Jude the Obscure
Force of Nature: Storms in Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd College
In Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy uses nature to influence the actions of his shepherd and shepherdess protagonists, Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak, in two separate episodes involving rain storms. The conflict of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd centers upon Bathsheba Everdene’s battle with and between her three suitors, Gabriel Oak, William Boldwood, and Francis Troy--and the battle involving the suitors themselves. Each of these four characters faces internal conflicts with his or her own desires, motives, and emotions, in addition to conflicts with each other. The plot follows Bathsheba’s relationship with each of these men and climaxes with a physical meeting of the three suitors, in which one is shot dead. Bathsheba and Gabriel seem to share the role of protagonist, but Gabriel is ultimately seen as the hero of the novel. The novel is set in the fictional area of Wessex, England in the equally fictional shire, Weatherbury. These places represent Hardy’s vision of the ideal rural setting. Though a time period is never specified, the reader assumes that the novel takes place during the late Victorian period, when Hardy lived and wrote. Hardy uses a third person omniscient narrator in order to provide the...
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