Far from the madding Crowd - Sample Essay
The book ‘Far from the madding Crowd’ is about a young woman, Bathsheba, who experiences many types of relationships. As a result of this she eventually falls in love for the first time with Gabriel Oak, a fellow farmer, at the end of the novel. Hardy chooses to raise many other issues, apart from love, within the storyline including the stereotypical roles of men and women of that time. The social situation of Hardy’s time was one of severe male dominance. Women had no power or control over anyone or anything, least of all themselves!
They were made to feel worthless as a result of being abused and manipulated to think that they were dependant on the man. Women were not untitled to a realistic education therefore they were unable to work in such highly paid professions as the males. I feel this would of made the women of the time even more dependant on the male as it was a mere impossibility for a woman to live a ‘normal’ wealthy life without the male role bringing money into the family. When it came down to marriage women were referred to as ‘things. ‘ They were not allowed a say about who they were to marry and also what social class they were marring into.
Men were seen as superior, they could marry whoever they felt fit however young or old. If a woman were to refuse marriage the consequences would have been extremely serious. In most severe cases rape or violent beatings was the result. After reading the novel, I assume that Thomas Hardy disagrees with the way women were perceived. The main characters display this analysis clearly. Hardy shows Gabriel and Bathsheba subvert stereotypical roles as when Gabriel proposed marriage upon Bathsheba she refused him ” I don’t want to marry you… I don’t love you.
” I feel this is quite obscure, considering the time and setting, as again women, stereotypically, would not of had the right to refuse a mans marriage proposal. “Il ask you no more,” Gabriel’s lack of persistence shows how different he is from the expected male. He also shows huge respect towards Bathsheba, which is unlike most other men of the time; they only had respect for themselves. Bathsheba is a portrait of a successful woman farmer who wins respect by her firmness and charisma “some women only require an emergency to make them fit.
” The contrasting lady rides in the uncustomary way and avoids marriage as she despises the thought of being dominated ” I hate to be thought men’s property. ” Again Hardy is portraying Bathsheba in the male role, as women would not of acting in this confident way. This makes the book so much more interesting because you feel anxious because she is behaving in a manner she should not. In Bathsheba’s view men wrong women, this makes her independent and firm. She acts in this manner, as she does not want to be considered as the usual stereotypical ‘women’ therefore she will not be treated that way.
“I shall never forgive god for making me a woman,” because of the pressures women face due to sexual stereotyping Bathsheba no longer wants to be considered s a female. The way Bathsheba manages her clients and they way she portrays herself with her suiters shows her longing to be a man. Hardy puts this to his audiences through Bathsheba’s actions. Bathsheba runs her own business and deals with the accounts, all male professions which most women would consider unheard of. Hardy is hiding the lady’s feminine beauty from not only her male acquaintances but also the reader.
We only learn about how Bathsheba would like to be, not how she would be in her true ‘woman’ form. This makes the reader more interested because he/she is curious about Bathsheba’s true identity. Bathsheba lives in a society where men and women marry without and knowledge of one another, and mainly passion, hardly any love. This is because of the different roles of the two sexes-it keeps them apart. Thus Oak and Boldwood propose before they properly understand Bathsheba. When Bathsheba and Oak accompanied each other no conversation passed except one of marriage.
Bathsheba showed her firmness “I don’t want to marry you” because she was scared of the traditional role she would have been made to act. Oddly enough Bathsheba is changing throughout the novel. I state this because of the difference in character of the young farmer from her meeting with Oak and her romantic and somewhat magical meeting with Troy. For instance when Oak and his true love first set eyes upon one another the setting was one of dullness because the meeting commenced at Bathsheba’s everyday household ” the cottage. ” However when Troy and Bathsheba arrived “hitched” together the setting was in the woods at night.
This made the atmosphere mysterious, which added to the romance. This feeling of mystery makes the meeting instantly flirtatious, as there is a sense of Troy being the predator and Bathsheba being the victim. Especially in this chapter, Hardy employs the technique of fate as he fails to make Oak present. If Oak was to appear on the scene then both Troy’s and Bathsheba’s fates would not of been one of love as Gabriel (as the name suggests) would of intervened when Troy was acting wrongly for a man, for instance fondling near females ankles “His unravelling went on.
” From the very first moment the couple speak Troy starts a game of wit with Bathsheba as he primarily refers to her as being a mate “Have I hurt you mate. ” I think that Troy is rather confused about Bathsheba’s sex as the term mate is quite masculine. When Troy eventually discovers that Bathsheba is in fact a female he calls her a woman, suggesting that she may be a prostitute, which was very common in women at that time, as they had no other means to make money. Troy then defines Bathsheba as being a lady because he realises her beauty “A lady I should of said.
” Bathsheba would of found this uncomfortable as Troy is acting forwardly whilst she is holding back. He insults and taunts Bathsheba by calling her a mate but then he compensates for his mistake by complimenting her and showing her the respect, she feels, a woman deserves. This is to say that Troy immediately flirts with his “mate” therefore the audience automatically knows about Troy’s feelings. This again kept me involved, as I was curious to find out about Bathsheba’s emotcions.
Bathsheba feels she cannot open up about her feelings to Troy, she answered just “yes” or “no” because she looses her superior ness therefore she lacks control of the situation. When Troy set alight the lantern for the first time the “rays burst out. ” Both literally and psychologically this action was very significant because their real appearances were revealed to one another. Bathsheba is presented as a vain character at the very start of the novel but when she was in male company she found confidence.
However when the lantern was turned on Bathsheba did not feel confident and superior she felt shy and vain because Troy could see Bathsheba fully. I also think that the lantern calmed the meeting down, therefore making it less romantic as the chaos of the darkness would of aroused the soon to be couple. Troy was shown as being a soldier “the man to whom she was hooked was brilliant in brass and scarlet,” this made Bathsheba feel safe because she had the protection of a soldier and again the chaos of the meeting had disappeared.
The language Troy uses towards her shows his want for both sex and marriage. “I wish it had been the knot of knots, which there is no untying,” Troy implies marriage to Bathsheba by suggesting that “the knot of knots” would be to get married. Bathsheba I feel would of liked this because with her previous men they were I think to forward with their feelings but with Troy he cleverly hides them to, in a way, tease Bathsheba. However Troy is not only flirtatious character. Bathsheba flirts without being aware of it.
The fact that she walks around doing her duties with “the coolness of a metropolitan policeman” would of aroused Troy because he now knows they have something in common. Troy is daring, his profession shows this and Bathsheba is daring because she does not fear to be alone “fearlessness of expected danger. ” The point I have been trying to make throughout this piece is how in consistent Bathsheba is around Troy. In chapter twenty-four Bathsheba is being teased whereas constantly Bathsheba has been the teaser. This is shown when she sends the false proposal in a card to Mr. Boldwood.
Bathsheba’s immaturity was highlighted yet around Troy she acts like a timid and upstanding lady, again another difference. Also Bathsheba usually dominates the relationship clearly because of her authority, but with Troy she is being controlled. This makes Bathsheba uncomfortable but excited because she has never felt passion like this with any other man. In spite of all the emotion she was feeling towards Troy, their marriage did not work. I personally feel Bathsheba did not fully love Troy she just felt huge amounts of passion and because this was new she thought it was the best thing that could of happened to her.
True love at that time was meant to last forever whereas passion drifted away extremely rapidly. Once the passion had gone Bathsheba was no longer interested in what Troy had to offer. I feel this changed her. She now knew to follow her heart not her mind and she also realised that passion was temporary but love was amazingly real. When she realised this she married Oak. Again Hardy’s implications of fate are used. The audience really knew Bathsheba and Oak were meant for one another. This made the book very enjoyable because it was a question of when Bathsheba knew this!