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Using chapters 7, 11 & 40, Discuss how Hardy Presents Fanny Robin as the Ruined Maid in the Novel

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Introduction

Using chapters 7, 11 & 40, Discuss how Hardy Presents Fanny Robin as the 'Ruined Maid' in the Novel Thomas Hardy uses strong imagery and description throughout the novel to reflect on his characters situations, emotions and thoughts. He does this particularly with Fanny Robin, a young maid seduced by the villainous aspects of the novel, and his intelligent descriptions of both weather and setting allow the reader a clear insight into her characters tragic existence and ultimate ruination. We are first introduced to Fanny Robin in chapter 7 when the hero of the novel, Gabriel Oak, comes across her "slim", "thinly clad" form. She is introduced during the night and the darkness of the churchyard in which she resides could possibly signify death or warn the reader of future tragic events in store for her. Gabriel's abrupt reaction towards her sudden movement shows Oak's recognition of her being a conventional unfortunate maiden, shown through his heroic need to assist her. Hardy's description also suggests she is poor as she is "thinly clad" on such a cold night. "The voice was unexpectedly attractive; it was the low and dulcet note suggestive of romance; common in descriptions, rare in experience." Fanny Robin's voice is here described as "music", that Gabriel is keen to hear more of, and "unexpectedly attractive" for someone dressed so poorly and whom he would not expect to have such a voice. ...read more.

Middle

the light which usually signifies positivity and purity; she has been ruined by something unknown to the reader at the present time. "The bell was in the open air, and being overlaid with several inches of muffling snow had lost its voice for the time." The bell represents Fanny Robins and it being "in the open air" illustrates her vulnerability. Hardy then goes on to reveal that it was "overlaid with several inches of muffling snow" which signifies Fanny's increasing insignificance and decreasing strength as a bell is usually something clearly heard but now it almost cannot be heard at all. It shows how her fate is out of her control just as the weather affecting the bell is unpredictable and uncontrollable. In this chapter Fanny Robin is shown not out of place with her destitute surroundings, even trying to become part of it as her stature is "stooped" as if she is trying to be as unnoticed as possible. Hardy aids this by again not revealing her identity but by referring to her as a mere "form" and "spot" that only "seemed human". "The throw was the idea of a man conjoined with the execution of a woman. No man who had ever seen bird, rabbit, or squirrel in his childhood, could possibly have thrown with such utter imbecility as was shown here." ...read more.

Conclusion

Fanny never makes it to Casterbridge but tragically dies whilst having Troy's child in the poor house. Her death is extremely significant and marks her complete transformation into a 'ruined maid'; she dies whilst having an illegitimate child unknown to the father who left her poverty stricken in a world where she is insignificant and alone. Her death also has an almost domino effect as Hardy's theme of chance and fate spreads Fanny's tragic end onto the other characters leading to the ruination of Bathsheba and Troy's marriage. The truth is revealed about Fanny and her child and the blame is not placed on her but on Troy, the sole villain that ruined her. Fanny's utterly pitiful situation invokes the sympathy of even hard-headed Bathsheba; showing the intensity of her ruination. Throughout 'Far From the Madding Crowd', the meetings with Fanny Robin illustrate what happens to a person who unnoticeably falls through the crevices in society, who is neglected and transparent to humanity and so lives a brief life of poverty, ending in tragedy. Hardy uses a constant isolated and distant tone, never directly identifying her, when describing Fanny, portraying the scarcity of attention she receives from others. Due to this it is clear that her ultimate ruination was inevitable from the start. ...read more.

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