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MonkeyNotes-Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy
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LITERARY INFORMATION

Hardy's description of the countryside in Under the Greenwood Tree is based on his knowledge of Dorsetshire, the countryside where he grew up. In fact, Mellstock in the book seems to be his native village, Stinsford, in thin disguise. The Tranter's cottage is a duplicate of the Hardy family's own home: "a long low cottage with a hipped roof of thatch, having dormer windows breaking up into the caves, a chimney standing in the middle of the ridge and another at each end." Hardy even describes the garden trees, the plants, and the creepers in such detail that he is obviously painting a picture from real life. The keeper's house at Yalbury Wood is similarly authentic and is described in the same detail, hinting that Hardy knew such a house.


The rustics in the novel also seem to be modeled after real people whom he had known in his childhood, and the graves described in the book are still visible today in the Stinsford churchyard. Additionally, the Hardy men, like the Dewys, were all members of the local church choir. Like the Mellstock choir in the novel, the Stinsford choir also came to an end when Hardy was a young child. It is clear that the tranquil Arcadian atmosphere created in the book is a recollection of Hardy's own happy childhood.

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MonkeyNotes-Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy
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