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Examine the proposals of Oak and Boldwood to Bathsheba Everdene. Discuss how they differ and why she refuses them.

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Introduction

Examine the proposals of Oak and Boldwood to Bathsheba Everdene. Discuss how they differ and why she refuses them. Proposals are made to Bathsheba Everdene by two people in the early stages of Far from the Madding Crowd, both are rejected by Bathsheba but for different reasons. The first proposal is made by Gabriel Oak. He does this very early in the book. Bathsheba and Oak hardly know each other. They have met only a few times but Bathsheba has saved Oak's life. Before proposing Gabriel asks Bathsheba's aunt if she has any other young men around her at the time. She says yes " she must have a dozen". When she says this Gabriel leaves almost to suggest that he thinks if he has any competition for Bathsheba he will not be chosen by her. He was discouraged easily, considering he waited so long to see Bathsheba. He even thinks to himself that the only chance of getting Bathsheba is if he is first there, "and my only chance was in being the first comer". ...read more.

Middle

Bathsheba runs after Gabriel after he has spoken to her aunt. Gabriel gets the wrong impression from this. Oak told Mrs Hurst his plans of marriage for Bathsheba so when he sees her running after him he thinks she is coming to tell him that she wants marriage. He presumes this and asks her "When we be married". She of course does not want marriage but gives the wrong signal to him. She only makes the situation worse by saying that her aunt was wrong to say that she had many admirers. She lets him tell her what it will be like to be married to him before she bothers to tell him that she actually does not want to be married. Both of the refusals Bathsheba makes are connected to her position at the time. When Oak proposes she is not the rich lady she becomes. Oak lists all the things that he can offer to her like the "frame for cucumbers". ...read more.

Conclusion

Boldwood tries to persuade Bathsheba to marry him by offering her a relaxed lifestyle. He promises to take care of her and says if they are married she will have "no cares" of any money matters or having to work again. This is not at all what Bathsheba wants. She likes being an independent woman and although she does not decline the offer straight away it is only because her heart "swelled with sympathy" for Boldwood. Bathsheba declines both proposals but the two men do not want to take no for an answer. Bathsheba tries to persuade each of them that marriage would be wrong by saying that she does not love them. However both Boldwood and Oak are happy to have Bathsheba even if she does not love them back. Oak says that he is "content to be liked" while Boldwood says, "If you can love me say so. If not don't say no." It shows that Boldwood and Oak both love her so much that they do not mind not being loved by her, just being with her is enough to make them both happy. ...read more.

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