Literature in English JAMB Past Questions - Myschool
He is unaware of the past relationship between Lucetta and Henchard until Lucetta confesses Related Characters: Michael Henchard (speaker), Donald Farfrae Line-by-line modern translations of every Shakespeare play and poem. Susan lies to Elizabeth-Jane about her connection to Henchard. because she loves Farfrae throughout the novel, despite his relationship with Lucetta. She again falls in love with Farfrae and marries him. But at the same time she constantly fears that Henchard will reveal their past relations with Farfrae. After all .
He is presented as a believable character in every step. No doubt he commits the greatest error by selling his wife and daughter. But everything happens out of his identical designing.
Thomas Hardy At the very beginning of the novel he is presented as a married man having a daughter and wife. He never tries to cheat his wife by keeping any kind of relation with any other women.
But Lucetta Templeman is also another emotional figure. In her youth, She met Michel Henchard in her native Jersey. She wishes to marry him. Henchard on the other hand had his wife and a daughter for whom he had sold unconsciously.
But when he couldn't get his wife and daughter for a long time he falls in love with Lucetta. Here the love of Henchard is not presented so badly. It is not the crime of Lucectta who wants Henchard. She keeps her love affair with Henchard because she knows that Henchard is without wife and child. He declares bankruptcy and moves to a cottage owned by Jopp.
Farfrae buys Henchard's business, house, and furniture. Henchard asks Farfrae to give him work as a laborer, and Farfrae agrees. Henchard hates Farfrae, though, who now owns all that was once his and is married to his former lover. The twenty-one years of Henchard's oath have passed, and he is drinking again. He begins to utter threats against Farfrae. The current mayor dies, and the town council elects Farfrae to replace him.
Henchard's Love affair with Lucetta in The Mayor of Casterbridge
Henchard has some letters that Lucetta wrote him years ago, during their affair. He knows that these letters, if made public, would ruin both Lucetta and Farfrae, but he has too much feeling for Lucetta to do the deed. However, he stupidly assigns the vengeful Jopp to return the letters to Lucetta.
Jopp reads the letters aloud at a tavern, and the crowd plans a "skimmity-ride," in which effigies of Henchard and Lucetta will be paraded through the town to publicize their past affair. Chapters Henchard challenges the smaller, frailer Farfrae to a wrestling match to the death, but, when he is in a position to kill Farfrae, Henchard lets him go. The skimmity-ride takes place. Lucetta is so horrified by it that she has a seizure and dies.
Newson appears at Henchard's cottage. He says that his being lost at sea was a ruse to let Susan out of their relationship.
Newson has acquired wealth and now wants to share his money and his remaining years with his daughter. Henchard tells Newson that Elizabeth-Jane is dead.
Conflict between Henchard and Farfrae as the Central Thematic Element
Newson accepts this and leaves town. Henchard and Elizabeth-Jane renew their affection for each other, and she decides to take care of him. Chapters About a year later, Henchard and Elizabeth-Jane are running a small shop and making a living. Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane begin spending time together. Henchard sees Newson outside of town and realizes that Newson somehow knows that Elizabeth-Jane is alive and has returned for her.
Unable to bear the loss of his "daughter," Henchard leaves Casterbridge. When Elizabeth-Jane meets Newson and learns that he is her father, she turns against Henchard. Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane are married.
Henchard thinks that perhaps he was wrong in assuming that Newson was in Casterbridge to see Elizabeth-Jane, and, full of hope, he returns to Casterbridge on the evening of the wedding. He sees Newson dancing with Elizabeth-Jane and knows he has lost her. She sees him and is cold to him, and he apologizes and leaves for good.
A month later, Elizabeth Jane feels remorse for her treatment of Henchard, and she and Farfrae set out to find him. Several miles from Casterbridge a man at a humble cottage tells them that Henchard lived there but died less than an hour previously. He has left a will requesting that Elizabeth-Jane not be informed of his death and that no funeral be held for him.
Elizabeth-Jane, touched by his acceptance of his fate, abides by his wishes. He quickly becomes Henchard's only trusted friend and, later, his adversary in both business and love. Hardy draws Farfrae as Henchard's counterpart in every way. He is physically small, polite and charming, careful and controlled, forward thinking, and methodical.
Whereas Henchard propels his fate through moments of rash behavior, Farfrae is cool and calculating in all he does. Although his personality is friendly and engaging, Farfrae maintains a certain detachment from people and events, always considering the possible consequences of his decisions and actions before he makes them.
As a result, his path through life is as smooth as Henchard's is rough. Farfrae initiates a relationship with Henchard by providing information that is a great help to Henchard in solving a business problem and by refusing Henchard's offer of payment for the information.
Henchard is so grateful and impressed that he talks Farfrae into abandoning his plans to go to America and convinces him to take a job as Henchard's business manager. Because Farfrae is more organized and methodical than Henchard, the business prospers under his management. Farfrae is ambitious enough to eventually go into business for himself, though, and this enrages Henchard even though Farfrae, in his typically principled way, tries to minimize competition between the two firms.
Farfrae courts Elizabeth-Jane and even hints that he would marry her if he were in a financial position to do so, but when he meets the newly wealthy Miss Templeman—Henchard's former lover whom he, too, is again courting—he turns his affections to her and marries her. Farfrae's careful approach to life wins him all that was once Henchard's: He marries Henchard's former lover and, after she dies, marries Elizabeth-Jane.
Farfrae even becomes the highly respected and well-liked mayor of Casterbridge. For Farfrae, though, the competition between Henchard and himself is never personal or mean-spirited. When the destitute Henchard asks Farfrae for a job, Farfrae hires him and makes sure that he himself never gives Henchard orders.
Farfrae also offers to give Henchard any furniture or personal belongings that he would like to have back from the bankruptcy sale. The Furmity Woman The furmity woman runs the shop in which Michael, at the beginning of the novel, gets drunk and sells Susan. She appears again eighteen years later, when Susan and Elizabeth-Jane return to the village where the sale occurred to try to find Henchard.
The furmity woman is still there and remembers that Henchard returned a year after the sale. She tells Susan that Henchard told her that he was moving to Casterbridge and that if a woman ever came asking for him, the furmity woman should pass on this information.
The furmity woman makes a final appearance in Casterbridge to seal Henchard's fate. Henchard is a judge, and the furmity woman, when brought before him on a public obscenity charge, recognizes him and tells the court about this shameful past. She takes the baby with her when she goes off with Newson, and when readers see Susan eighteen years later, again with her daughter, Hardy gives the impression that this is the same infant grown up.
Only later do readers learn that Henchard's daughter died a few months after he sold Susan and that this girl is Newson's daughter.
As Susan and the eighteen-year-old Elizabeth-Jane set about finding Henchard, Elizabeth-Jane knows nothing about her mother's marriage to Henchard. She thinks that her mother and Newson were legally married and that now Susan is in search of a distant relative by marriage who may be of some help to them.
Early in the novel, both Elizabeth-Jane's natural beauty and her innate intelligence have been compromised by her poverty. She has no education and no prospects in life. This is why Susan is willing to risk the possibility of being rejected and humiliated again by Henchard; she sees him as her daughter's only hope for a better life. Once Henchard begins providing for her, Elizabeth-Jane blossoms both physically and socially.
She becomes the town beauty and is admired by young men, including Farfrae, with whom Elizabeth-Jane has been quite taken since their first meeting. Hardy draws Elizabeth-Jane as a healthy mixture of levelheadedness and deep feeling.
When Henchard's money allows her nice clothes, she enjoys them but doesn't overspend or flaunt her position. She also takes advantage of her newfound leisure by reading and studying to improve herself; she has always been embarrassed by her lack of education.
When Farfrae abandons her for Miss Templeman, Elizabeth-Jane simply withdraws quietly although she loves him. Unable to hold a grudge or remain bitter, Elizabeth-Jane finally marries Farfrae after Miss Templeman dies. And although she lashes out at Henchard when she finds out that he has lied to keep her from Newson, she soon forgives him and goes to find him.
She is touched by Henchard's will and honors his wishes. Michael Henchard Michael Henchard is the towering but tragic hero of The Mayor of Casterbridge; the novel is his story.
He is physically large and powerful. His character is a strange mixture of the light and the dark. Henchard is true to his word. Until he hires Farfrae, he runs his business with few written records, and the townspeople know that they can trust him to keep the contracts he makes orally. Yet he sometimes says things that are rash and even cruel and then follows through on them just as if they were contracts made in good faith.
Such an outburst causes him to sell his wife at the beginning of the novel. Henchard has the willpower and determination to keep an oath for twenty-one years, yet he seems to rarely think ahead, and, in a single moment of ire, he can do a deed that ruins years of effort.
He is so honest that when the furmity woman exposes his past, he readily admits that she is telling the truth, and when he declares bankruptcy, he willingly turns over everything but the clothes on his back to his creditors. Yet when Newson comes looking for Elizabeth-Jane, Henchard tells him she is dead. Henchard begins the novel a young man who is poor but who at least possesses a skill, the vigor of youth, and a wife and child. Yet he is convinced that his early marriage has ruined his chances in life.
After shamefully ridding himself of the wife and child, he forswears the alcohol that undoubtedly fueled the deed and almost completely forswears the company of women, channeling all his energies into his business. And so, at first, the punishments that he imposes on himself for selling Susan lead to his success.
But fate and Henchard's own abiding guilt conspire to destroy him. Fate places Donald Farfrae in his path, and Henchard chooses first to bring the man into his business and then to make him an adversary—the thoughtful, self-possessed adversary who will end up with impetuous Henchard's public office and stature, his wealth, his business, his home, his furniture, his lover, and, finally, his stepdaughter. To help cruel fate along, Henchard indulges in one self-destructive act after another.
When he would like to ruin Farfrae's business, he instead speculates foolishly and ruins his own. When he wishes to return some highly inflammatory letters to a former lover, he entrusts the delivery to a man who openly hates him. When Elizabeth-Jane is all he has left in the world, he tells lies that are sure to estrange her from him.
Henchard ends up much poorer than he began, having lost, for a second and final time, his wife and her child and having lost the strength and potential of youth.
At the end of the novel, he walks away from Casterbridge utterly alone and soon dies in the hut that has been his final home.
He dies before he can know that Elizabeth-Jane has softened toward him, and his will makes clear that he would have wanted it so.
His final wish is, in effect, to be obliterated for his sins, which a lifetime of penance was insufficient to obliterate in his own mind. His will asks that Elizabeth-Jane not be informed of his death, that no ceremony mark his passing, that no flowers mark his grave, and "that no man remember me. The small efforts she makes to control her fate are useless; she steers Henchard away from what is clearly a saloon to a place that appears not to serve alcohol only to find that the proprietor in fact sells rum on the sly.
When Michael sells her to a sailor, Susan assumes that the transaction is valid and that she must stay with him. She lives peaceably with him for many years and bears him a daughter before a friend finally makes her realize that she is not bound by Henchard's act.
After the sailor is presumed dead at sea, Susan sets out to find Henchard, hoping to benefit her daughter. It never seems to occur to her that he might have an obligation to Susan herself. Once she finds out that Henchard is mayor of the town and well off, far from desiring to take advantage of him or ruin him, she wishes she could leave Casterbridge without meeting him.
For the sake of her daughter, she goes through with her plan to approach him. Even the townspeople of Casterbridge see that Susan has no sense of self; they call her a "ghost. Jopp Jopp is a lowlife villain who is driven by dark emotions.
The day that Henchard hires Farfrae to be his business manager, Jopp shows up in the office having been previously offered the job that Farfrae now has. Informed that the position is no longer available, Jopp goes away steaming and bent on revenge.
Further events fuel this desire. Among other things, Henchard does finally hire Jopp but then fires him unreasonably when Henchard's own business decisions prove disastrous. Henchard foolishly gives Jopp his chance for revenge when he asks Jopp to deliver to Miss Templeman a package of scandalous letters. Jopp reads the letters aloud to a tavern crowd, which then plans the "skimmityride" a parading of effigies through the town to call attention to adultery that ends in Miss Templeman's death and Henchard's further humiliation.
Newson Newson is the sailor who buys Susan at the beginning of the novel. He shows that he does have some scruples when he says that he will take Susan only if she is willing to go with him. His relationship with Susan and with Elizabeth-Jane is portrayed as kind and cordial. When Susan comes to understand that their relationship is not legitimate, Newson does her a kindness by having himself reported lost at sea, allowing her to leave his house without guilt and with a small amount of money.
Newson's basic decency is seen later in his desire to share his wealth with Elizabeth-Jane, in his acceptance of Henchard's word that she has died, and in his lack of bitterness when he discovers that Henchard has lied to him. At the end of the novel, Newson lives within sight of the sea but also near his daughter.
Lucetta Templeman Lucetta Templeman is a superficial, unthinking woman who, like Henchard, suffers several reversals of fortune and ends badly. Henchard has an affair with her before Susan arrives in Casterbridge, and this affair ruins Lucetta's reputation. To try to repair the damage, Henchard, thinking that Susan is probably dead, offers to marry Lucetta. Before the marriage takes place, though, Susan returns, and Henchard must call off the wedding.
After Susan dies, Lucetta inherits wealth, and Henchard renews his interest in her. Lucetta is more interested in Farfrae, though, and marries him. When Lucetta's old letters to Henchard become public, the scandal of their affair returns to haunt them both, and Lucetta is so distraught by this that she suffers a seizure and dies. Farfrae soon realizes that Lucetta was not a good match for him and that, had she lived, their marriage would not have been happy. Themes Blind Fate The idea of a blind, arbitrary fate is a central theme in Hardy's fiction.
Although this fate is blind, it is not neutral but almost always cruel. It is a force that brings suffering and feels no pity or remorse. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, blind fate manifests as a series of ruinous coincidences and unforeseeable circumstances. Such coincidences and circumstances seem to conspire against Michael Henchard from the opening scenes.
The Conflicts Between Henchard and Farfrae in the Mayor of Casterbridge :: Science Publishing Group
There are two shops offering food at the fair; one clearly advertises that it sells liquor, but the other seems not to do so. Susan, knowing Michael's weakness for alcohol, steers him to what seems to be the "safer" of the two establishments. But, as fate would have it, the proprietor there sells rum on the sly, and Michael is soon drunk and loudly insisting on his desire to sell his wife. Next, along comes a coincidence in the person of a man who has both the money and the inclination to accept the offer that Henchard has been unwilling to let drop in spite of attempts by his wife and others to silence him.
The man happens to be a sailor who takes Susan to Canada, far beyond Michael's reach as he searches for her. And so the tide of fate that will carry Michael inexorably to his tragic end gathers strength. It is not swayed by Henchard's repentance, by his shame, by his vow not to drink, or by his lifelong efforts to right his wrong.
It is as if a curse has been uttered and cannot be withdrawn. Relationship between Character and Fate In The Mayor of Casterbridge, more than in some of Hardy's other fiction, the theme of blind fate is interwoven with a second theme that might at first seem contradictory: Every coincidence or unforeseen circumstance is paired with a choice.
Henchard could have refused the furmity woman's rum, but did not. He could have refused Newson's offer to buy Susan, which would have required the courage and strength of character to admit that the offer was a drunken mistake.
Compare and contrast Michael Henchard and Donald Farfrae. What traits do they have in common, and what differences are there between the two men? Name a single character trait that you think is the cause of Michael's downfall and explain why you think that trait, above all others, is Michael's tragic weakness.
In The Mayor of Casterbridge, Susan allows herself to be "sold" and willingly goes with the man who has "bought" her. What else might Susan have done? What alternatives did she have? Do some research about rural life in England at the time, and list only alternatives that were realistically available to a woman such as Susan. Then explain which alternative you think is the best choice for Susan—one of those you have listed or the action she takes in the novel—and why.
Hardy set all of his novels in the Wessex region of England where he was born. In The Mayor of Casterbridge and other novels, he used real places—towns, roads, bodies of water, and even shops and hotels. He used the real names of some of these places and gave fictional names to others. Imagine that you are going to write a novel set in the region where you live. Draw a map of the region, showing the towns, roads, and other places that will appear in your novel.
For each place, decide whether you will use its real name or make up a name and write the names on your map. Finally, write a one-page description of the region shown in your map. Make your description as detailed as possible to give readers a feel for the place; describe the landscape, people, animals, weather, sounds, smells, and so on. Circumstance and character hold a conversation throughout this novel. Each circumstance is a question that Henchard must answer, and each answer both illustrates what kind of man Henchard is and determines what kind of man he will become.
In the beginning, Henchard has much control over his fate; more than once, he is presented with the opportunity to prevent the curse from being uttered. But once he has sold Susan, his choices have much less power.
A line has been crossed, a process has been set in motion, a deed has been done that all of Michael's future efforts will be inadequate to erase.
Although he makes many moral choices from that moment on—to forswear alcohol and to "remarry" Susan, for example—Michael has lost control of his fate. As these two themes of blind fate and personal character weave through the novel, Hardy leaves readers to interpret just how the two relate. Judging by Michael Henchard's end, though, Hardy's message seems to be that each choice a person makes limits future choices and that a single bad choice can put a person forever at the mercy of blind, uncaring fate.
Michael Henchard can be compared to a seaman in a storm who, in a moment of carelessness, loses his grip on his ship's wheel and is never able to regain control of his course. It was common for novels to be published serially, in magazines or in stand-alone sections.
The Mayor of Casterbridge was first published serially, in twenty installments, in an English periodical called The Graphic in It was published simultaneously in the United States in Harper's Weekly. Hardy's original manuscript, with some sections missing, is at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.
The Mayor of Casterbridge was published in book form as soon as the serial publication was complete. Many novels of this period differ slightly in their serial and book forms authors were aware of the serial format as they wrote and structured their stories to keep readers interested from one week to the nextbut this book differs substantially from the serial novel. In the serial form, for example, Henchard marries Lucetta. Hardy's biography supposedly written by his second wife but actually written almost entirely by Hardy himself reveals that he felt this novel had been badly damaged by the demands of serial publication and that his revisions for the book publication were not adequate to repair the story.
The text of the novel that is available to today's readers is the final revision that Hardy did for the Wessex Edition of his novels. Victorian novels often deal with social issues. While social issues play a role in The Mayor of Casterbridge, the novel was a departure from the norm because it focused consistently on a single character, Michael Henchard. Because of this limited focus, the novel is shorter and has a smaller cast of characters than many novels of the time.
The area was invaded, settled, and named by the Saxons, who ruled it as a kingdom, in ancient times. While most novelists set their stories in real places, Hardy is distinctive for two reasons. First, although the author traveled widely, in the writing of his novels and stories, he never strayed beyond the boundaries of his native region.
In his general preface to his final, revised version of his novels, Hardy explained, "there was quite enough human nature in Wessex for one man's literary purposes. He describes the towns and farms, the roads and hotels, and the smallest details as they really were.
When Hardy describes a house, it is likely that readers in his time knew exactly which house he had borrowed for his tale.
In some cases, Hardy used real place names; in others, he gave fictional names to real places. While Stonehenge and Southhampton appear under their actual names, Casterbridge is, in reality, Hardy's hometown of Dorchester. In his preface, Hardy points out that his general rule was to use the real names of the major towns and places that mark the general boundaries of Wessex and to use fictional, disguised, or ancient names for most other places.
Even Hardy's characters are based on real people more than most fictional characters are. Most are composites of people he knew or knew of and his own embellishments. He borrowed bits of characters and story lines from the folklore and ballads of Wessex. The fact that he lived a long life in Wessex and had access to church records in his early work as an architect and church restorer gave him an intimate knowledge of local life and its too-frequent tragedies. Gothic Elements Gothic fiction was popular between about and Gothic authors used threatening environments the foreboding hilltop castle on a stormy night ; brooding, malevolent characters; dark secrets; and the supernatural and occult to instill a sense of horror in their readers.
Gothic fiction has influenced much of the fiction written in the past two hundred and fifty years, and Gothic elements were prominent in the novels of the Victorian age.
Gothic elements appear throughout The Mayor of Casterbridge. One striking example is the meeting between Henchard and Susan at the old Roman amphitheater called the Ring. The Ring is outside the town, and Henchard and Susan meet there at dusk.
Before Hardy narrates their meeting, he spins a long, ghostly description of the place that infuses it with a history of gloom and gore. Readers are reminded of the bloody Roman sports for which the place was built. They are told that the Ring was long the home of Casterbridge's gallows and treated to a lurid description of a murderess being "half-strangled and then burnt there in the presence of ten thousand spectators.
By the time Hardy finally brings Henchard and Susan to the scene, he has made readers feel that there truly is something dark about their purpose here, though on the surface their meeting is cordial. Coincidence Coincidence, too, was a common plot device in Hardy's time and one of which he makes frequent use in The Mayor of Casterbridge.
For example, the furmity woman happens to stumble into Casterbridge, of all towns, and at just the right time and in just the right circumstance to do Henchard great harm. The weather happens to change just when Henchard is vulnerable to ruin because of his risky attempt to destroy Farfrae.
There are two ways of looking at Hardy's coincidences. Some readers and critics say that they make the story unrealistic and therefore less effective than it would otherwise be. Others point out that coincidences are not, in and of themselves, unrealistic, as life has its fair share of them.
The question, this latter group would say, is whether the coincidences themselves are realistic or not. In the case of The Mayor of Casterbridge, the answer seems to be at least a qualified "yes. Anyone who has ever farmed can testify that there is nothing more unpredictable, more uncontrollable, and, seemingly, more contrary to the wishes of farmers than the weather. Hardy employs coincidence to help him—and his readers—explore the nature of fate. He leaves open the question of whether coincidences are merely chance suggesting that fate is blind or whether what appear to be coincidences are actually directed by some supernatural hand that guides men and women to the fates they "deserve.
Victoria and her husband, Albert, set the tone of English life and culture for most of a century. It was a time of social and moral conservatism; the "family values" of the time were similar to those touted in late-twentieth-century America.
Pragmatism was valued above romance, duty above pleasure. Beneath the veneer of gentility and commitment to duty and family, the Victorian age, like every era, had its dark side. Prostitution flourished, and lurid crime stories—both true and fictional—were popular.
Hordes of small children living by their wits on the streets of London and other cities were a testament to the limits of the commitment to family. The wife-selling incident that is at the center of The Mayor of Casterbridge is a fictional instance of a type of transaction that did, indeed, occur in rural England in the nineteenth century.
The early Victorian period was a time of social reforms. Laws were passed governing working conditions of women and children they could not work in underground mines, for exampleand attempts were made to improve conditions in prisons and insane asylums.
Efforts to broaden access to education England had no public schools at the time stalled because of controversy over the Church of England 's role in expanded education. Writers such as William Makepeace Thackeray and Charles Dickens took up the cause of reform, using their writing to point out the need for prison reforms and education and the evils of industrialization and the class system.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, England was experiencing unprecedented political, industrial, and economic power, fueled by the Industrial Revolution and by wealth from the colonies. All forms of transportation boomed; railroad ridership increased sevenfold, and the shipbuilding industry grew.
Living standards of the working class and middle class were buoyed, and trade unions were formed to promote the interests of skilled workers.
By the late s, Queen Victoria had ruled for fifty years. The British had consolidated their rule of India, and the empire was expanding, especially in Asia and Africa. Domestically, however, the economy was faltering.
The United States and Britain took over as the world's leading producers of manufactured goods, and British farmers suffered from foreign competition. Economic hardships sparked immigration to the British colonies and to the United States.
More than two hundred thousand Britons left home each year during the s—as Newson did and as Farfrae intended to do in The Mayor of Casterbridge. The price of English grain is falling due to competition from overseas farmers.