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Essay title: Consider, with particular reference to Far from the madding crowd, the attitudes towards relationships between men and women conveyed in these texts reveal any marked changes in attitude? Comparison Social/Historical/Cultural contexts I have read and studied the relationships between men and women in the 18th and 20th century. There are six relationships investigated, taken from two short stories and a novel; ‘Far from the madding crowd’, a novel by Thomas Hardy ‘Tickets please’, a short story by D.
H Lawrence ‘Seeing a beauty queen home’, a short story by Bill Naughton. Four of the relationships involved: Bathsheba and Gaberial Oak Bathsheba and Francis Troy Bathsheba and Farmer Boldwood These relationships are taken from the novel ‘Far from the madding crowd’. Another one of the relationships involves, Maggie and Rudy This relationship was taken from the short story ‘Seeing a beauty queen home’. The last relationship involves, John Thomas and Annie Walker These were taken from the short story ‘Tickets please’.
Many of the characters share a lot of similarities and differences in the way they act and influence the relationships. For instance Bathsheba, John Thomas and Rudy are shown to be quite extremely proud, confident and vain this is shown by the author and foreseen by some of the other characters. “She simply observed herself as a fair product of nature in the feminine kind, Her thoughts seeming to glide into far -off though likely dramas in which men would play a part-vistas of probable triumphs-the smiles being of a phase suggesting that hearts were imagined as lost and won”.
Far from the madding crowd (pg 13) This shows Bathsheba as being very vain and aware of her looks. I feel that Bathsheba and john Thomas both use their attractiveness to gain what they desire, where as Rudy uses his charms more than his looks. In the relationship involving Bathsheba and Gaberial Oak, Bathsheba instantly hypnotizes Oak with her overwhelming beauty but Oak is aware of Bathsheba’s ability to break hearts. Bathsheba is neither physically nor sexually attracted to Oak, he feels hurt and thinks her vain.
By playing with Oaks emotions Bathsheba gains the upper hand in the relationship, she also uses this strategy in the relationship between Farmer Boldwood and herself. I felt that when Bathsheba thought herself clever by playing with Oak and Boxwoods emotions as thought they were toys, she showed her self to be a cold and insensitive person. In Tickets please John Thomas does something very similar to Annie in the way that he toys with her emotions but he also uses her for his physical needs. This insensitive act leaves Annie feeling very distraught and desperately seeking revenge.
The difference in these two relationships lies between the personalities of Annie and Gaberial Oak. Annie seems to be the weaker person as she needs to get her revenge and Oak although hurt moves on with his life but they both still posses feelings for John Thomas and Oak. Rudy and Farmer Boldwood are similar characters, as they used the women to improve their status. Boldwood had not noticed Bathsheba before she sent him a valentine, when he saw the look on men’s faces when he enquired about her as though she was a catalogue item; he grew to like her more.
I think this was because he thought all these other men obviously like and desire her but she sent her valentine to me. So, he immediately wanted her for his own. Without knowing how Boldwood would react or knowing much about his character she sent the valentine, she thought it a harmless prank but he thought it love. Rudy does the same because he felt that because Maggie was a beauty queen if he spent the night with her this would earn him that little extra respect. Although at first Maggie seems taken by this idea the joke is soon on Rudy when Maggie throws him out for being to sly and cocky.
For Bathsheba it is not so easy as Boldwood soon becomes overly obsessive it is interesting to see how Bathsheba reacts to Boldwood’s sudden change in character as she probably couldn’t of just thrown him out like Maggie through Rudy out as the times are different and so is the class. Bathsheba had to deal with Farmer Boldwood quiet formerly; although Bathsheba has the upper hand on the relationship Boldwood has a kind of emotional control over Bathsheba because she just cannot give him a straight answer. I think she cannot give him a straight answer because he bullies her by using his possessiveness and his need to have her.
“If a feeling possessed him at all, it ruled him; a feeling not mastering him was entirely latent. Stagnant or rapid, it was never slow. He was always hit mortally, or he was missed” Far from the madding crowd (pg 138) I felt that the relationship involving Sergeant Troy and Bathsheba was not Based on love in Troy’s be have but based on the spur on the moment and the fact that she had money, for if it was based on love Troy would have never left Bathsheba nor would he have said such hurtful things to her.
For a man who says that does not love at all. “This woman is more to me dead as she is, than ever you were, or are, or can be. If Satan had not tempted me with that face of yours, and those cursed coquetries, I should have married her” Far from the madding crowd (pg 334) But, if Troy loved Annie so much wouldn’t he have forgiven her for the stupid mistake that she made and married her either the next day or the same day. Instead he just left her because he was not man enough to swallow his pride.
In this relationship the attraction was physical and although Bathsheba may have thought that she loved Troy deeply, the love she felt for Troy could not compare to the love that she had always felt but never expressed or thought about or even knew was there for Gaberial Oak. In my view, Bill Naughton was trying to say think about what you do before you do it and also think about the other person, don’t just assume you know how the person will react. Otherwise this could be easily turned around and you could be made to look the fool.
Thomas Hardy implies you should not base a relationship on transient and superficial aspects – on looks. Also that people may not always fall for the person who is going to provide a stable relationship but they may fall for the person who is physically attractive who will not provide a stable relationship. For instance I think Thomas hardy chose the name Gaberial Oak as he was a true friend to Bathsheba and looked out for her like a guardian angel (the angel Gaberial) and the name Oak implies that he is solid and is strong. D.
H Lawrence is trying to say that we don’t choose whom we decide to fall in love with but one should not destroy a relationship because one gets cold feet. Some of the cultural and social differences between the 18th and 20th centuries reside not only in the relationships described in the three pieces of literature but also in the way they are written about. For example physical love is expressed more openly in the 20th century in Tickets please john Thomas holds Annie publicly. Also in seeing a Beauty Queen Home Rudy and Maggie are seen leaving together and this strongly suggests that they are going to have sexual relations.