• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the ways in which Hardy uses the past in the novel The Mayor of Casterbridge

Extracts from this document...


Explore the ways in which Hardy uses the past in the novel "The Mayor of Casterbridge" Thomas Hardy wrote the novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' in 1886. Hardy wrote at a time when Britain was industrialized and set his own novels three or four decades earlier. This could reflect his interests from the past. Hardy uses the past to create many different meanings and ideas in his novel using characterisation, language, historical and social background. One way in which Hardy uses the past is to show how characters past can come back to affect their present, Newson's return is an example of this. As a reader, we grow gradually to like Henchards character more because we are able to sympathize with him as things between himself and Elizabeth-Jane appears to be going well, the relationship between one another is starting to re-build. As Henchard builds up affection for Elizabeth-Jane and treats her as his own daughter, however this is the time in which the real father, Newson, decides to visit Henchard. Nontheless the reader knows that her real father has returned. This juxtaposition creates dramatic irony , as the timing is such a coincidence and is bound to cause more drama. The knock on the door of Newson destroys Henchards and Elizabeth-Jane's bond. This also creates ironic juxtaposition. Henchard could possibly be envious of Newson as he knows Newson could potentially break the relationship, Henchard does not want to give up Elizabeth-Jane as everything had been taken away from him and he wants to hold on to protect her. ...read more.


He approaches business with a modern attitude. Farfrae keeps the business account books in perfect order, not hesitating to work late doing it. Hardy uses the physical and behavioral differences between Henchard and Farfrae to illustrate his preference of the past. Chapter 6 opens with a description of the young Scotsman, who is "ruddy and of a fair countenance, bright-eyed, and slight in build." Compare this description to that of Michael from Chapter 5 "a man... of heavy frame, large features... his general build being rather coarse than compact." The two men are complete opposites in physical appearance. Henchard is rooted in the heart of Casterbridge, the old world. Where as Farfrae is from Scotland and has been around the world, we associate him with the 'new world'. Henchard's way of working is old and crude, "ill do it", and that would be the deal with Henchard, it would be done without complication. However with Farfrae he needed letters and figures for deals. Farfrae is everything Henchard would love to be, and loves to pretend that he is. This initially causes Henchard to admire and like Farfrae, but it eventually leads to jealousy and resentment. Across the whole novel the new tends to replace the old. ' as in all such cases of advance, the rugged picture quinces of the old method disappeared with its inconsistencies'. ...read more.


tends to be very old fashioned, like the past is still clutching onto the town and wont let go. The first time Elizabeth-Jane sees Casterbridge she says "what an old fashioned place it seems to be", this suggests that Casterbridge is different to any other towns in the country. I think Hardy intended the novel to be only set in old traditional times, as he said "at that time...untouched by the fainted sprinkle of modernism", this tells us that Hardy really wanted to include the setting of a past town that was not in the slightest bit modern. The over all setting was described as" the complement of the rural life around, not its urban opposite". The houses in Casterbridge were said to have "old fashioned fronts" and that they are " older than old fashioned backs". The physical appearance of Casterbridge is presented as unchanging, unlike the relationships within the town. Some things don't change, and maybe Hardy finds it comforting. Hardy uses many different techniques to convey the use of the past in the novel. He uses past to show how characters change during the novel. The past in the Mayor of Casterbridge can give certain places a character. Through his knowledge of architecture the past gives a sense of realism and distinguishes plause in the novel. The past creates many different ideas, such as irony, shape to current events, appropriate setting and atmosphere for key moments in the novel. Hardy uses all of these techniques appropriately to create an outstanding novel. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Brother Sebastian in the novel Lamb by Bernard Mac Laverty

    In the novel the weather is used to show when things are going well and when things are going bad. When Michael's money starts to disappear the weather around them becomes poor with wind and rain. The reader easily notices the technique used and naturally become tensed.

  2. The Whole Town's Sleeping, Lavinia Nebbs

    Her hands were clutched across her chest with blood dripping from her finger tips and knuckles. Her mouth was wide open as she was choking, trying to speak. The smell of soup in the kitchen made me feel sick. Everything around me was silent.

  1. Discuss How Shakespeare uses Dramatic Techniques to

    Lady Capulet does care for Juliet, but she herself believes that grieving is a pointless process. This may be because she doesn't truly love Lord Capulet as she is happy to hear the proposal of Paris to Juliet. This may be because Lady Capulet was not allowed to marry for

  2. Mayor of CasterBridge Essay

    Henchard treats his family like his possessions instead of equals. With Henchard being so impulsive and saying the first thing that comes to him it would seem that he deserves anything that comes to him as a result of it.

  1. Sins of the Past

    Taylor turned to Rachel, "you're right." He smiled. Suddenly all of the Boeing 747's lights flashed red and a large alarm blared. "What's happening?" Rachel exclaimed. "That's the impact alarm!" Taylor yelled above the deafening noise, "We've got to get to the pod!" Taylor took Rachel's hand and dragged her across the office.

  2. Question on the novel The Turn of The Screw

    Is Miles right when he calls the Governess a 'devil'? Consider the view that it is the governess herself that is the route of all the evil. Miles has a strong case when he calls the governess a 'devil'. The governess falls in love with the children, almost instantly, because

  1. Explore the ways in which Thomas Hardy uses setting to help portray Tess feelings.

    Furthermore, in chapter 14 Hardy uses personification to display Tess' current state. 'The luminary was a golden-haired, beaming, mild-eyed, God-like creature, gazing down in the vigour and intentness of youth upon an earth that was brimming with interest for him.'

  2. Its my Business

    Maybe he is searching for something, maybe some kind of documents. After two miniut of searching, he spots me, or maybe to check the wardrobe. He slowly walks towards me. My heart is pounding so hard that I think it might explode!

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work