Monday, July 22, 2019
The Madding Crowd Essay Example for Free
The Madding Crowd Essay One of the great strengths of Ã¢â¬ËFar From The Madding CrowdÃ¢â¬â¢ is HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s contrasting portrayals of Gabriel Oak and Sergeant Frank Troy. Discuss this observation on the novelÃ¢â¬â¢ Perhaps the greatest strength of HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s novels is the excellent portrayals of his main characters. There are, however, many other strengths in Ã¢â¬ËFar From the Madding CrowdÃ¢â¬â¢. For example, there are many descriptions of scenery that punctuate the action in the novel. These show HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s skill as a writer by painting the scene so clearly in the readerÃ¢â¬â¢s mind that the characters can really flourish against their backdrop. The themes of love, persistence and nature permeate the novel and give it depth, even when the plot slows down. The greatest strength, then, is likely to fall to the characters who drive both the plot and the action. Two of these characters, Oak and Troy, fall in love with Bathsheba Everdene and soon find themselves competing for her hand in marriage. The portrayal of the differences between the characters is clearly an example of HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s strongest work in the novel. Gabriel Oak is a simple man who is very clear on who he is. Whilst Oak is shy, he is also honest and always tells the truth. Oak is described by Bathsheba as Ã¢â¬Ëhonest and trueÃ¢â¬â¢ and he often tells her how he feels, Ã¢â¬ËI love you far more than commonÃ¢â¬â¢. He doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t have the words and the education to express himself properly to Bathsheba, but he is steadfast, keeping to his bottom line, making Bathsheba happy. Oak is unlucky in love and in life. He fails time and time again to get Bathsheba to marry him, and when he loses his livelihood she is his first, unselfish thought: Ã¢â¬ËÃ¢â¬Å"thank God IÃ¢â¬â¢m not married: what would she have done in the poverty now coming upon me! Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â¢ This shows that Oak puts other people first and is optimistic. He does not focus on the loss of his money and his farm, but on the good fortune that Bathsheba had not married him. It takes a strong personality to think in this way. Oak is described as a Ã¢â¬Å"young man of sound judgmentÃ¢â¬ ¦and general good characterÃ¢â¬ very early on in the novel. He makes his intentions clear with regard to marrying Bathsheba within a few days of meeting her, and proposes a simple life to her, which reflects his own simplicity and honesty. He says: And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall beÃ¢â¬â and whenever I look up, there will be youÃ¢â¬ , asking her in simple terms to accept him and love him always for who he is. Oak is very modest: Ã¢â¬ËI was never very clever on my insideÃ¢â¬â¢ but he shines underneath his dull extremities, taking charge in the fire and saving BathshebaÃ¢â¬â¢s farm, and again in the storm. The author Jane Bailey says that: Ã¢â¬Å"Gabriel is the only character to really master the forces of natureÃ¢â¬ . I agree with her in this statement because the other characters donÃ¢â¬â¢t deal with the problems nature gives them as well as Gabriel. In the storm, Gabriel knows the rain is coming because of the formation of the sheep, he manages to cover the bales of hay alone, and he is able to save the farm. Boldwood doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t get his hay covered and he loses his harvest; Troy gets drunk in the warmth of the barn. This shows that Gabriel has control over HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s main theme, nature. He is a natural leader, but he prefers to sink into the world of the rustics where he feels he fits in. Oak is a kind man, taking pity on a stranger in the night and giving her a shilling, which would have been a significant sum of money. The stranger turns out to be Fanny, and he helps her a second time in death, rubbing out Ã¢â¬Ëand childÃ¢â¬â¢ on her coffin, although it can be debated as to whether Oak did this out of kindness to Fanny or to Bathsheba. Oak is very self-sacrificial, giving everything to Bathsheba, and telling her: Ã¢â¬Å"I love you and I shall love you alwaysÃ¢â¬ . He does not change much over the course of the novel, showing how good Hardy believed him to be in the first place. Oak is not, however, a puritan. He drinks with the rustics and criticises Troy and Boldwood, who are both his class superiors. Oak is determined and Hardy rewards him in the end with a happy marriage to Bathsheba, proving, in HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s mind, that perseverance pays off. Even in OakÃ¢â¬â¢s steadfast protection of Bathsheba, he is never faulted. He leaves quietly when she dismisses him and comes back to save her when she needs him. Even his first name, Gabriel, signifies his long-standing protection over Bathsheba- Gabriel is an Archangel, a protector of humans so his name is very apt. From OakÃ¢â¬â¢s actions and from HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s descriptions of him, we can tell that Oak is a kind hearted, ideal man who loves Bathsheba more than Troy or even Boldwood could imagine.