Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy

The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy

This character study details how the protagonist’s personality enable him to endure years of hardships. Endure is a good word for this tale—it was all I could do to finish it. Henchard, the mayor of the title, is a thoroughly unappealing person. He gets drunk and sells his wife and child to a stranger in the first scene, and alternates between a martyr and ingrate for the rest of the book. We are supposed to respect the way he faces tragedy, but his actions seem so inconsistent that his high points didn’t make up for his lows in my opinion. For such a famous story, I was quite disappointed.

First Sentence:
One evening of late summer, before the nineteenth century had reached one third of its span, a young man and woman, the latter carrying a child, were approaching the large village of Weydon-Priors, in Upper Wessex, on foot.

No comments:

Search This Blog