Then with the male symbolism coming into use, with Troy’s demonstration with the ‘raised’ sword, which ‘like a living thing’ both cuts and ‘thrusts’. This phallic symbolism is used to express ideas seen as controversial at the time. In this chapter, we see the characters take on typical Romantic novel stereotypes, Troy taking a fascination with Bathsheba and exercising male dominance over her, ‘she felt powerless to withstand or deny him’. With their relationship becoming a typical Victorian, male dominated relationship, with the submissive female.
I think her feelings of guilt stem from two things, firstly that she is meeting a man alone, and this was seen as socially and morally wrong. The second reason I think ‘she felt like one who had sinned a great sin’ is that she felt a sexual desire for Troy, and she wanted to do more than kiss him, but she knew at the same time that these feelings were wrong and against religious ideas at the time. These thoughts of desire were suggested with the ‘great sin’, with ‘great’ indication that it was more than the kiss.
Since the ‘hollow amid the ferns’ things have moved on quickly, but not in a good way for Bathsheba… Troy’s behaviour following his marriage has slowly being going down hill, leaving us to question the nature of his love for his wife. The marriage gained him independence and wealth, which he soon begins to take advantage of… leading the pair to emotionally fall apart. The issues within the couple are only worsened by the re introduction of Fanny into the story.
We can be lead to question the motives Troy had to marry Bathsheba, was it for love or was he just using her as a vehicle for him to climb the social ladder, gaining a life of ease? When Fanny returns, pregnant and penniless we see contrast between her life and the life of riches Bathsheba now leads, never the less, it is apparent who Troy really cares for, giving Fanny money to find residence, money of which isn’t even his own… lying to his wife to give to his ex. Her return prompts guilt and remorse in Troy, possibly because he left her after she went to the wrong church, and obviously why he is quick to come to her aide.
Analyzing Hardy’s methods of using imagery to explain how Bathsheba is feeling, with the ‘mountain’ and ‘cave’ telling of how she felt before the marriage and after, with the idea of a cave suggesting a more intense and interior solitude. Contrast is shown between Bathsheba and Fanny, Fanny is a woman of the world, where as Bathsheba is just a plain country girl, with little worldly experience. Bathsheba compares her mental state to that of Gabriel, the farm hand when she watches him going to pray before bed, he is at peace with himself.
Bathsheba is in a state of confusion, not knowing where she should go or what she should think. Gothic horror is included into the novel, with the gruesome subject matter, a dead illegitimate baby, being hinted at not described. This was written in the era of Gothic horror so Hardy could have been inspired by many great writers of the time. A new, more gruesome love triangle has arisen… with the dead Fanny, Troy and Bathsheba. Troy seemingly now on a mission to destroy Bathsheba, fuelled by the own torment he is feeling at the loss of his love.
He deceives himself, saying he never felt anything for Bathsheba and that Fanny would always have his love. This is an example of how people are thought differently of when they are dead; as when she was alive he didn’t confess these feelings. In conclusion I have enjoyed reading this novel as it was different and a change from the typical twenty first century texts I am used to reading; it has helped me to see how literature has changed over time. I found it difficult to read, although I slowly gained confidence reading the text. Overall I enjoyed reading the book and may be tempted into reading others by Hardy.