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Analyse the first two chapters of 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' and discuss how far they act as a prologue to the rest of the novel.

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Introduction

Analyse the first two chapters of 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' and discuss how far they act as a prologue to the rest of the novel In 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' the opening two chapters are a good indicator of Hardy's style and act as a prologue to the rest of the novel. Hardy's style places considerable focus on imagery and the scene around the characters. He used the writing techniques at this scene setting to help you understand the context in which the characters act. During the first chapter, Hardy describes Henchard as a 'fine figure, swarthy, and stern in aspect' however he is not named at first. It symbolises that this could be any man, or could relate to the reader in someway and makes the reader look at this character from a different angle as if we might know him rather then seeing him as Henchard. Susan Henchard, Henchard's wife, is described to be so faint as to be almost invisible; she becomes a less important part as the plot thickens. ...read more.

Middle

They are used to the quiet and simple way of life rather than the complex ways of the cities. Hardy illustrates the characters act in their setting by using lots of imagery. He uses nature's harmony to show human's disharmony. The description of the characters and their surroundings is excellently detailed, with use of a broad vocabulary. He uses description effectively. He draws the reader's attention to the characters by using strong imagery, showing nature's harmony, to represent the tension and strain on the marriage of the Henchard's, human's disharmony. The characters are similarly of their time period with their language, they use dialectal English as well as their regional accents. Henchard was very open about his marriage life while he was in his drunken state. He seemed to feel that marriage is the biggest mistake a man can make and that it is for fools. When the couple met the turnip-hoer, Henchard asked about work needed in the village. This is evidence to show, due to the industrial revolution, work in the country was short, and with all these new machines around, many homes were taken down. ...read more.

Conclusion

He uses varied sentences structure to keep the writing interesting. He continues this with a great variety of vocabulary making use of his education. The opening chapters are probably the most important parts of the story. By the terrible action of the wife sale, Henchard goes on to make himself a better man by vowing never to touch another drink the years he had lived. As he grows older, he has achieved himself a high position in life and his community. Susan did not change; she was still the same person, quiet, faint still she was almost invisible. This makes it her most crucial part to the novel. The time lapse seems interesting, as the setting changes but not the personality of the characters, excluding Henchard. This is where we met Elizabeth-Jane as a young adult but not Henchard's daughter but the sailor's, Newton. This novel and its opening chapters are a typical Hardy style. From looking closely at Chapters 1 and 2, it is clear that this is an unusual way to start a book but yet it is interesting. It encourages you to read on and find out more about the man the woman and the latter they carried with them as they walked into Weydon-Priars. Stephanie McClure ...read more.

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