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What is the theme of the "Far from the Madding Crowd"?

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benebicta | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 24, 2008 at 4:57 PM via web

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What is the theme of the "Far from the Madding Crowd"?

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morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 25, 2008 at 12:54 AM (Answer #1)

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"Far From the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy has several themes. The most fundamental one is the theme of unrequited love. Bathsheba loves Troy, but he does not love her back. Boldwood has feelings for Bathsheba, but she does not return those feelings. The characters are trapped in a state of malcontent. The novel also deals with issues of social hierarchy. One's social rank was extremely important in England at this time, and the reader is certainly aware of this as the plot progresses.

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 25, 2008 at 1:23 AM (Answer #2)

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Some of the themes in “Far From the Madding Crowd” are unrequited love, the social caste system, and tragedy.  The biggest part of the novel is about Gabriel being in love with Bathsheba.  Through his tragedy of losing the farm, and her good fortune of inheriting the farm from her uncle they become socially unacceptable as a couple.  He is too poor and she is too rich for the union he so badly desires. 
The themes of the novel are evident from the first few chapters.  Once Gabe has lost his farm, he is “free to wander anywhere in search of work, but he heads to Weatherbury because it is in the direction that Bathsheba has gone. This move leads to Oak’s employment at Bathsheba’s farm, where he patiently consoles her in her troubles and supports her in tending the farm, with no sign he will ever have his love returned.”  Then there is the complication of Boldwood’s feelings for Bathsheba. “Bathsheba herself suffers a similar unrequited love for Sergeant Troy. She feels he is mistreating her once they are married, but she cannot help herself because she loves him so much. …When they argue trip he plans to take to see Fanny, and Bathsheba regrets how much she used to love him, Troy can only mutter, “I can’t help how things fall out . . . upon my heart, women will be the death of me.” When he is thought to have drowned, though, Bathsheba still thinks enough of him to go on waiting, to see if he will come back. “

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