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Explore Thomas Hardy's use of letters in 'Far From The Madding Crowd'. Do you think they are successful literary devices?

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Explore Thomas Hardy's use of letters in 'Far From The Madding Crowd'. Do you think they are successful literary devices? In 'Far From The Madding Crowd' there are several letters that are important and change the course of the novel in one way or another. I am going to focus on what I consider to be the four key letters in the novel. They not only advance the plot, but also give the reader a much greater insight to the personalities of the characters. They reveal their emotions when writing the letter, and we can also learn a lot about the characters by observing their reactions when they read the letters. This novel is about a young woman called Bathsheba who gains control of her uncle's farm. She has effectively gone from rags to riches and a lot of the story focuses on the relationship between her and Gabriel Oak, a 28 year old bachelor. When they met Gabriel was the one that owned his own farm, and Bathsheba was the poor one who lived with her aunt. But soon Bathsheba takes control of her uncle's farm because he died, and Gabriel has no-where to live and no money because there was a fire in which he lost everything. The first letter is written by Bathsheba and sent to Boldwood, a well-mannered and rich 40 year old gentleman farmer who is well respected. ...read more.


She also says 'I am going to be married to the man who has courted me for some time - Sergeant Troy' and 'I should be much obliged if you would keep the contents of this letter a secret for the present.' I think that she asked for it to be kept as a secret because she knows that Boldwood thinks so little of Troy. This is shown when Gabriel asks him what sort of man Troy is because Boldwood says 'I'm afraid not one to build much hope upon in a case such as this.' Gabriel shows Boldwood the letter because he knows that Boldwood cares for Fanny - he looked after her when she was little. Fanny obviously feels certain that Troy will marry her whereas Boldwood does not trust her in the slightest and is expecting Troy to let her down. He is disappointed and says 'Silly girl - silly girl'. This is because in the letter she seems so happy, and he hates the idea of her getting hurt. Boldwood tries to help Fanny as much as he can. He speaks to Troy because he has an idea which will stop Fanny getting hurt. He says to Troy 'Marry Fanny. I'll make it worth your while', 'I'll settle a sum of money upon her, and I'll see that you don't suffer from poverty in the future'. ...read more.


The fact is, I am thinking of leaving England.' After hearing this Bathsheba cry's 'Leaving England!' in 'surprise and genuine disappointment'. This is awful news for Bathsheba who says 'what shall I do without you?' She began to think of Gabriel a lot, and she sincerely wished that he wasn't going to leave. A few weeks later Bathsheba received a formal letter which asks her 'not to renew his engagement with her' She decided to pay Gabriel a visit. She was upset because she thought that the letter meant that he had decided to leave, when what the letter really meant was that he wanted to marry her. The story ends with Bathsheba and Gabriel getting married. Each of the four letters have a major effect on the lives of the characters involved. However a couple of the letters were not the best decisions for the characters to make. For example, the letter that Bathsheba sent Boldwood wasn't really necessary because she shouldn't really have gone so long without making a final decision, and Boldwood should have accepted that she didn't want to marry him. He should also have been told that it was a joke right from the start. In the end it was only to be expected that Bathsheba and Gabriel would get married because he showed an interest in her right from the start, and she must have liked him and respected him because she always turned to him for advice. Paul Liscio 'Far From The Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy Y10 Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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