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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Chapter 54

Boldwood walks to Casterbridge and surrenders at the jail. The news of the murder spreads quickly. Gabriel arrives soon after Boldwood's departure. He discovers that the guests are completely bewildered and terrified. Bathsheba quietly holds Troy's body in her arms, and sends Gabriel to fetch the doctor. Before the doctor arrives, she has already taken Troy to her farm. Liddy informs Gabriel and the doctor that Bathsheba is upstairs with Troy's body. To their utter surprise, they find Troy's body has been made ready for burial. The doctor admires Bathsheba's iron-like strength of spirit. However, unable to stand the strain any longer, Bathsheba faints. The doctor's attention is now directed to Bathsheba. Liddy nurses her throughout the night. Bathsheba is in agony, for she blames herself for the tragedy.


Notes

The climactic tension of the previous chapter is relaxed, and the action slows down considerably. Boldwood lacks self-restraint but certainly not honor. He immediately walks to Casterbridge and turns himself into the authorities. Unlike Troy, he does not run away; he accepts his own guilt calmly.

Gabriel appears on the scene after the action is subsided. He is horrified at the events at the party, even though he has been spared seeing them. Not surprisingly, his concern is for Bathsheba, who holds Troy in her arms. With practicality rather than panic, she asks Gabriel to get a doctor.

Hardy clearly wants to depict a strong woman in Bathsheba. She has matured deeply through her suffering. She is openly calm about the tragedy and takes the body of Troy to her home. Evidence of her real strength comes in her ability to lay out the body of her husband for burial in the same night he was killed. Hardy's conception of women, however, also demanded that his portrait of his heroine include some display of weakness. Hence, even as she is praised for strength, she faints in weakness. With maturity, she also accepts the blame for the tragedy.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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