Moreover, Boldwood is in a lunatic asylum all because of her unthinking valentine prank “Marry Me. ” I believe Bathsheba does achieve happiness with Gabriel but it is hard won, and this happiness is not unalloyed. There is a shadow over it, “and Bathsheba smiled (for she never laughed readily now), Bathsheba is exceedingly unconventional and ahead of her time. She is not a Victorian woman she is more a modern woman. We can see her lack of conventional behaviour when she rides on horseback and her lack of conventional views when she refuses Gabriel’s proposal.
Bathsheba does not want to be dominated by a man she wants to be independent. To do this Bathsheba had to overcome a great deal of male prejudice, as males believed that only males could become farmers. To become a mistress Bathsheba had to overcome the rustics. Whenever they met in Warren’s Malt house they criticized her for not having a bailiff.
To overcome this Bathsheba had to show courage and be astute. She had to make decisions, for example hiring and sacking those working for her. She showed financial astuteness when she decided to visit the Corn market and would not be cheated.
Bathsheba excites a good deal of interest and admiration in the Corn Exchange but Hardy reminds us that it was “unquestionably a triumph to her as the maiden” and not as a result of her bartering skills. Bathsheba had determination to involve herself, “I shall be up before you awake; I shall be afield before you are up; and I shall have breakfasted before you are afield. In short, I shall astonish you all. ” Bathsheba chose to dispense with the bailiff and decided that she would go round the farm each night checking that everything was secure. This was very courageous of Bathsheba.
However, she thought that she did not need masculine aid but this was not the case as she had to have help from Gabriel when the sheep were blown up from eating the clover, when the ricks were on fire and when the ricks needed protecting during the storm. But Bathsheba is successful as she dominates the lives of the men and she has power over them. The men are always talking about her; she dominates their conversations as well as their lives, ” A headstrong maid, that’s what she is and won’t listen to no advice at all” and ” I don’t see why a maid should take a husband when she’s bold enough to fight her own battles, and don’t
want a home; for ’tis keeping another woman out. But let it be, for ’tis a pity he and she should trouble two houses. ” The gossip is lively but embraces her virtues as well as her faults. We have a new type of woman here, a modern woman, who Hardy admires for her audacity, but there is no sacrifice to her femininity. She is still flirtatious, capricious, charming, sensitive and vain but she is headstrong. For example we see the flirtatious side of her when she rescues Oak from near -suffocation as a result of his carelessness in leaving the ventilation shutters of his lambing shed closed. She says to him,
” I would just as soon not tell it -rather not. There is no reason either why I should, as you probably will never have much to do with me. ” Bathsheba would not tell Gabriel her name. She told him that he would have to find out from her aunt. We see how vain Bathsheba is when she is gazing into her looking glass whilst on the back of a moving wagon. She is surrounded by “tables and chairs with their legs upwards,” but when no – body is looking “and the only sound heard in the stillness was the hopping of the canary up and down the perches of its prison. ” she took the time to unwrap the package and surveyed herself attentively,
“She parted her lips and smiled. ” It is, then, this vanity, which makes Bathsheba want to break Boldwood’s reserve – he is the only man in the Corn Exchange who pays her no attention. This is also what makes her succumb so easily to Troy’s flattery. Hardy speaks of vanity as “woman’s prescriptive infirmity”: that is, a weakness, which only women suffer from. Yet, we also see Bathsheba sensitivity, as she is genuinely sorry when she realises the damage she has done by sending the valentine to Boldwood and is prepared to sacrifice herself to him in a marriage that, at best, would be founded on guilt and duty.
We see Bathsheba’s charm at the end of the novel when she goes to apologise to Gabriel and ask him to marry her, Bathsheba: “But you will never know,” Gabriel Oak: “Why? ” Bathsheba: “Because you never ask. ” Bathsheba has the best and the worst of femininity. She is a woman ahead of her time but she is still very much a woman. By Contrast, Fanny’s course is downward while Bathsheba’s is upward. Fanny breaks the sexual laws and pays the harsh price for this; this is that she herself is broken. Fanny is helpless when she traipses to the barracks to convince Troy that they must get married and when she waits at the wrong church for Troy.
Fanny knows that if Troy does not marry her she will be a social outcast; this results in her begging Troy. Here Hardy is showing how helpless women were in Victorian times. Hardy is also telling us that there was a double standard in Victorian times. This is that sexual looseness is a source of amusement and admiration for men, in this case Frank, but for women, in this case Fanny it wrecks their life. Fanny becomes a person of no account, which shows society’s coldness. She disappears and to get to the workhouse Fanny has to depend on a dog. Fanny was dependant on a dumb creature.
This is a very visual chapter as the dog is the only thing that helped Fanny and then it was stoned away, “”I stoned him away,” said the man. ” The dog that helped Fanny is a stray just like her. Hardy uses the dog as a symbol for Fanny because the are both rejected and badly treated: the dog was stoned, Fanny was left by Troy. There is the utter desolation of the barracks and the workhouse in these scenes. Hardy sympathises with Fanny but has great contempt for Troy and the workhouse officials who treated her so badly. Hardy has no contempt for Fanny’s loss of her virginity but he says that Fanny was too trusting to the wrong man.
There are various views of marriage discussed in the novel at first, which affect Hardy’s portray of women. Bathsheba sees marriage in terms of the battle of the sexes, marriage and triumph for the woman. This is a very immature view: “People would talk about me and think I had won my battle, and I should feel triumphant, and all that. ” It is immature as a battle may only be a short-lived victory. Oak on the other hand has a very different view of marriage. He sees it as constancy and stability, “Whenever you look up, there I shall be – and whenever I look up, there will be you. ”
Oak does not think of marriage as a competition like Bathsheba. He believes that it is much more serious. Hardy sees marriage as changing a distraction into strength. He thinks that in pursuit one cannot think about anything else. All one thinks about is capture and leading him on. This then changes from a distraction to strength and support. Yet Frank Troy sees marriage in a cynical light; he thinks that all romance ends in marriage. The rustics see a husband as someone to fight the battle for women, as stereotypical women are frail, fragile, caring, in need of looking after and that their main role in life is as a housewife.
They believe that the main reason for marriage was for strength; so that the man could protect the woman, make her decisions and work to bring money into the family. To the men Bathsheba’s marriage will mean surrendering her independence, “I don’t see why a maid should take a husband when she’s bold enough to fight her own battles,” Bathsheba herself knows this and it disturbs her. Bathsheba does not feel ready for marriage. She wants to be independent. Bathsheba receives her first proposal from Boldwood, “I come to make you an offer of marriage. ” Yet Bathsheba does not want to be married.
In Victorian times when his novel was written marriage was viewed as a highly desirable state in most women’s view, but this was not the case for Bathsheba. She did not want to get married. The novelty of her position had not yet worn off. Bathsheba shared the view of the rustics and treasures her independence. She sees no need to marry. Moreover Bathsheba would be reluctant to marry without love, she would not settle for status alone. Three suitors, each of whom is very different from the other, pursue Bathsheba Everdene and shape her life as a woman.
Cite this essay
Sergeant Francis Troy. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/sergeant-francis-troy-4953-new-essay