I've decided to re-visit this classic story in today's book review . This is a refreshing change from the mainstream books , which are actually quicker and easier to read .
Far from the Madding Crowd narrates the story of the love of three men, Gabriel Oak, Farmer Boldwood, and Sergeant Troy, for the same woman, Bathsheba Everdene. Gabriel Oak is the protagonist of the novel, and the other two men are his antagonists, standing in the way of his marrying Bathsheba.
Bathsheba unexpectedly comes into possession of her rich uncle's farm and property. The shepherd Gabriel serves the young and spirited Bathsheba with unselfish devotion. He is the first to fall in love with her. He proposes marriage to her even before she acquires her uncle's property and is rejected. Bathsheba depends greatly on Gabriel's support but does not regard him as a suitor. Another of her admirers is the neighboring farmer, Boldwood; but Bathsheba does not love him either. The dashing Sergeant Troy loves one of Bathsheba's servants, Fanny Robin. However, after a misunderstanding, he deserts the woman. Eventually, she dies in childbirth in the workhouse. Meanwhile, Troy has captivated and married Bathsheba, but he soon begins to neglect and mistreat her.
I think that the beauty of this story is Hardy's creation of real life-like characters , complete with strengths and weaknesses . Besides the romantic angle , the real story was the growth of Bathesheba Everdene , who starts out as a vain , rash and impulsive woman . As the story progresses , she changes and becomes more of a likeable character . She is also independent , both in spirit and in finances ; and this allows the author to use her character to explore the danger that such a woman faces , of losing her identity and lifestyle through marriage .
Her three suitors are as different as day is from night .
The handsome , vain and irresponsible Francis Troy is the one who brings about conflict and it is through him that she becomes aware of her own shortcomings . The humble , honest , patient and loyal Gabriel Oak is the quiet observer , the "goody-two-shoes" , and saves her from catastrophe . The "wooden" and reserved William Boldwood becomes obsessed with her and by the end of the story , he faces a lifetime imprisonment .
The verbose writing style may be a dampening factor for some readers , but one has to keep in mind that it's part and parcel of the period in which the story was written , we're talking 1874 , after all !
HAPPY READING !!
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