In ‘Far From the Madding Crowd. Thomas Hardy was very interested and concerned with the plight of working women. In Hardy’s times poor women were known as the working class and they worked for high-class women who were rich. Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ reflects on the plight of working women. Hardy uses a character named Fanny Robin who is an orphan and a low class-working woman. She works on Bath Sheba’s uncle’s farm. Thomas Hardy portrays her as a timid girl. She comes across as an innocent and a vulnerable person.
Fanny Robin’s life is based on chance and fate. She isn’t in the entire novel but still is a very significant character and is a Greek chorus. In parts of the novel where Fanny isn’t mentioned she still has a lot to do with the plot. At the beginning of the novel Hardy describes Fanny as a stranger in a negative way and doesn’t mention her name. A quote from chapter seven that show this is ‘It was a slim girl, rather thinly clad. ‘ Fanny Robin isn’t really seen as an important character and is more seen as a person in the background at first.
In chapter eleven it’s the first time the audience see Fanny and Sergeant Troy together having a conversation. You see the difference in social classes between them. Fanny wants to marry Troy and is madly in love with him, but he doesn’t really care about her. Sergeant Troy even criticises her. Her social class hinders Fanny. A quote from chapter eleven that show this is “It is, when shall we be married, Frank? ” “Oh, I see. Well- you have to get proper clothes. ” However Fanny Robin is used to bring out the true personality of Sergeant Troy; he is seen as a negative character in the novel.
This is when Fanny and Troy are to get married and Fanny is so excited that she ends up going to the wrong church. Sergeant Troy then refuses to marry Fanny. It is in this part of the novel that the audience see what type of a person Troy is and feel for Fanny Robin. Farmer Bold wood believes Troy is hopeless and has no future with Fanny. Fanny is a weak character and is instrumental in bringing Troy and Bathsheba together. Fanny is unable to anything as she is a low class-working woman whereas Bathsheba has a lot of money and owns a farm.
Furthermore Fanny shows vulnerability of Troy and Bathsheba’s relationship. Troy finds Fanny in a barn she’s really weak and has no money. Sergeant Troy asks her to meet him on Monday and he says he will bring her some money. For the time being he sends her to a workhouse. A quote from chapter thirty-nine that shows this is ” On Monday morning, at ten exactly, meet me on Grey’s Bridge, just out of the town. I’ll bring all the money I can muster. ” We see that Franck Troy does care for Fanny, but not as much as he loves Bathsheba. Fanny Robin is weak and fragile.
She slowly makes her way to the workhouse she has nothing to support her so she uses sticks as clutches. Fanny has consumption and dies the night she arrives at the workhouse. It is then the audience find out Fanny was expecting Troy’s baby. The baby is also dead. The audience sympathises with Fanny. Sergeant Troy doesn’t know Fanny Robins dead and waits for her at Greys Bridge. Thomas Hardy uses dramatic irony at this point to involve the audience. Fanny is used to bring out Gabriel’s true emotions, as he sees the coffin of an unfortunate woman and child.
In chapter forty-five we see Troy and Bathsheba’s relationship fall apart, as Fanny’s coffin is placed in Bathsheba’s home. Even though Fanny is dead she is very significant as Bathsheba finds out that Fanny and Troy were to get married and that Fanny was expecting a child when she died. Troy is devastated to see Fanny dead and tells Bathsheba that he never loved her and that she could never replace Fanny. It is then we see another side to Sergeant Troy that we have never seen before.
Troy spends all his money on Fanny Robin’s tombstone and decorates it with flowers. The audience still doesn’t sympathise with Troy, as they know how he was like in the past. In Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ we see that such a small character can be so significant to the entire novel. In this novel we see Hardy’s concerns for the plight of working women and it involves some of Hardy’s past. As he was bought up in a rural society and had experienced some of the issues at the time bought up in the novel.