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Explore Hardy's presentation of Bathsheba Everdene in "Far From The Madding Crowd". Do you think that she is a woman of or out of her time?

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Introduction

Explore Hardy's presentation of Bathsheba Everdene in "Far From The Madding Crowd". Do you think that she is a woman of or out of her time? Aspects of Bathsheba Everdene's temperament are made apparent from her first appearance in the book, and are developed and further demonstrated throughout the course of Far From The Madding Crowd. Bathsheba undergoes changes in her character, which influence her behaviour with other characters, and how she responds to comments made about her or to her. Although Bathsheba's name remains oblivious to both the reader and Farmer Oak throughout the first few chapters of the book, it signifies aspects of the storyline. Bathsheba, in biblical terms was the wife of Uriah. She committed adultery with David, and later married him, after he ordered the murder of Uriah. In terms of Far From The Madding Crowd, Bathsheba is the wife of Troy. She later marries Oak, after Farmer Boldwood (who loves her) murders Troy, Bathsheba's wife. Bathsheba is in possession of many attributes, which both enhance her character, and in some cases deteriorate it. These characteristics are made evident by some of the techniques Hardy uses when writing the novel. We are given insights into the minds of different characters and scenes in which one character observes another without being seen. The use of an omniscient narrator, and the way Bathsheba responds to her surroundings also play an important role in the presentation of Bathsheba's character. ...read more.

Middle

This haughtiness, derived from some sense of superiority in Bathsheba shows her character as arrogant and immature. Other attributes that draw Bathsheba into precarious positions are her stubbornness and her determination to achieve independence. Upon catching her bailiff stealing, she instantly dismisses him, and takes total managerial control over her farm. This reveals yet another of her weaknesses-impulsiveness. Her impulsive character is further demonstrated by her agreeing to marry Troy straight away, without much thought or without asking anyone. Although her refusal to seem weak or undignified shows her pride, it also shows her to be brave. Hardy demonstrates Bathsheba's immaturity and irresponsibility by the way he makes her react to Gabriel's proposal. She runs after him, and leads him on, and then turns him down. Bathsheba treats the situation as if it were a game. She answers his offerings by saying, "Yes I should like that", and "Dearly I should like that". This incident also indicates cold heart, whether intentionally or unintentionally. By the statement, "Well, what I mean is that I shouldn't mind being a bride at a wedding, if I could be one without having a husband", indicates that Bathsheba would like a bride's opportunity of showing off, but not the responsibilities connected with marriage. Thus, another method Hardy uses to portray Bathsheba's character is her speech, and actions. One of Bathsheba's most notable strengths is her bravery. Her courage, coupled with her quick thinking allows Bathsheba to save Gabriel Oak's life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bathsheba shows signs of her unconventionality, by leaning back on her saddle in a very dangerous way. This method of riding would not have been seen before. It is un-lady like, and would not have been expected from anyone, let alone a woman. Assumptions are made in the book, that a farmer would have always been a male in the time. In chapter six, when Gabriel has jut helped put out the fire, he asks, "Where is your master the farmer?" and is startled to learn, "T'isnt a master; 'tis a Mistress, Shepherd". His reaction to this, "A woman farmer?" is used by Hardy to show that Gabriel has immediately assumed that it is a male farmer (as would have been expected in the mid 19th century) and when he finds out that it is a female farmer, he is astonished. The very fact that that there is a question mark after, "A women farmer" shows that he is not simply repeating what he has been told, but is repeating it in disbelief. At the corn exchange, Bathsheba is the only female, ("the single one of her sex that the room contained") which shows that the rest of the farmers were male, and thus that she is the only woman farmer. The people in the corn market, whilst discussing Bathsheba, "Tis a handsome maid, however, and she'll soon get picked up", assume that she will get married, and hand over the farm to her husband. These are not her attentions, and thus her intentions are unlike what would be expected of women of the time. 07/05/2007 Neha Shah 5B1 Far From The Madding Crowd 1/4 ...read more.

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