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What do you find of interest in Hardy’s presentation of Bathsheba and Fanny’s experiences in ‘Far from the Madding Crowd?’

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Introduction

Caroline Stephens What do you find of interest in Hardy's presentation of Bathsheba and Fanny's experiences in 'Far from the Madding Crowd?' Thomas Hardy, the son of a stonemason, was born in Dorset, England, in 1840. He trained as an architect and worked in London and Dorset for ten years. Hardy began his writing career as a novelist, publishing 'Desperate Remedies' in 1871, and was soon successful enough to leave the field of architecture for writing. His novels 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' (1891) and 'Jude the Obscure' (1895), which are considered literary classics today, received negative reviews upon publication and Hardy was criticized for being too pessimistic and preoccupied with sex. Hardy was a writer ahead of his time. 'Far From The Madding Crowd' was a novel written by Thomas Hardy in 1874. In his stories he showed a clear outline of women in society. In the nineteenth century women lacked power and leadership. This was a time where women had little freedom, a place where women's belongings became their husbands and where farms and properties were passed from father to son. Their opinions were undermined and disregarded. This affected Hardy's writing. It is evident from reading novels and stories by this author that the time and society he lived in affected his views on women. Hardy indicates in his novels that he is undoubtedly sexist. ...read more.

Middle

Her home and village must bear the expense of her funeral. Bathsheba also shows signs of jealousy, she is jealous when other women talk about Troy and especially when Troy tells her that he is in love with Fanny. In fact Bathsheba even states that she married Troy because she was jealous, ' Between jealousy and distraction I married him.' Bathsheba wants to marry for love. She makes it quite clear in chapter four that she wants taming, 'I want somebody to tame me; I am too independent; and you would never be able to.' She cannot see how practical Gabriel will do this and therefore rejects him. After sending the Valentine Card to Boldwood and receiving his attention, then also like she did to Farmer Oak, rejects Boldwood. Through the novel she is chopping and changing her mind but when she meets Troy she is dazzled, 'the man to whom she was hooked was brilliant in scarlet and brass'. She also is impressed by his looks. However she is not treated particularly well by Troy and even though her wish of being tamed is granted she feels she is losing power. I find this topic of particular interest as I feel that if the book were written now, there would be a big issue about the way Troy treats Bathsheba but because of the time the novel was written it is put down to everyday life. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion I find various stages throughout the novel, 'Far From The Madding Crowd' of particular interest, which help one understand some of Bathsheba's and Fanny's experiences. In particular I find Hardy's view on women extremely interesting because it differs some what to modern views and modern society. Through the novel he has made us feel sorry for their grief and sorrow by using imagery, fate and giving us a clear view of his opinion -that love is always miserable for women. Their lives are dictated by the time and place they live in. If the book was written in the 21st century and had been set in the middle of the city I don't think the their lives and experiences would have given the same affect on the reader, especially as women of the 19th century were treated a lot differently to the way women are now. I feel the message Hardy is trying to portray is that when women like Bathsheba begin to have choice and power, things begin to go wrong. The contrasting character of Bathsheba- Fanny who had no power and was weak may have survived and had been with Troy if it weren't for Bathsheba who had (in Hardy's opinion) too many choices. Also from reading other stories written by Thomas Hardy I think that his sexist views on women are constant throughout his writings, 'Bathsheba had a fair knowledge; but of love subjectively she knew nothing.' By Caroline Stephens 11F2 ...read more.

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