In Far from the Madding Crowd, what ways does Bethshba behave unconventionally and what effect does this have on her life?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Bathsheba is the central figure of the novel. At the beginning of the novel she is around twenty years old and poor, helping to tend her aunt's farm. She is vain. The first time Oak sees her she takes out a mirror and examines her face, unaware that anyone is looking. She flirts with Oak but does not accept his proposal of marriage because she does not believe he can put up with a strong-headed woman like herself.

When she meets the dashing Sergeant Troy, she falls for his extravagant flattery, falls in love with him, and ends up marrying him. He spends her money, ignores her, and almost ruins her farm. Throughout these difficult times, she relies on Oak, both for help in managing her farm and as a sympathetic ear to listen to her troubles.

Bathsheba becomes a colder, more pragmatic person after Troy leaves. She is hesitant to give Boldwood any hope of marrying her, because she is concerned about the way she hurt his feelings in the past. She focuses on business and tries to forget about men.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial