At the start of the novel Bathsheba was a woman who was very much in control of her life. She was a strong-minded person; she knew what she wanted. No one could really take control over her – especially a man. She liked to know what was going to happen next, it’s almost as if she didn’t like surprises, she didn’t like to take chances. By being in control of her future it meant she would know what was round the corner. She also cared a lot about the way she looked – she was quite vain. For instance, when she arrived in Norcombe Hill and had to stop for a piece of furniture that had fallen off the wagon she checked herself in the mirror.
Oak immediately picked out this vanity in her. Gatekeeper “That’s a handsome maid”… Oak “But she has her faults… Vanity. ” She liked to be looked at, she seemed to want people to look at her and when they did she wanted to look her best – maybe if Mr. Right turned up! She also seemed like a slightly cold person; she wouldn’t let Oak get near her, she wouldn’t even tell him her name even after she had rescued him from the fire. The quote below shows this. It also shows how she wanted to be in control and to be the one in charge. By being more a mystery it meant she had
the upper hand in the relationship. Oak “I don’t know your name… ” Bathsheba “I would just as soon not tell it – rather not. There is no reason either why I should as you will probably never have much to do with me” Oak eventually found out her name when he went and asked her aunt. However, you could see signs of her wanting to be courted and chased. Just after she had rescued Oak he held her hand; she withdrew it quickly, but then let him have it back again. She then left him with a flirtatious comment, “Now find out my name”. She was quite unlike other women of her time – she was the one in control.
I feel there are a couple of reasons why Bathsheba turned down Oak’s proposal of marriage. I feel that one of the main reasons was that he was a little bit too easy for Bathsheba to control, he had no real power, or even the want to control her. Also, the pair had only just met and he was already asking for her hand in marriage. He was too much of ‘puppy’, she wanted and needed someone a little stronger, someone who she could control, yet be controlled. I also think that she felt that Oak wouldn’t be able to fulfill her needs completely.
She saw Oak as someone who was very dependable which wasn’t risqui?? enough for her. He didn’t excite her enough, he didn’t tease her enough, he was just there, it wasn’t a challenge for her. I also suspect that she was afraid of losing the control she had. She didn’t want to risk being the powerful, dominant one. She wasn’t really mature enough to be married; she was still playing games, it was almost seemed as if she was scared of commitment. When Bathsheba moved to Weatherbury to take over her Uncle’s farm, farmer Boldwood intrigued her.
She found him to be mysterious and handsome. He was a challenge for her, a little game. It was something she could control, something she could enjoy doing. When it came to sending of the valentine’s card the temptation of being able to play the game was too much, even though she hid this form Liddy. Liddy “Who for, miss?… Farmer Boldwood?… ” It was the single name among all the possible wrong ones that just at that moment seemed to Bathsheba more pertinent than the right. “Well, no. ” She seemed to want to hide her feelings, almost in case she ended up getting hurt.
She was still childish, she just wanted some fun and she didn’t see how there would be any real harm in it. She did try to make sure Boldwood didn’t end up receiving the valentine the valentine by trying to send it to Teddy Coggan. However, Liddy seemed to want to send it to Boldwood, she felt it would be quite funny how he would wonder about it! Bathsheba wanted to get his attention and this little game seemed like the perfect way to get it; especially as he ignored her most of the time, even when everyone else looked. Liddy “Did you notice Mr.
Boldwood’s doings in church this morning, miss? ” Bathsheba “No… What did he do” Liddy “Didn’t turn his head to look at you once all the service” Boldwood was a quiet character; he was quite secluded. As I said, when everyone else looked, he didn’t. This made him seem all the more mysterious to Bathsheba. When he first saw Bathsheba he wasn’t sure about her, he had to ask if she was considered to be handsome, “Is she deemed to be handsome? ” He was (as Bathsheba was with him) intrigued by her. He was smitten, and like Oak, fell for her immediately. Oak was quite an independent person.
He was solid, reliable and honest. Unfortunately for him, his floor’s seemed to show rather more than his good points. He enjoyed his work, he preferred to be casual than smart and he was all in all a fairly simple person. Oak was the kind of person you could depend on. If you needed help with something he would be there. A good example of this is when Bathsheba’s barn caught on fire; he was there straight away willing to lend his hand even though he didn’t know whose barn it was. He was also a good leader, someone who liked to lead and to be the knowledgeable one.
This is also shown in the fire situation, “Stand here with a bucket of water and keep the cloth wet! ” Troy first met Bathsheba in the Fir Plantation when he ‘accidentally’ got himself tangled up with her. Right from the start he started to play with her, to flirt with her and play with her mind. He complimented her, gave her feelings she hadn’t felt before with either of the other two suitors. He was dangerous, exciting, a bit more risqui??. He made Bathsheba feel more alive, more wanted than before. He could fulfill her needs, he was passionate, dashing, and handsome and he made her feel special.
Her temptation for him was great. “The man to whom she was hooked was brilliant in brass and scarlet. He was a soldier. His sudden appearance to darkness what the sound of a trumpet is to silence” He somehow managed to be the first man in her life to take control of her, but he made it seem OK, so she didn’t need to worry. She just let him carry on because of the words he used, the way he spoke, and he was a smooth talker – a ladies man. When he trying to untangle himself it took longer than it should have, it was like they were hooked on each other, or rather she was hooked on him!
Troy was quite a scheming character really. He only really cared for himself and for fulfilling his sexual needs. He had no real feelings. One quote from the book describes this brilliantly, “for what Troy had in the way of emotion was an occasional fitful of sentiment which sometimes caused him as much inconvenience as emotions of a strong and healthy kind”. He was a shallow person; he cared about what he could get out of life, not what he could give to others. He was only in it for himself.
I feel that Oak was probably the best person for Bathsheba because he was the most stable. He was dependable, caring and would love her properly. Troy was purely in it for himself, for sex. Boldwood was driven on by a mad desire and passion that eventually drove him mad, plus he was too old for her, he was just a game in Bathsheba’s life. He would have been too much of a ‘sugar daddy’ to her, she was like a monument to his success, and he’d go to any cost to keep her. Oak may not have been able to fulfill her 100% passionately, but her could fulfill all her other needs 110%.