Under the Greenwood Tree

by Thomas Hardy

Start Free Trial

Who is Dick Dewy in Under the Greenwood Tree?

Expert Answers

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

Under the Greenwood Tree is perhaps Thomas Hardy's lightest and most optimistic novel. At its heart is the love and courtship story of Dick Dewy and Fancy Day, the schoolmistress whom he sees for the first time when out caroling with the church choir.

Dick Dewy is free from the brooding intensity that characterizes Hardy's later protagonists. His name suggests youth and innocence, as well as the rural background of the novel, and he fully lives up to it. He falls in love at first sight (his caroling companions, when they miss him, discover him rooted to the spot before the girl's window) and pursues his courtship with a cheerful simplicity that is almost unique in Hardy's work. His simple faith is rewarded, and Fancy's father, who had objected to a poor carter as a son-in-law, eventually consents to the union. The two are married, and Dick Dewy is one of the very few characters in a Thomas Hardy novel who will, so far as the reader can tell, live happily ever after.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team