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How is Gabriel Oak portrayed to the reader as a heroic character in the opening chapters of the novel?

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Emmily Nonas 10W Coursework 22.10.2004 How is Gabriel Oak portrayed to the reader as a heroic character in the opening chapters of the novel? In the novel Far from the Madding Crowd written by Thomas Hardy, I will be observing in detail the main character, Gabriel Oak a young, sheep farmer. I am going to determine how he is described as a heroic character in the first seven chapters. Gabriel Oak is portrayed to the reader as a heroic character in several different ways. In chapter one, there is no action or events. Alternatively, in the first paragraph, there is a description of Oak, which is mainly focused on his broad smile. His smile is compared using a simile, 'like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.' This immediately implies that he is a cheerful, good-natured character. Secondly, he is referred to with many different names. Farmer Oak illustrates his status, respect and authority. His Christian name, Gabriel has a reference towards the bible, as Gabriel was the good angel of God. Lastly, his surname, Oak, this may refer to wood as Oak is strong and durable which may represent his strength and durability. ...read more.


He made many preparations; he cleaned his silver watch chain, put new laces on his boots and searched thoroughly for a nice, new walking stick. Gabriel also dressed smartly, he found a new handkerchief, put an elegant waistcoat on and smoothed hair-oil on his hair. A simile is used when describing how much hair-oil was put on his head ' making it stick to his head like a mace round a nutmeg.' This implies that he really was trying with his appearance putting hair-oil on, although there was so much on his hair that it stuck to his head. When Bathsheba refused his request to marry him, we feel sympathy towards Oak as he made such an effort to make a good impression. When the tragedy of losing his two hundred ewes took place, his first thought was of the suffering of the sheep. This shows he is caring. His second thought was of the farmer who gave him the sheep, and how he had no insurance. This illustrates that he worries about pleasing other people. His third thought was of Bathsheba and relief in her refusal to marry him. This shows that he is selfless. ...read more.


When the fire occurred at Everdene Farm, there was no hesitation from Farmer Oak for his own safety. He immediately went to help with the fire and even burns his smock frock. He demonstrated that he was organised and took control almost instantly. This gave him an air of authority. His leadership ability was appreciated greatly, he efficiently told everybody what had to be done to help and soon the fire was under control. Without Gabriel's good sense and bravery the fire would have been unmanageable. Oaks courage was admired by all of the spectators and many compliments soon spread through the crowd. Once Gabriel had found out that Bathsheba was in need of a shepherd, he was not too modest to ask her. He did not let what happened in the past effect his decision in asking her for a job and did not seem embarrassed. This shows his respect towards people and shows that he is a highly regarded man. All these positive qualities show that Gabriel Oak is a reputable man and is willing to help anyone, even if he does not know them. It shows that he is courageous and not a proud man. All of which portray to the reader that Gabriel Oak is a heroic character. ...read more.

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