The Mayor of Casterbridge

answer based till chapter 20

write in brief the wife selling episode in the novel??

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The novel opens in the early part of the nineteenth century. One summer evening, a young family is walking towards the village of Weydon-Priors, in the region of England known as Wessex. From the beginning, it is obvious that something is strange about this family. Although the man, woman, and child are not poorly dressed, the dirt that has collected on them during their journey makes them look shabby. In addition, the man and woman do not regard each other at all, even though they are clearly traveling together.

Eventually the family stops to rest. While they rest, a turnip-hoer speaks to them. From him, the family learns that there is no work and no housing available in Weydon-Priors; however, since it is Fair Day, there is some excitement in the village. The family goes to the fair-field, but ignores all the goings-on in favor of finding food. They decided to stop in a furmity tent, a place where they can buy some pudding. The man demands some liquor for his furmity, and drinks it lustily, ignoring his wife's pleas for lodging. Soon the man, who has been called Michael, complains loudly about his marriage and his poverty.

Outside, Michael hears an auction of horses, and he wonders why men can't sell their wives at auction. Some people inside the tent actually respond favorably to this question, and Michael openly offers his wife for sale (with the child as a bonus). Although the wife, named Susan, begs her husband not to do such a thing, Michael ignores her. A sailor soon speaks from the doorway. He will take Susan and Elizabeth-Jane (the child) for five pounds and five shillings--though he will not if Susan is unwilling. Susan sweeps out of the tent with Elizabeth-Jane and the sailor, cursing her husband.