Task: a) Looking closely at the language, examine how Hardy presents the meeting between Bathsheba and Troy in Chapter 23. Text: Far from the Madding Crowdi?? by Thomas Hardy The meeting between Troy and Bathsheba is the turning point in the novel. The name of the chapter (The same night-The fir plantation. ) shows the reader that once Bathsheba has unwillingly half committed herself in marriage with Boldwood, she still carries on flirting the same night. It is ironic that she should meet her future husband on the night of her unconditional promise in marriage to Boldwood. In that small amount of time she has forgotten her talk with Boldwood.
Surely it is not a coincidence that the placement of this chapter in the book is as it is. Even the name is no coincidence (That same night). Her meeting with Troy has a fairy tale quality about it. She does not meet her on the way to the shops or in the middle of the day but in a dark wood. Troy plays the part of the wolf, catching her unawares and overwhelming her. It is, perhaps significant that Gabriel Oak does not appear in chapter 23.
We are told by Hardy that Gabriel had almost constantly preceded her in this tour every evening, watching her affairs i?? as any specially appointed officer of surveillance could have donei?? (p.140). However, the one time that Gabriel does not do this Bathsheba gets into trouble by meeting Troy. Gabriel shows i?? tender devotioni?? to Bathsheba. However, he does not get any credit for his loyalty and as much as was known by Bathsheba was i?? somewhat thanklessly receivedi??. She i?? snubs his constancyi??. Bathshebai?? s nightly supervision is done without any real sense of danger, although she usually unknowingly has Oak watching over her. She is in control and feels safe on her own premises.
There is a reassuring atmosphere (cows, homely feeling). However, when she does hear footsteps approaching she becomes apprehensive; i??her own footsteps immediately fell as gently as snowflakesi??. When Bathshebai?? s dress is pinned to the ground i?? forciblyi?? , there is a suggestion of attack. i?? Have I hurt you mate? i??. This is showing Troyi?? s rash personality. This also shows Troyi?? s class when his tone changes once he finds out that she is a woman. When Troy says, i?? we have got hitched together somehowi?? , the word i?? hitchedi?? suggests something more than just being caught up together. Soon after he says i?? Ii?? ll open it and set you freei??. This also suggests something more than simply untangle her. She is a prisoner of her own emotions.
This is first shown very early on in he book when she tells Oak she cannot love him and now Troy wants to set her free. When Troy turns on the lantern, to Bathsheba, Troy is like a god appearing from the gloom, i?? his sudden appearance was to darkness what the sound of a trumpet is to silencei??. His dashing and sudden appearance dispels the darkness into light. i?? You are a prisoner Missi?? , suggests that he has imprisoned her. i?? Said the soldier drilyi?? , the word i?? drilyi?? shows that Troy is not being serious and is mocking Bathsheba. There is a hint of sexual desire when Troy touches her hand.
To this simple action Bathsheba gets very i?? flusteredi?? and i?? vexedi??. When Troy pays her a compliment, i?? Thank you for the sight of such a beautiful facei?? , she is not sure what to say or do. So she says: i?? Twas unwillingly showni??. In reply Troy says that he likes her better for her i?? incivilityi?? just to aggravate her even more. All the time he is mocking her. i?? Why should such a fair girl have such an aversion to her fatheri?? s sexi?? , here, Troy is asking her why she cannot like him. Perhaps it is unfair? i?? Troy added a sigh which possessed as much archness in it as a sigh could possessi??.
Here, the word i??archnessi?? shows Troy as being playfully saucy. Bathsheba thinks that she wants to leave but stays because of her dress. Here, Bathshebai?? s vanity is still dictating her actions. She does not rip the dress away because it is the one which suits her best. This is also an excuse to stay with this brilliant, dashing, gallant young man. Whilst Bathsheba is deciding what to say (p. 144) Troy says i?? not too cruel! i??. Here, Troy is pretending to be scared and once again is mocking her. Once the knot has been undone Troy says: i?? I wish it had been the knot of knots, which therei?? s no untyingi??. Here, Troy is hinting at marriage.
This makes Bathsheba even more distraught and she resolves to i?? run indoorsi??. Safely indoors she asks Liddy about Troy and reflects upon her actions. Looking back upon her actions she sees how badly she has behaved and ends by thinking well of the impudence which had praised her. Troyi?? s first meeting with Bathsheba does not have the critical overtone of Oaki?? s (he observes her vanity in chapter 1) nor is it like the public meeting with Boldwood in the cornmarket. This is the pure but attractive confrontation of the sexes (i?? Are you a woman? i?? I am a mani?? ). b) In what other roles do we see Bathsheba in the rest of the novel?