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A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy What is revealed about the character of Elfride Swancourt in chapters VI-X ?

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Introduction

A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy What is revealed about the character of Elfride Swancourt in chapters VI-X ? Throughout the novel Elfride is viewed through the eyes of those around her Hardy uses them to put across his ideas on the nature of women, by making the thoughts, dialogues and descriptions, a representation to his thoughts and ideas. It is hard to distinguish whether his thoughts on Elfride represent Elfride's character or the traits of all women in the novel and in the society of that era. At the beginning of chapter six we are at the residence of Lord Luxellian. Elfride, Stephen and Mr. Swancourt are checking the house. The first time we see Elfride's thoughts are when she sees Stephen kissing another woman on the lawn. The quotation "Her unpracticed thoughts were occupied..." is a prime example of Hardy's use of adjectives to describe Elfride's nature. The word "unpracticed" implies that her mind is unused and distracted, and also that her mind is not developed as of yet and this symbolises her immaturity. Elfride's thoughts move on "Elfride at once assumed that she could not be an inferior". In this quotation she makes a comparison of class between herself and Stephen. She regards herself as superior to Stephen, but only due to her father's wealth. ...read more.

Middle

We then unearth that she loved him for being "docile and gentle" but he is dissatisfied with this comment but is still willing to marry her. Hardy then sets up the story line for later in the novel by making a reference to the "Court of King Arthur's Castle" the novel written by Elfride. Elfride then tests his love for her by asking who he would rather save, herself or Knight (Stephen's good friend and tutor). We are shown again her playful side when she says " 'And let him drown. Come on or you don't love me!' she teasingly went on..." Hardy uses the adverb "teasingly" to imply that anything she says is not real and not as important as anything Stephen says. When he has given in to her, "a woman's flush of triumph lit her eyes." This once again indicates that Elfride is playing a game with Elfride. But this "triumph" maybe Elfride confirming their mutual love. In Chapter eight we find out about Stephen's background but there is first a reference to the missing earrings after Stephen has been out looking for it: "Never mind though I am much vexed; they are my prettiest." This quotation is an indication of Elfride's vanity as she is more interested because they were her "prettiest" and not their sentimental value. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stephen contemplates leaving Endlestow to earn money but Elfride is unhappy with this and tries to persuade him to stay with her. He argues that once he has worked to make a name for himself her father will allow their marriage but she disagrees and believes that "...now is as good a time as any!" She then argues that other women will seduce him but he declines this argument. This may have been said because if Stephen is not around to be a constant reminder of their love then she might go a stray as she later does. Her arguments are passionate as Elfride seems to be really speaking from her heart. Throughout the text Elfride is viewed and assessed by the reader. We can conclude that Hardy's views of women are in some cases portrayed in the character of Elfride. Hardy sees women as objects of desire by men, as Elfride is seen by Stephen. Her character is playful seeing that the world is a game. She is very simple and takes things at face value although she is able to delve deeper in arguments. Her nature is very whimsical and spontaneous as she takes what she wants because she is so desirous. Although she is na�ve, she is inquisitive. It is quite obvious that these characteristics do not always refer to all women but are just a few that Hardy dwells on to portray Elfride. Keval Chandarana 4U 21/1/2000 1 ...read more.

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