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Far from the madding crowd

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Introduction

English coursework Pre-1914 prose study Far from the madding crowd My initial thoughts on dealing with a substantial Victorian text such as 'Far from the madding crowd' were mixed. I was aware that even the basics such as sentence structure would be very different they ways of modern literature. This book was written about a different world, with different words to accompany it. One must expect that this book will demand a greater level of concentration and ongoing sustained effort. Although my first thoughts were varied, I looked forward to reading something of this calibre. The title suggests a 'want for retreat' possibly away from the industrialisation taking over Victorian England. This book is the first 'Wessex' novel, a series of books about fictional places. I feel that these names were given to create a partly mythical, vision of rural England, bringing back ideas from before the time of urbanisation, possibly showing the authors longing for a return to the world he grew up in. As a romantic novel, it contains even more of a complex relationship than a love triangle, a love square! Hardy takes to using pathetic fallacy to put across his ideas which he can relate to nature to avoid offence in Victorian England. Other rural writers may use it to express themselves using ideas connected with the world they know, which is nature. ...read more.

Middle

However she had a chance encounter with an exciting young Sergeant Troy, Who seems to be everything Boldwood isn't. Since their in initial meeting, he advanced his pursuit of Bathsheba, inviting her to see his 'sword practice'; the social taboo of illicit meetings of un-chaperoned couples only seems to increase her interest in this 'Casanova'. Troy takes the place of the attractive user, the cad, in typical romantic literature. When they do meet, in is in an isolated area, highlighting the breaking of the social taboo, going against the ideas of the church, committing great sin. This is emphasised with the title of the chapter. Hardy uses personification from the start of the chapter, with the title 'Hollow amid the ferns', using this to sexually symbolise the woman. We are given many other images emphasising the male/female symbolism using the female image of a 'hollow and the ferns' in the title, 'their soft feathery arms caressing her' expressing her imagined intimacy with Troy. Then with the male symbolism coming into use, with Troy's demonstration with the 'raised' sword, which 'like a living thing' both cuts and 'thrusts'. This phallic symbolism is used to express ideas seen as controversial at the time. In this chapter, we see the characters take on typical Romantic novel stereotypes, Troy taking a fascination with Bathsheba and exercising male dominance over her, 'she felt powerless to withstand or deny him'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bathsheba compares her mental state to that of Gabriel, the farm hand when she watches him going to pray before bed, he is at peace with himself. Bathsheba is in a state of confusion, not knowing where she should go or what she should think. Gothic horror is included into the novel, with the gruesome subject matter, a dead illegitimate baby, being hinted at not described. This was written in the era of Gothic horror so Hardy could have been inspired by many great writers of the time. A new, more gruesome love triangle has arisen... with the dead Fanny, Troy and Bathsheba. Troy seemingly now on a mission to destroy Bathsheba, fuelled by the own torment he is feeling at the loss of his love. He deceives himself, saying he never felt anything for Bathsheba and that Fanny would always have his love. This is an example of how people are thought differently of when they are dead; as when she was alive he didn't confess these feelings. In conclusion I have enjoyed reading this novel as it was different and a change from the typical twenty first century texts I am used to reading; it has helped me to see how literature has changed over time. I found it difficult to read, although I slowly gained confidence reading the text. Overall I enjoyed reading the book and may be tempted into reading others by Hardy. ...read more.

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