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Looking closely at the language, examine how Hardy presents the meeting between Bathsheba and Troy in Chapter 23 of Far from the Madding Crowd.

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Introduction

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy Task: a) Looking closely at the language, examine how Hardy presents the meeting between Bathsheba and Troy in Chapter 23. Text: Far from the Madding Crowd� by Thomas Hardy The meeting between Troy and Bathsheba is the turning point in the novel. The name of the chapter (The same night-The fir plantation.) shows the reader that once Bathsheba has unwillingly half committed herself in marriage with Boldwood, she still carries on flirting the same night. It is ironic that she should meet her future husband on the night of her unconditional promise in marriage to Boldwood. In that small amount of time she has forgotten her talk with Boldwood. Surely it is not a coincidence that the placement of this chapter in the book is as it is. Even the name is no coincidence (That same night). Her meeting with Troy has a fairy tale quality about it. She does not meet her on the way to the shops or in the middle of the day but in a dark wood. Troy plays the part of the wolf, catching her unawares and overwhelming her. It is, perhaps significant that Gabriel Oak does not appear in chapter 23. We are told by Hardy that Gabriel had almost constantly preceded her in this tour every evening, watching her affairs �as any specially appointed officer of surveillance could have done� (p. 140). However, the one time that Gabriel does not do this Bathsheba gets into trouble by meeting Troy. Gabriel shows �tender devotion� to Bathsheba. ...read more.

Middle

The farm workers are astonished at this; �The men expired an audible breath of amazement�. �I shall be up before you are awake, I shall be afield before you are up, and I shall have breakfasted before you are afield. In short I shall astonish you all�. This phrasing and rhythm is very strong and very convincing. This speech again shows her confidence and her ability to cope. Bathsheba is the only female in the corn exchange (�the single one of her sex that the room contained�) but does not seem to mind. ��Tis a handsome maid, however, and she�ll soon get picked up�. Here the people in the corn market are discussing Bathsheba and assume that she will get married and hand over the farm for her husband to get picked up. This chapter alone shows that Bathsheba has a hard task ahead of her because of the men�s views of a woman farmer. The farm workers are convinced that she will �bring them all to the bad�. She goes against traditional ways; �Why only yesterday she cut a rasher of bacon the longways of the flitch!� (chapter fifteen). For the farm workers, any change is wrong. Bathsheba has a traditional man�s job. She is a woman farmer but she is not afraid to join in with the manual labour (helping with the shearing etc�). In this rural community responsibilities fall into two categories: the practical responsibilities and the moral responsibilities. ...read more.

Conclusion

Troy has now become the tutor. Bathsheba is astonished, amazed. During the sword exercise Hardy uses the words: �plump�, �succulent�, �luxuriant�. These words are used to describe the place but here they can all be related to a woman. There is a sexual and flirtatious undertone. Bathsheba feels guilty because she is sexually aroused. The tone of the conversation between Bathsheba and Gabriel when they are covering the ricks is not the tone of a conversation between a farmer and her farm worker; �Thank you for your devotion a thousand times Gabriel!�. Bathsheba claims that she does not love Gabriel but perhaps she feels something for him? At any rate she is relying on him more and more and he is beginning to play a larger part in her life. Even the name Oak is a clue to his character; English Oak is renowned for its strength and durability. It is reliable as is Gabriel. His Christian name also shows that he is an angel (the angel Gabriel). Bathsheba also plays the role of the victim. She is the victim of Gabriel�s criticism; �I can not allow any man to - to criticise my private conduct�. She gets very uptight when she hears the truth about herself; �you are greatly to blame for playing pranks upon a man like Mr Boldwood, merely as a pastime�. She feels very indignant that a man, she considers, inferior to her dares to criticise her. When Troy finds Fanny dead he immediately rejects Bathsheba. She becomes �the victim�. What has she done to deserve this rejection? She is jealous because Fanny is her rival in love even once she is dead. ...read more.

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