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How effective is the opening chapter of the novel “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy.

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Introduction

How effective is the opening chapter of the novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy "Far from the Madding Crowd" is set in rural Victorian England. The town used in the novel is a fictional town called Weatherbury. As it is set in Victorian times there are no modern appliances and the fastest thing used in work was the horse. The novel is about a man called Gabriel Oak who falls in love with Bathsheba Everdene (who inherits her uncle's farm). It also features the other men in Bathsheba's life. Gabriel proposes to her first but is rejected. Bathsheba has two other admirers they are Mr Boldwood a local farmer and Sergeant Troy a soldier who wins her heart and they marry this saddens both of the other men. The novel ends in Bathsheba marrying Gabriel. The themes in the novel are of love and marriage and the natural world also plays a big part in the novel. Both the positive and negative sides of love are shown. Gabriel love for Bathsheba is honest and kind even though she rejects him. ...read more.

Middle

He is a man in harmony with nature and enjoys being in the countryside. The story follows the rhythms of life in the countryside, where the time and seasons can only be told by nature. Gabriel is clever in the way he can tell the time by the positions of the sun and his way with nature. He was the only person who could save Bathsheba's flock of sheep. His natural rhythms protect him against the tribulations he faces. I don't think he expressed a lot of emotion during the novel as he is a laid back man. Another main character is Bathsheba Everdene. At the beginning of the book we saw Bathsheba secretly admiring herself in the mirror and then smiling. This is an example of how vain she is a she knows she is very pretty. As we see later on in the book this is a major fault in her personality. Bathsheba seems to be attracted to bright colours, especially the colour "crimson". As we see it in her own clothes, the sealing wax of the Valentines Day card, and Troy had a crimson uniform. ...read more.

Conclusion

The colour red plays a big part in the novel. It was the colour of Troy's uniform which helped show the reader the evil side of him. The red sealing on the Valentines card, brings out Boldwood's passion for Bathsheba. The book also follows a lot of biblical terms; there is a glossary in the back for all the words not used today. Gabriel the name is just one example of a biblical term. The opening chapter of the novel is effective in that it summarises the plot, creates the setting (the countryside in rural Victorian England). It introduces two of the main characters, Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene. The first chapter shows us a good description of Gabriel Oak, giving the reader and understanding of how symbolic his name is. There is also a good introduction to the character Bathsheba and shows the vain side she has. However as the rest of the novel is filled with catastrophes and action the first chapter doesn't really have any of this in it. It is more about introducing the main characters and getting the reader adapted to the dialogue used. As the novel was intended to be published episodically it was important that the opening chapter did make people want to read on. Rebecca Johnson ...read more.

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