Thomas Hardy - Sample Essay
How does Thomas Hardy represent Bathsheba and Fanny and how does he evoke sympathy for them? Far From the Madding Crowd was set in the 1840s, at a time when women had very few rights and were looked upon as the weaker sex. When Thomas Hardy wrote this novel in 1872 the Married Women’s Property Act had already become the custom, but he deliberately set the novel before these laws came in to evoke sympathy for Bathsheba Everdene. Before the act was introduced all women’s earnings went to their husbands, and if they owned any property before marriage it would legally be transferred to their husband upon matrimony.
We see this when Bathsheba marries Francis Troy, immediately he becomes in charge of her Late Uncle’s Farm. “My notion is that sash-windows should be put through-out, and these old wainscoted walls brightened up a bit; or the oak cleared quite away, and the walls papered. ” Divorce laws heavily favoured men and a divorced wife could expect to lose any property she had brought into the marriage. Bathsheba loved Troy because of his way with words, “I said you were beautiful, and I’ll say so still, by – so you are! The most beautiful ever I saw, or may I fall dead this instant!
” However when she wed Troy he began to torment her “All romances end at marriage. ” This is when you start to feel sorry for Bathsheba, you realise that she isn’t as tough as she tries to make out “I wish you wouldn’t talk like that. You grieve me to my soul. ” You can see how Troy has changed Bathsheba from being the strong headed, independent, free spirited 19 year old girl. If Bathsheba ever did want to divorce Sergeant Troy she’d be left with nothing. When Bathsheba is in the only women in the cornmarket you feel some respect for her, she had to be brave enough to ignore the stares.
Hardy evokes sympathy for Bathsheba when Troy keeps Fanny’s lock of hair in his pocket watch. “Why, her hair has been admired by everybody who has seen her since she has worn it loose, which has not been long. It is beautiful hair. People used to turn their heads to look at it, poor girl! ” We pity Bathsheba when she realises that Troy’s last sweet heart was Fanny and that they had had a child together. “Oh-h-h” This is the first real scene where Bathsheba cries, she realises that Troy was never really hers… he was Fanny’s.
At Boldwood’s Christmas party, Hardy builds up the tension to a dramatic climax. Bathsheba is mainly passive; she is bullied by both Boldwood and Troy. Boldwood shoots Troy leaving a shaken and distraught Bathsheba whom we commiserate with. In chapter 4 we take a dislike to Bathsheba as she carelessly plays with Oak’s feelings. “I ran after you to say-that my aunt made a mistake in sending you away from courting me. ” Bathsheba was being selfish in thinking that it didn’t look good him walking away thinking she had other suitors. The Valentine’s card was immature of Bathsheba.
We despise Bathsheba because once again she is toiling with other people’s emotions. The audience knows that her actions will come with a consequence. You feel sorry for Fanny Robin throughout the novel. Fanny first appears leaving her post on Bathsheba’s farm to follow the man she is in love with, Sergeant Troy. Francis Troy decides to act very cruel towards Fanny. “And Frank, when will it be? ” “What? ” “That you promised. ” “I don’t quite recollect. ” “O you do! Don’t speak like that. It weighs me to the Earth. It makes me say what ought to be said first by you.
” “Never mind-say it. ” “O, must I? -it is when shall we be married, Frank? ” Here in the barracks you see Fanny’s weak position in having to plead with him to arrange their marriage. When we next see Fanny Robin she is weak and hungry; having had to quit her work because it was a disgrace to be pregnant without being married. It is ironic that when Troy finally finds Fanny he is already married to Bathsheba. There is a sharp contrast between Troy’s solicitude for Fanny and his careless disregard of Bathsheba’s wishes. “Stay where you are, and attend to the horse!
” This shows that Troy’s feelings for Fanny were strong, stronger than for Bathsheba. “This woman is more to me, dead as she is, than ever you were, or are, or can be. ” “But never mind darling in the sight of heaven you are my wife. ” Hardy here evokes sympathy for Bathsheba. In Chapter 40 we feel deeply for Fanny. Fanny is presented as a small weak figure in a dark hostile landscape. Hardy evokes the reader’s sympathy. Fanny’s fear that she will never see Troy again – “Perhaps I shall be in my grave” this is prophetically ironic.
Bathsheba and Fanny are like chalk and cheese; however the one similarity they do have is that they both fell in love with Francis Troy’s. Bathsheba is intelligent, independent, vain, beautiful, vibrant, wild, determined and unconventional. Fanny however is represented as being pretty, quiet, shy and of sweet nature. They are not only totally different in their characters but also in their image. Bathsheba has thick curly dark hair and dark brown eyes whereas Fanny’s features are less defined. Her hair is a beautiful golden. ??