Compare ‘After the First Death’ with ‘Far From the Madding Crowd,’ with special consideration of each author’s style and characterization. I have recently read two books. The first was Thomas Hardy’s novel set in the English countryside during the nineteenth century. It told the story of Bathsheba Everdene’s arrival in the village of Weatherbury to work a large, dilapidated farm that she inherited. As a result of her inheritance, she met a dashing young cavalry officer whom she found herself infatuated with, and also of her growing tempestuous relationship with the shepherd-farmer, Gabriel Oak, whom she ends up marrying.
The second novel was Robert Cormier’s Terrorist,” which depicts a terrorist act in America during the twentieth century. The story involves a bus full of small children and a vulnerable high school cheerleader. The novel contains not only fear and heroism but also a psychological drama of ordinary people who are confronted with extraordinary events. In this essay, I will compare each novel, noting their similarities and extreme differences, even though they seem very different. Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” is a political and cultural novel.
It contains a great deal of detail, allowing each reader to create a unique interpretation of the scenes described. The author has used omniscient 3rd person narrative and a simple chronological order, making the story easier to follow. The chronology of Far From the Madding Crowd would have been beneficial at the time when Hardy wrote it, as the novel would have been published in chapters in the newspaper. As the novel was written during the time of the industrial revolution, Hardy took the opportunity to interject comments, analysis, and philosophical reflections on the concerns of the period.
These authorial comments are felt to be one of the factors that add to Hardy’s novel’s rich texture, as they offer the reader the opportunity to reflect on the text and its concerns. The interjections are also thought to set the social context of the events of the novel. It is therefore interesting that Hardy has chosen a non-stereotypical main role, Bathsheba Everdene. At the time that the novel is set, women are thought to be the ‘weaker’ sex. However, Bathsheba Everdene is quite the opposite, as she holds a role of authority and respect.
She tackles the stereotypical expectations of fellow farmers and countrymen at the market in Chapter 12, where they try to dupe her into buying poor grain. However, through this chapter, we also see Bathsheba’s self-confident side as she promotes herself to other men for them to admire. We get a sense here that her philosophy is that you can look, but you may not touch.” “Men are such a terrible class of society to look at a body,” she said in reply to Liddy’s comment.
During her meeting with Mr. Boldwood, Bathsheba finds it distressing that he shows no noticeable desire to woo her. She discusses his decision not to waste his time on her with Liddy. Later, Hardy’s narrative voice interjects, as if Bathsheba and her charms were thin air.” This technique effectively builds the character and gives us a sense of real-life rejection for exquisite characters. However, Hardy uses a very stereotypical character, Gabriel Oak, in contrast to Bathsheba.
Even his name ‘Oak’ gives a sense of the type of character he is and his personality. He is from the countryside and is down-to-earth, making it easy to imagine him as a strong, soft countryman. Hardy opens the book with a chapter named ‘Description of Farmer Oak – An Incident.’ He is immediately related to the ‘rising sun’ as his structure is described, making us voluntarily favor Gabriel Oak during his story. Hardy has also used yet another stereotypical character, Sergeant Troy, whom Bathsheba falls in love with and marries.
Sergeant Troy’s masculine and dominant character contrasts beautifully with the standardized rustic texture of Gabriel Oak, as they represent the black and white” of the male species. Sergeant Troy’s act of seducing Miss Everdene with his sword is a prime example of his masculinity and power. He demonstrates his skill, reactions, and daring nature in a way that is almost boastful. On the other hand, Oak’s heroic act is less daring but more practical, reflecting his character. He saves the sheep’s lives by piercing their stomachs, showing his knowledge and caring side.