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To what extent is “Far From the Madding Crowd” about obsession?

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Introduction

To what extent is "Far From the Madding Crowd" about obsession? Far From the madding crowd was written by Thomas Hardy and was first published in serial form in the Cornhill magazine in 1873. The structure of the story is therefore affected as each episode builds towards a dramatic moment or climax and crucial questions are raised. It was later published as a novel in 1874. Hardy's title is taken from the poem "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Grey. It suggests that the countryside is a calm place brimming with tranquillity, far away from the mayhem of city life. Ironically, it couldn't paint a less precise picture, as life in the countryside turns out to be just as lively and hectic as in the city. Many of the characters experience several obsessions throughout the novel. These obsessions affect them on several levels and their combination leads to an interesting plot. The main character in the novel is Bathsheba Everdene. In addition to having obsessions of her own, she is also the subject of obsessions from various other characters. These include Oak, Boldwood and Troy. ...read more.

Middle

However, Oak's perseverance and patience prevails as Bathsheba eventually responds truthfully to his feelings towards her and the couple marry happily at the end of the novel. This is one of the few obsessions in the book that has a positive outcome and perhaps this is purposeful as Hardy wanted to emphasise how dangerous obsession can be. Farmer Boldwood's stillness is the most striking part of his character. He is a serious man who leads a dignified life and is therefore deeply affected when his mistress Bathsheba sends him an unexpected Valentine. Although he appears reserved, Bathsheba's maid Liddy warns her mistress that the insincere Valentine will "worry him to death". Perhaps this is because it is common knowledge that a distant relative of Boldwood's went mad and subsequently Boldwood cannot take things lightly. Boldwood has no real passionate feelings for Bathsheba before she sends him the Valentine, but when he receives the declaration of Bathsheba's love, it sparks off the beginning of an intense obsession. Boldwood struggles to cope with the extreme emotions that sweep over him; his sheltered childhood in a society where different sexes were kept apart, means he is completely unprepared to deal with his obsession logically. ...read more.

Conclusion

She arranged to meet him once more in a place of his choice, far away and difficult for Fanny to reach. She attempted the lengthy journey on foot but eventually her "steps became feebler" and it was clearly impossible for her to reach her goal. Her resolution to be with Troy was indubitably strong but the exhaustion and fatigue she felt was ultimately stronger. Willing and ready to be with Troy even if it killed her, a few of Fanny's last words were, "If I could only get there! Perhaps I shall be in my grave before then". Tragically, the next time Troy set eyes on Fanny she was, indeed, in her coffin. Therefore it is fair to say that obsession killed Fanny Robin. An obsession can take over a person's every waking thought; it can drive them and people around them to despair and can even cause them to kill another or themselves by simply trying to fulfil that obsession. These things happened in varying degrees of seriousness to every character in "Far From the Madding Crowd" which therefore suggests obsession is a key feature of the Novel. The variety of obsessions in the novel highlights the many different forms in which people can be obsessed. 1 Jo Cunliffe 10B ...read more.

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