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Consider the validity of the statement 'Bathsheba Everdene is an effective feminist'.

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Consider the validity of the statement 'Bathsheba Everdene is an effective feminist'. Far From The Madding Crowd was set in the 1840s, at a time when women had very few rights. The Married Women's Property Act was not brought in until the 1870s, which meant that all women's earnings went to their husbands, and if they owned any property before marriage it would legally be transferred to her husband upon matrimony. Divorce laws heavily favoured men and a divorced wife could expect to lose any property she had brought into the marriage. When the act was introduced in 1870 it meant that women where allowed to keep up to 200 pounds of their earnings and to inherit personal property and small amounts of money, everything else belonged to their husband. Although not liberating in terms we understand today, the Married Women's Property Act represented a huge step forward for the women of the 19th century. When Thomas Hardy wrote this novel in 1872 these laws had already become the custom, but he deliberately set the novel before these laws came in. He set the novel in this time because the people who read this book would have known what life was like before the act. ...read more.


and the women alluded to seemed to be the mistress of some estate.' P 47 When Bathsheba and Troy get married, instead of Bathsheba going to live with Troy in the traditional way, Troy comes and lives at her farm with her. Bathsheba also stays the mistress of the farm and does not let Troy take over. This shows that she would not give up her life for a man she would just let him live in it. When Troy moves in he has very little power over the farm. He just has the respect from the workers because they have no choice. "Yes - I suppose so; but I feel like new wine in an old bottle here." P233 Hardy clearly illustrates that Bathsheba is a feminist from her bravery, near the beginning of the novel when Bathsheba is living with her aunt. On a cold night Gabriel decides to warm his hut up by covering the gap under the door to stop the draft and then closing the two vents on either side of the hut leaving the fire on. Gabriel knew that if he had the fire on at least one of the vents had to remain open, but he decided to close them just for a few minutes to allow the hut to warm. ...read more.


She also thinks herself, above others. When Gabriel paid her toll she didn't even say thank you. "But she has her faults" "Vanity." P13 The quote above is part of a conversation between the toll worker and Gabriel when they were talking of her beauty. When Troy dies she becomes weak and starts to rely on others to do her work. She is dejected and unlike her old self, as before she would help out with the jobs that needed doing but after Troy's death she would not do this. The only reason why she began to take interest in the farm again was because she had to. 'But she remained alone now for the greater part of her time, and stayed in the house, or at furthest went into the garden.' P376 In conclusion I would say that Bathsheba Everdene is a feminist woman but not consistently. She uses her beauty to get what she wants, which gives everybody the feeling that she is very insecure in herself. But I would agree that she is an effective feminist when this suits her objectives at the time and she is clearly happy to use her femininity to achieve her ends. Sarah Thomas ...read more.

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