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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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Social/ historical awareness Katie Lambert English/ English Literature Coursework Pre 1914 (prose) Far From The Madding Crowd- Tomas Hardy What do you find of interest in Hardy's presentation of Bathsheba and Fanny's experiences in far from the madding crowd? How does this novel reveal the social reality of the time? In this essay I will look at Thomas Hardy's 'Far from the Madding Crowd' in the first section, I will look at the different ways Hardy portrays Bathsheba and Fanny's experiences. Since Hardy based this novel in the 1840s, and being true to history, it does reveal a lot about the social reality of the time. However, Hardy could have a different perspective, as he is writing in the 1870s, which may have affected his view on the 1840s social ideal. Fanny is offered almost as a complete contrast to Bathsheba Fanny wants to get married (though this could possibly be because she is pregnant), she has no money, no home and no family, while Bathsheba has everything (except the family) that Fanny doesn't have, including her boyfriend too, Troy. Bathsheba at the beginning represents a very rare kind of Victorian woman, one who is proud, strong and independent. While Fanny is the na�ve and 'fallen' woman. As you progress through the novel, you see a peculiar change coming over both women, they seem to change their characters, Bathsheba becoming more like Fanny, and Fanny becoming more like Bathsheba. ...read more.


This could possibly have been placed as a warning or in sympathy to female readers. Fanny's name is also significant, in the way it is used to illustrate another part of her character. A robin (Fanny's last name) is a vulnerable bird associated with winter, which could possibly be how Hardy wished us to think of her. Although it seems Hardy only compliments Bathsheba, he does recognize Fanny's honesty and bravery although in a more backhand way. At the beginning when Hardy makes references to Fanny she is depicted only as a name or mainly just the girl, '"yes" said the girl' She is treated by Troy as an infant 'don't cry now! It is foolish. If I said I'd marry you of course I will' this could be another reference to Fanny's vulnerability. Bathsheba contains a very rare quality of that time, independence. She is well aware she shall have to marry but will keep trying to delay the inevitable. The name Bathsheba also has a biblical origin: in the Old Testament, she is the wife of Uriah, a soldier of King David. From his rooftop, David admired her beauty and seduced her while her husband was away. When his attempt to make Uriah seem responsible for the child, failed, he arranged for him to be killed, David then married Bathsheba. ...read more.


And in many countries facing death from their first breath, being left upon the hillside to die and although in England things were never so drastic Hardy highlights the un fairness. Speaking in a language made for men, was a very difficult thing, it is through Hardy's novel we see this. Life was hard for women, the men being able to spend their money, like Troy and his squandering of Bathsheba inheritance, and he can because she is, for lack of a better word, his property. Even through the action of the characters, especially the males, you can see how difficult it was for a female in the 1840's society, the stir Bathsheba cause when she walks into the farmers market 'for at her first entry the lumbering dialogues had ceased, nearly every face turned towards her' and again at the farmers market your attention is brought to the fact she is the only woman there 'the single one of her sex that the room contained' a sign that woman were not readily accepted in the farming world, or any place that had money as its bases. So in conclusion to be a woman in 1840's based on Hardy's description would have been a very trying experience, a woman's role was to be dressed up in pretty clothes and displayed, never to do anything but sit at home and do the needle work, never to go and try something different. To be seen and not heard. ...read more.

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