy’s novel the character of Tess never truly has any
form of freedom with her decisions constantly being manipulated to suit the
needs of the male characters in her life (i.e. her father, Alec, Angel).


In contrast to how
the character of Tess finds independence and freedom from her male dominator at
the end of the novel due to her murder of Alec the character of Thetis gives in
to the dominance she has been experiencing and 


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