I find this topic of particular interest as I feel that if the book were written now, there would be a big issue about the way Troy treats Bathsheba but because of the time the novel was written it is put down to everyday life. When Bathsheba meets Troy she is dragged down and changed by the cruelty. When she finds out that Troy had always been in love with Fanny Robin and was the father of fanny’s baby she is heartbroken and feels used, ‘Finally with the superfluous magnanimity of a woman whose narrower instincts have brought down bitterness upon her instead of love… ‘
However despite feeling dragged down, she does feel passion and care for him. In chapter forty-eight when a man came looking for Bathsheba to mistakenly tell her that Troy has drowned she was overwhelmed, ‘the ice of self command which had latterly gathered over her was broken, and the currents burst forth again, and overwhelmed her. A darkness came into her eyes, and she fell. ‘ The shock and fear had devastated her. I think that the chapter suitably named, ‘Converging Courses’ is particularly interesting. I think the way Hardy directs the blame at Bathsheba in this chapter is very secretive.
At the beginning of this chapter she says that ‘ I am the cause of the party and if it have not been for me then there wouldn’t have been one. ‘ This is another example of Hardy showing his viewpoint. I think that this quote is not only vain Bathsheba making a point, but also Hardy. He knows what is going to happen at the end of the chapter (Troy being shot by Boldwood) and blames Bathsheba for the death of Troy at the beginning. He is telling the reader that if it wasn’t for her and her indecisive mind maybe none of this would have happened.
This is another example of Hardy being sexist. Bathsheba’s love life superbly contrasts with Fanny’s. Fanny has fewer choices of men than Bathsheba. In fact she only has one choice – Troy. Troy uses her and she ultimately becomes the victim of this man. In the first paragraphs of my essay I stated that Fanny too is attractive. However, Hardy has made the reader begin to think that due to Fanny’s bad luck with men, she may not be quite as attractive as we first thought. Other men are kind to her, e. g. Oak and Boldwood but not attracted to her in the way they are to Bathsheba.
This is also due to class and social factors. Maybe if Fanny had not have broken social taboos and had come from a wealthier and higher class, maybe she would have been of more attraction. I find this topic of interest because in present times, class and status are not particularly important and it is not strange for women to not get married. Because Fanny is so dependent on Troy, it makes the reader feel sorry for her. Hardy makes the reader pity poor Fanny.
He does this through fate. One will notice the continuous bad luck Fanny has throughout the novel, late for her wedding with Troy,ultimately loses the chance, falls pregnant and is too late to stand a chance at the workhouse, where she tragically dies. Bathsheba’s luck and fate is more of a roller coaster. She does have bad luck, i. e. ) the death of her husband – ultimately being tangled up with Troy. But also has a lot of good luck, including inheriting the farm and having three suitable and dignified men chasing after her. I feel the fate has particular importance to the way we view the women. Hardy gives Fanny lots of ill fortune to show how weak and unlucky she is. Hardy also does this through the use of imagery.
In chapter eleven when Fanny goes to meet Troy imagery plays an important role to the setting of the scene. ‘It was a night when sorrow may come to the brightest without causing any great sense of incongruity, hope sinks to misgiving… ‘, this bad night is not only used to show the bad weather but is also used to give us an impression of Fanny’s character. The night suggests that Fanny is a weak and vulnerable girl. Bathsheba dresses in red. Hardy dresses this woman in red to hint at passion and danger.
Near the end of the novel she dresses in black at the Christmas- Eve party -the night Troy gets shot. Hardy does this to reflect her mood. It is also evident that Hardy has made her relationships ebb and flow with the seasons. She meets Troy in the summer, which reflects heat and passion. Then later she returns to see decay and a swamp, which reflects her mood and relationships. Throughout the novel Hardy continuously makes suggestions on Bathsheba’s character and love life. He continuously makes the point that women are vain and that love is always miserable for women. Oddly enough, he gives Bathsheba a happy ending.
Which, to some readers may be a bit of a let down. Throughout the novel he has given Bathsheba good times and bad times with the condition that the good times turn out bad, i. e. ) Bathsheba’s relationship with Troy. I feel he surprisingly gave Bathsheba a good ending because he felt he had given Bathsheba enough bad luck and for a woman she deserved a happy ending. In conclusion I find various stages throughout the novel, ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ of particular interest, which help one understand some of Bathsheba’s and Fanny’s experiences. In particular I find Hardy’s view on women extremely interesting because it differs some what to modern views and modern society.
Through the novel he has made us feel sorry for their grief and sorrow by using imagery, fate and giving us a clear view of his opinion -that love is always miserable for women. Their lives are dictated by the time and place they live in. If the book was written in the 21st century and had been set in the middle of the city I don’t think the their lives and experiences would have given the same affect on the reader, especially as women of the 19th century were treated a lot differently to the way women are now.
I feel the message Hardy is trying to portray is that when women like Bathsheba begin to have choice and power, things begin to go wrong. The contrasting character of Bathsheba- Fanny who had no power and was weak may have survived and had been with Troy if it weren’t for Bathsheba who had (in Hardy’s opinion) too many choices. Also from reading other stories written by Thomas Hardy I think that his sexist views on women are constant throughout his writings, ‘Bathsheba had a fair knowledge; but of love subjectively she knew nothing. ‘ By Caroline Stephens 11F2.