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'Far from the madding crowd' is set in the late 1860s to the early 1870s in Wessex, a fictional county based heavily on Dorset.

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Introduction

Thomas hardy was born in 1840 in Dorset which is located near Dorchester. Hardy's first important novel was Far from the Madding Crowd in which he successfully adapted to a traditional form to his own purposes, slightly changing it in the process. His novel states the importance of man's connection to, and understanding of, the natural world. The story is set in an agricultural rural community. He viewed the industrial revolution as a major threat to the communities he loved. The main character in this novel is a shepherd who is called Gabriel, this gives off a very pastoral mood in the novel. The plot develops complications when Bathsheba has love for three different men. Gabriel Oak who is the shepphard embodies Hardy's ideal of a life in harmony with the forces of the natural world. Throughout the entire novel there are unusual twists and turns and in the end Bathsheba ultimately marries Gabriel, whom she had turned away so long ago. In the story of all Thomas Hardy's novels, both love and fate play major roles. In the first chapter we are introduced to Gabriel oak. He is a young sheppard. The main incident starts when Gabriel is walking in the countryside and he sees a wagon travelling down the road, and sees this young attractive woman is sitting on top if it. The Waggoner comes to a halt when they reached the gatekeeper and they had to pay a fee of three pence but the woman refused and only offered two pence. ...read more.

Middle

The girl seems narcissistic when she looked at herself in the swing looking glass. She likes what she sees, 'survey herself attentively. She parted lips and smiled'. In the third paragraph semantic fields are used (visual imagery). Hardy uses bright colours to describe the girl's personality. 'Sun lighted' 'scarlet glow and crimson jacket' these colours tell you that the girl has a strong, positive and passionate personality. The girl remains self conscious, she again looks at herself in the mirror, 'she blushed at herself, and seeing her reflection blush, blushed some more', this shows the girl is vain as well as narcissistic. The sentence structure echoes the reflective process of the mirror, the verb 'blushed' is repeated again and again When the two characters first meet in the novel Gabriel sees a carriage loaded with furniture on top of the hill and Bathsheba is sitting on top of it. He becomes interested in the lady sitting on top of the hill and as the carriage is about to leave he "followed the vehicle to the turnpike gate some way beyond the bottom of the hill, where the object of his contemplation now halted for the payment of the toll." Oak is obviously interested in the lady but the scene unfolds as Bathsheba decides not to pay the turnpike keeper the two pence that he wants. Gabriel approaches and gives the keeper the money. 'Let the young woman pass' Bathsheba is neither pleased nor dismissive of Oak yet because of him she has lost her point. ...read more.

Conclusion

The other character in this novel is Fanny Robin, who used to be a servant at the Wethearbury farm. The name Fanny Robin is very significant. I can see that from Fanny's surname that hardy wanted to create connotations to her surname and this was just the simplicity of her character. Robin gives an idea of an animal that is small, fragile and beautiful but is also vulnerable and timid. I can see that this tends to be true from when the novel is read further. There is also a reference to this in the novel to this, 'A slim, poorly clad girl'. To describe Fanny robin as a character she is a direct contrast to Bathsheba. Fanny Robin is blond and timid which fixes her second name 'Robin' and while this Bathsheba is dark and lively. Fanny is also a shadowy character and is adding mystery to the plot. When sergeant Troy fails to keep his promise to marry her, Fanny becomes upset and this is leading her to death because she is not strong enough in body or mind. Although when looking at which of Fanny's characteristics are significant it becomes most important to see that Hardy's aim in this situation of why Hardy introduced Robin to this story. Robin's death in particular shows the reader how Bathsheba has changed throughout the novel. When she learns of Fanny's death, she seems genuinely upset and does not seem to be relieved that her rival is dead. We can see that she has matured a lot and is less hasty, but calmer than she was when she was first introduced into the novel in chapter one. In Hardy's novels, fate plays a major part. ...read more.

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