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Far from the madding crowd

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How Does Hardy Create Difficult Conditions For Gabriel and Bathsheba? Far From the Madding Crowd was written by Thomas Hardy in 1874. It was his fourth novel and first appeared as a monthly serial in Cornhill magazine. It received critical reviews but mostly positive notes too. Hardy continued to add to his texts extensively and made further changes for the 1901 edition. Hardy stresses in his text the happiness of the time period in which the story was set. He did this in order to gain the audiences interests and to make sure the story line held a permanent place in the monthly magazine. He achieved this by using the audiences' imagination to such an extent as they were to imagine a life in the country side, which was regarded peaceful and tranquil. His targeted audience were people living in cities who wanted to hear about the rural paradise that he so successfully describes. Whilst Hardy's Dorset was only partially reality and partially fictional, it was still the life of the 17th century which he displayed in his novel. In some way, hardy makes the reader oblivious to the reality of life in the country in that period of time, which was in fact a time of hardship, starvation and squallier conditions. The Story is based mainly around the timid and unstable love shared between the two main characters Gabrielle Oak and Bathsheba Everdene. It is love at first sight for Gabriel from the very first moment he sets eyes on this dark haired beauty sat stationary on a mound of goods. Although clearly taken aback by her clear display of vanity as she, seemingly for no understandable reason, took a looking glass "to survey herself attentively," he looks back on the experience fondly, which just proves how enthralled he is by her. I find this unique quality Bathsheba posses extraordinary; she seems to have Gabriel enticed even before being properly acquainted with him. ...read more.


There is such a contrast in characters here, were there is Gabriel- thinks of himself virtually inadequate for Bathsheba and considers himself nothing outstanding, where as Bathsheba (although lower in social class) regards herself highly respectable and practically thinks of Gabriel unworthy for her! As Gabriel finds this 'girl racing after him, waving a white handkerchief', the only thought which may rush through one's mind, especially the one of Gabriel's, is that she had finally let down that barrier that for so long had been separating herself and Gabriel! Hardy creates a clear picture in the readers mind as to what is happening at this present moment by his clever use of imagery. We can just see it...Bathsheba running after Gabriel in the field, 'her face red and moist from her exertions' the way she waves her white handkerchief portrays a sign of peace and harmony as if to suggest that she wants to start over and all the games and tricks is of the past. Also how she not strolls or leisurely walks after him, but races, shows urgency and the necessity to reach him. After successfully building up to this climax in the story Hardy drops yet another obstacle in the way, for otherwise there would be no story. When it turns out that he had been misled and the actual reason for her running after him in that forward fashion was in fact to 'correct a piece of false news' that had been brought to Oak's ears, he falls from the very peak of his joy to utter dismay. It turns out she values her independence too much and him too little. 'I hate to be thought of men's property' she explains to Gabriel, but just make matters worse. This certifies that her most prized possession is in truth her independence. How she uses 'hate' shows that she feels very strongly and passionately about it as it is a very harsh and powerful word (rather like Bathsheba's character). ...read more.


When she, then, even decides to "have no bailiff at all, but to manage all with her own head and hands," the scrutiny of the others is completely obvious. No one could think it possible - a woman thinking that she was able to lead a farm all by herself, without experience and, of course, without the assistance of a man by her side. In the old days it was hard for a woman to fight her way through, yet Bathsheba, despite what many people think, manages quite nicely. Despite any social regulations of the time, Bathsheba manages to run her farm single handily and even make it a success. In this story, the farmers, despite their poor and problems, always had food, drink, warm clothes and a dry place to sleep even though, in reality, it probably wouldn't have worked out so nicely, as that was a time of hardship and shocking conditions. Bathsheba also makes it look very easy to fight her way through with willpower alone, although, truthfully, without a man by her side it would under normal circumstances have been very hard for her to reach anything. All in all, it was very hard for people from different social classes to mingle in the old times, and although hardy brings forward the outline for that time he doesn't display it as bluntly and with full truthfulness behind it. All good writers keep their readers intact and involved in the story, this is usually achieved by the build up of tension and suspense. Hardy does this successfully by setting lots of barriers that the characters must overcome and defeat. It is nerve wrecking as we are made travel through this rollercoaster of emotions. One thing that becomes clear whilst reading is that one can never be curtain what obstacles and problems may be thrown your way, but you can be curtain that whatever it may be, you shall always have a choice to make. ...read more.

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