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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Notes

The conversation amongst the rustics at the Malthouse is humorous. It shows that they genuinely express their feelings. Although they gripe about some things related to Bathsheba, they have no real grudge to bear against their mistress. In fact, they appreciate some of her fine qualities. They also respect their new shepherd and are somewhat afraid of his power. Oak, however, does not enter the Malthouse as a picture of power; instead, he humbly comes in carrying four new lambs. He has brought them to be warmed by the fire. His powerfulness only comes out when the others criticize Bathsheba. He bangs his fist on the table, trying to stop their comments. Oak himself remains strongly supportive of his boss in every way.


The effect of the valentine on Boldwood has been very strong. In fact, he is carrying the card on his person when he enters the Malthouse to give Oak the letter. The valentine has also caused him to reveal part of his personal life to Oak, an action that is contrary to his secretive nature. Afterwards, he regrets having shown it to Oak. Boldwood's questioning Oak about the sender of the valentine develops the plot further. It is ironic that the holder of the valentine and the interpreter of the valentine both love the sender of the valentine.

Fate again comes into play in this chapter It is Fanny's misdelivered letter that brings Boldwood and Gabriel together. She has written him a note to thank him for his kindness and to return the shilling. Her letter also sets the plot in motion. Boldwood, who cared for Fanny as a child, has sought news about her to no avail; Oak, who met her only in passing and did not know her name receives a letter from her that reveals her whereabouts and her plans. Ironically, Bathsheba's future husband is the father of Fanny's child.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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