The description of his parlour ‘Where everything which was not grave was extraneous’- told the reader that everything that wasn’t needed wasn’t there, suggesting a life of basic necessity. The atmosphere was described like that of a ‘puritan Sunday’ which lasted all week, hinting that he had no enjoyment in his life.
Pathetic fallacy becomes established in this section by Boldwood’s ‘beaming fire of aged logs.’ Suggesting there was a long established warm and cheerful atmosphere, indicating his lifestyle has become routine but he liked the entrenched way he lived.
Reading through the valentine, he imagines the yet unknown writer, giving the reader a series of ‘sensual images’: ‘curves of the writing reflecting the female form’ her mouth ‘red or pale, plump or creased’-Almost making obvious which he prefers.
We get an insight into Boldwood’s psyche, with the description of how light was ‘casting shadows in strange places and putting light where shadows used to be’. This suggests that new ideas have been highlighted in his mind, namely ideas of having that special person to share his life with. This puts his past thoughts of being alone out of thought. This can tie in with the title ‘sunrise’, indicating the new start, awakening of ideas of new direction to his life.
Boldwood notes how the ‘frost had hardened and glazed over the surface of the snow’- giving a reflection on how he has lived his life through pathetic fallacy, being cold, hard and frosty… without love. The imagery continues with ideas of the ice melting, again tying in with the title, suggesting a change.
Since the receipt of the valentine Boldwood has made his move on Bathsheba, asking for her hand in marriage. After her initial refusal, she gives him some encouragement. However she had a chance encounter with an exciting young Sergeant Troy, Who seems to be everything Boldwood isn’t. Since their in initial meeting, he advanced his pursuit of Bathsheba, inviting her to see his ‘sword practice’; the social taboo of illicit meetings of un-chaperoned couples only seems to increase her interest in this ‘Casanova’. Troy takes the place of the attractive user, the cad, in typical romantic literature. When they do meet, in is in an isolated area, highlighting the breaking of the social taboo, going against the ideas of the church, committing great sin. This is emphasised with the title of the chapter.
Hardy uses personification from the start of the chapter, with the title ‘Hollow amid the ferns’, using this to sexually symbolise the woman.
We are given many other images emphasising the male/female symbolism using the female image of a ‘hollow and the ferns’ in the title, ‘their soft feathery arms caressing her’ expressing her imagined intimacy with Troy. Then with the male symbolism coming into use, with Troy’s demonstration with the ‘raised’ sword, which ‘like a living thing’ both cuts and ‘thrusts’. This phallic symbolism is used to express ideas seen as controversial at the time.
In this chapter, we see the characters take on typical Romantic novel stereotypes, Troy taking a fascination with Bathsheba and exercising male dominance over her, ‘she felt powerless to withstand or deny him’. With their relationship becoming a typical Victorian, male dominated relationship, with the submissive female.
I think her feelings of guilt stem from two things, firstly that she is meeting a man alone, and this was seen as socially and morally wrong. The second reason I think ‘she felt like one who had sinned a great sin’ is that she felt a sexual desire for Troy, and she wanted to do more than kiss him, but she knew at the same time that these feelings were wrong and against religious ideas at the time. These thoughts of desire were suggested with the ‘great sin’, with ‘great’ indication that it was more than the kiss.
Since the ‘hollow amid the ferns’ things have moved on quickly, but not in a good way for Bathsheba… Troy’s behaviour following his marriage has slowly being going down hill, leaving us to question the nature of his love for his wife. The marriage gained him independence and wealth, which he soon begins to take advantage of…leading the pair to emotionally fall apart. The issues within the couple are only worsened by the re introduction of Fanny into the story.
We can be lead to question the motives Troy had to marry Bathsheba, was it for love or was he just using her as a vehicle for him to climb the social ladder, gaining a life of ease?
When Fanny returns, pregnant and penniless we see contrast between her life and the life of riches Bathsheba now leads, never the less, it is apparent who Troy really cares for, giving Fanny money to find residence, money of which isn’t even his own… lying to his wife to give to his ex. Her return prompts guilt and remorse in Troy, possibly because he left her after she went to the wrong church, and obviously why he is quick to come to her aide.
Analyzing Hardy’s methods of using imagery to explain how Bathsheba is feeling, with the ‘mountain’ and ‘cave’ telling of how she felt before the marriage and after, with the idea of a cave suggesting a more intense and interior solitude.
Contrast is shown between Bathsheba and Fanny, Fanny is a woman of the world, where as Bathsheba is just a plain country girl, with little worldly experience.
Bathsheba compares her mental state to that of Gabriel, the farm hand when she watches him going to pray before bed, he is at peace with himself. Bathsheba is in a state of confusion, not knowing where she should go or what she should think.
Gothic horror is included into the novel, with the gruesome subject matter, a dead illegitimate baby, being hinted at not described. This was written in the era of Gothic horror so Hardy could have been inspired by many great writers of the time.
A new, more gruesome love triangle has arisen… with the dead Fanny, Troy and Bathsheba. Troy seemingly now on a mission to destroy Bathsheba, fuelled by the own torment he is feeling at the loss of his love. He deceives himself, saying he never felt anything for Bathsheba and that Fanny would always have his love. This is an example of how people are thought differently of when they are dead; as when she was alive he didn’t confess these feelings.
In conclusion I have enjoyed reading this novel as it was different and a change from the typical twenty first century texts I am used to reading; it has helped me to see how literature has changed over time. I found it difficult to read, although I slowly gained confidence reading the text. Overall I enjoyed reading the book and may be tempted into reading others by Hardy.