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The Mayor of Casterbridge Teaching Unit
Excerpt From this Document
- The subtitle of The Mayor of Casterbridge is The Story of a Man of Character. In what ways is Henchard a “man of character”? What are some of his most admirable qualities?
- Discuss Hardy’s choice of The Mayor of Casterbridge as a title. Technically, the title could refer to either Henchard or Farfrae. Do you think Hardy intended it to have a double meaning?
- After a drunken Henchard sells his wife at a fair, he gives up alcohol completely—yet, decades later, entirely sober, he continues to make choices that cause himself and others hurt and shame. If alcohol is not his downfall, what is? Support your opinion.
- The Mayor of Casterbridge was originally published in serial form in a magazine. What aspects of both the plot and the points at which the chapters break might lead a reader to suspect that the book was published in that manner?
- Discuss the role of coincidence in the novel. Does the high occurrence of coincidences detract from the story’s believability? Does your opinion of the book change if you see coincidences as the workings of fate instead?
- What are some modern-day equivalents of the skimmity-ride? How are celebrities’ lives made objects of public ridicule?
- What function do the members of working-class Casterbridge (such as Longways and Mother Cuxsom) play in the novel?
- Discuss the significance of weather to the citizens of Casterbridge and its impact on multiple events in the novel.
About this Document
A teaching unit and individual learning packet from Prestwick House. Includes the following: comprehensive chapter-by-chapter study guides for students; questions suitable for essay topics or discussion; vocabulary lists; multiple-choice and essay test with answer key; introductory material from Prestwick House to familiarize both students and teachers with the work.