Far From the Madding Crowd: Setting and Theme
Discuss the relationship between setting and theme in FFTMC. Setting and theme in Thomas Hardy’s novel “Far from the Madding Crowd” have a close relationship, and this is exemplified constantly throughout the story. With the most prominent themes in the novel include social hierarchy of the Victorian era, the concept of unrequited love, and fatal catastrophe, setting immerses these themes into the story. In particular, background provides much of thematic strength, pathetic fallacy being an example. This novel offers us a clear image of how important social position was in England in the nineteenth century and of the opportunities that existed to change class, in either direction. The course of Oak best exemplifies this, as at the beginning of the story, he and Bathsheba are equal in social status. The only thing that prevents Bathsheba from accepting his proposal of marriage is the fact that she doesn’t want to be married yet. After Oak’s financial downfall, the social gap between the two is too wide for them to marry; she is more socially compatible with her neighbour, Farmer Boldwood: “Mr Boldwood has more standing than me in this matter.”
However the situation in rural nineteenth-century England did offer opportunity to those in the lower positions to move up. Over the course the story, Oak, with hard work manages to bridge this social gap between Bathsheba and himself. This theme carries throughout the entire story and plays a key part in the setting of Weatherbury’s lesser inhabitants and their actions that affect the main characters. Another important theme is unrequited love, in which the first part of the novel is driven by love for Bathsheba. “After his discovery of the vanished Bathsheba’s destination,” Oak after his financial ruin could go anywhere, decides to follow the woman he loves,...
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