There are worlds beyond this world we live. The worlds outside this world are made of characters, stories and plots that bewilder us with their qualities, interesting twists and outcomes. We are the ones who enjoy those worlds outside this world within this very world every day. Today, I will share one of my bewilderment with the readers of Indian Book Critics – Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. This is a novel that I always think about, often read and seldom finish. I have read it about 5 times – thoroughly. However, do let me tell the readers that every time I finish this novel I think about several ways injustice has been served to poor Oak – yes, our own beloved farmer Gabriel Oak.
The novel has been praised and criticised by various scholars and critics and also regular readers. I don’t intend to do either of these – neither praise the novel unnecessarily and nor criticise it vehemently. I have a few points to make and I will make them. However, before I make these points here, let me ask my readers to have a complete basic idea of the plot as well as the conclusion of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd.
Who is at fault?
The novel is a cobweb – cobweb of emotions and relations. Oak proposes Bathsheba but she denies saying that Oak cannot be the one to tame her. She, indirectly, implies that Oak is rather a meek guy who cannot contain the ambitious and wild (in a good sense) character Bathsheba is. However, Bathsheba mistakenly proposes Boldwood and this guy is vehement and a freak, almost. Later, Bathsheba is sued by Troy who is a flirt and has already ditched a woman after making her pregnant. Bathsheba finds her emotional and ambitious asylum in Troy’s tricks. Troy is short by Boldwood and Boldwood lands in Jail. Bathsheba approaches poor and meek guy Oak and proposes marriage. Oak agrees – the novel ends.
Why? Mr Thomas Hardy, why? What was in your mind?
People charge Mr Hardy for too much reliance on fate and they are right as well. Fate plays a very vital part here in getting Oak and Bathsheba together. But, isn’t he justified in proposing that fate helps the fate of a true lover? Oak is a physical synonym of loyalty, love, selfless affection and devotion and he is rewarded by fate.
As beautiful as it could be! Reading Far from the Madding Crowd can have adverse effects on your reading taste and you might start disliking the modern and contemporary crap that we read these days. So, be careful. The language is excellent and Hardy has described everything in details. His love for greenery and countryside – the Wessex, is evident here as well.
Does it end happily, really?
Well, the feminists might claim that Hardy was a misogynist. The otherwise might claim that Hardy hated love. However, the novel perfectly sums itself up and the idea of selfless love triumphs at the end. This is a novel that has every inch almost perfect. And I strongly suggest reading this novel.
Get a copy of this masterpiece by Hardy from Amazon India:
Click the link to buy the novel – Amazon India
Review by Manish for Indian Book Critics
Far from the Madding Crowd
- Indian Book Critics' Rating
You cannot deny reading this… love triumphs…
I was astonished to believe what I am reading when I read it for the first time. I don’t think anyone can wait for so long for a girl even if he is in true love but oak did that’s why he is the most famous character in the romantic novels.
If we talk about the injustice done to Oak then I totally agree with you.
Yea, you are raising a genuine point here that Mr Hardy was little unfair to farmer Oak. However, in all of his novels, at last, a humble character gets the recognition and the same has happened here. We can call it unfair, injustice or inequality but Far from the madding crowd and Hardy is my favourite.