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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Chapter 46

Appropriately, on the night of Fanny's burial, it rains heavily. Because of the heavy rainfall, a steady stream of water flows from the gargoyles on the church. From one gargoyle the stream flows directly on Fanny's grave and washes away all the flowers planted there by Troy. On waking, Troy is shocked to see the damage caused by the rainwater. Fate is against his performance of his duty as Fanny's lover. He curses his bad luck, walks away from the churchyard, and leaves Weatherbury.

With good reason, Bathsheba has not slept soundly during the night. Liddy informs Bathsheba that her husband has left Weatherbury and has been seen on the road to Budmouth. At Liddy's suggestion, Bathsheba visits Fanny's grave, which is in that part of the cemetery meant for sinners. Bathsheba spies Gabriel standing at Fanny's grave. His eyes are fixed on the inscription on the tombstone: "Erected by Francis Troy in beloved memory of Fanny Robin." Gabriel watches to see Bathsheba's reaction to the tombstone. She is remarkably calm. In fact, she asks Gabriel to fill in the hole made by the stream of water, and she replants the flowers. She also asks Gabriel to ask the church to redirect the flow of water from Fanny's grave. Before she leaves, she cleans the tombstone.


Notes

By now emotional shocks have become normal parts of Bathsheba's life. However, she exercises a remarkable self-restraint in this chapter. When she sees Gabriel at Fanny's grave and reads the inscription, she remains calm, signifying her new maturity and self-control. When she replants the flowers and cleans the tombstone, they are acts of acceptance and resignation.

Everything that Troy touches seems to be ruined. He is indirectly responsible for Fanny's death; he is directly responsible for Bathsheba's misery. Even the flowers he plants on Fanny's grave are washed away by the rain. In immaturity and with inability to face up to the truth, Troy flees from Weatherbury without telling anyone he is leaving. That Troy is a coward is clearly developed in this chapter. He lacks courage to face Bathsheba after putting the inscription on Fanny's grave.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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