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What Features of Henchard’s character cause him trouble in the first half of the book?

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What Features of Henchard's character cause him trouble in the first half of the book? Michel Henchard is very dominating all through the book and this may be clearly seen in the first half. At the beginning, we can see that Henchard hates women, for example, when he sells his wife to the sailor when he is drunk. He depicts himself as 'something of a woman hater' (page 78), he feels no need for a partner and when he gets back with Susan he treats her and Elizabeth-Jane badly. He also treats Lucetta badly in the way that he leaves her and goes back to Susan without telling Lucetta. Later on he says 'these cursed women - there's not an inch of straight grain in them' (page 151), but while he is cursing them he is always complaining about being lonely. ...read more.


Many of the townspeople prefer Farfrae to Henchard as he is kinder to the people when estimating the price of their corn. This annoys Henchard and he impulsively sacks Farfrae. This is a mistake though, as he consequently goes out of business because the townspeople prefer Farfrae to Henchard. Henchard's temperament becomes even more hostile after his business fails and he turns to alcohol. A good example of Henchard's mean and feisty temper is after Susan dies. Susan wrote a letter to Henchard, to be read only when she had died, telling him that Elizabeth-Jane was not his daughter, but the sailor's daughter. Henchard did not know that his real daughter had died only a few days after he had sold his wife. After telling Elizabeth-Jane the devastating news that the sailor wasn't her real father, but he was, he then finds out that the sailor was her real father. ...read more.


This really scares Lucetta and has the desired effect: he made his point. The latest events make Henchard very angry and he tries and almost succeeds in killing Farfrae. Farfrae loses all trust in Henchard, understandably, when Henchard impulsively gives the letters back to Jopp to deliver to Lucetta. The letters fall into the wrong hands when Jopp goes to the pub. The truth gets out and Henchard doesn't seem to mind but Lucetta minds a lot. Lucetta then becomes ill while Farfrae is away and Henchard runs to fetch him, but Farfrae thinks he is tricking him and trying once more to take his life. Henchard is being honest though, but because Farfrae doesn't believe that Lucetta is ill, she dies. From the points above we can see how Henchard's character gets him into trouble throughout the first half of the book. ...read more.

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