Mayor of Casterbridge Close Reading Ch.1

Topics: Thomas Hardy, Marriage, Thomas Hardy's Wessex Pages: 1 (427 words) Published: March 17, 2013
The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter One Analysis
In Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, the first chapter introduces many elements of the story—such as time and place—to give it a realistic setting and to show intent. From an analytic standpoint however, the type of relationship between Michael Henchard and Susan Henchard is also present. With the inclusion of the relationship, it also subtly reveals both individual’s flaws as well. Hardy introduces the Henchard's relationship as husband and wife and to do so, Hardy mentions, “That the man and woman were husband and wife, and the parents of the girl in arms there could be little doubt” (Hardy 2). The author claims the couple walks in silence, but never tries to mention that the couple is content with each other, which implies regret in marriage. To further prove his point Hardy writes, “no other than such relationship would have accounted for the atmosphere of stale familiarity which the trio carried along...” (2). The author uses this quote to emphasize the strain on the husband's bond with his wife and child. While there is strain, there will always be a chance of breaking that bond. The author reveals Michael Henchard's flaws early on in the chapter while subtly revealing Susan Henchard's flaws later on. Hardy reveals Henchard's flaw when he was at two tents and the first “announced 'Good Home-brewed Beer, Ale, and Cyder'...and in front appeared the placard, 'Good Furmity Sold Hear.' ...inclined to the former tent” (5). Henchard does not care enough about his family to take their decision into consideration and opts for alcohol. Even so, after going into the second tent, he still gets his furmity with rum and eventually gets drunk, where he then tries to sell his wife. This shows that he regrets ever marrying her when he was young. This is also where Susan Henchard reveals her flaw, being to soft-spoken. While Michael drinks, she suggests “'Michael, how about our lodging? You know we may have trouble in...
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