Far From the Madding Crowd

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Suraj Shah                

Far From the Madding Crowd 

by Suraj Shah

(This coursework was awarded an A grade – 20/25)

At the end of the novel ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ Bathsheba marries Oak for various reasons. I will be discussing these reasons in the following paragraphs.

        One of the obvious reasons would be that Oak is the only one left due to Troy’s death and Boldwood’s imprisonment. On the other hand, she could have chosen not to marry Oak and remain single for her remaining years. However, she did marry him because of other reasons, which is what will be discussed in the rest of this essay.

        Bathsheba didn’t want to marry Boldwood due to his personality, way of life and his motives. If we were to consider these aspects of Boldwood we would be able to understand why she didn’t want to marry him. Boldwood is a wealthy gentleman farmer and a bachelor of forty. He was a Puritan where he believed that there should be no fun every Sunday, but to just sit and read the bible. However, this is what it was like for him all the time where in his house ‘the atmosphere was that of a Puritan Sunday lasting all the week.’ This character is completely in contrast to that of Bathsheba’s because she wants to have excitement all the time. She tells Oak this when he makes a proposal to her: ‘I want somebody to tame me, I am too independent, and you would never be able to, I know.’ Boldwood’s life does not offer much, being very dull and has a monastic meaning for him.

        Boldwood’s reputation is one of where people consider him as being dull and empty. In fact, when Bathsheba asks Liddy what Boldwood is like, she told Bathsheba that he was ‘rather stern looking’ and he does not see any ‘humour’ in things. Bathsheba is ‘vain’ where she likes to flirt with men and likes to be told that she is beautiful. However, Boldwood uses very little language where when he describes something he uses no adjectives or emotions. For example, if he were to describe a chair he would say that it has legs and is big or small rather than saying that it is very nice and very well polished. This is seen when he describes Bathsheba. The third paragraph of chapter seven states: ‘Boldwood looked at her – not silly, critically, or understandingly, but blankly at gaze, in the way a reaper looks up at a passing train – as something foreign to his element, and but dimly understood.’ The next paragraph shows the way he describes her: ‘black hair,’ ‘correct facial curves and profile, and the roundness of her chin and throat.’ Instead of describing her as beautiful, having nice hair, eyes and etc, he describes her factually. Therefore, he cannot win women like Bathsheba.

        This explains why she marries Troy who is handsome, unstable and a romantic liar. His romantic talk attracts Bathsheba where he flatters her by speaking highly of her beauty: ‘I said you were beautiful and I’ll say so still.’ Bathsheba likes to be told that she is beautiful and Oak is the first one to notice this where he describes her as being ‘vain.’ The relationship grows more when Troy purposefully gives his watch to her, giving her a little historic information on the watch where he tells her that he inherited it from his father: ‘It was all the fortune that I ever inherited.’  This flatters her because he is giving to her what he has inherited. Bathsheba feels honoured that he is going to give it up for her.

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When he says ‘We have got hitched together somehow I think,’ this is ironic because this is another way of saying that they are married. Troy knows that Bathsheba loves being flattered and so he uses that aspect of her personality to trap her by flattering her. That is why he is a good judge of character where he is also able to find the weak spots of a person and knows how to play with the weak spots.

‘Are you a woman? A lady I should have said.’ This flattens Bathsheba because the word ‘lady’ makes her feel ...

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