FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
‘Far From the Madding Crowd' is one of the best-known novels of Hardy. It is Hardy's finest masterpiece. In this novel many sides of Hardy's genius are shown fully developed.
The title of this novel is apt and justified. This is part and parcel of the novel. It is ironic. Here we find Hardy's ironic view of human endeavour. The limited location of this novel is centred on the village of Puddle Town. Most of the action of this novel takes place in the countryside.
The story of this novel has the wealth of variety. It has many facets. Joy and sorrow, action and description flash past in turn. The story runs through numerous incidents before it comes to happy consummation. Here we find the humour of rustic life and description of nature. What strikes us most is the variety of the moods and interests.
' Far From The Madding Crowd' is a purely pastoral novel. It has all the elements of a pastoral story and it maintains the dignity of pastoral tradition. In short, this novel is essentially a sheep and shepherd book. Here Hardy narrates an absorbing love story. This story is based on the love affairs of three men and two women. Gabriel Oak remains a faithful lover. It is a tragi comedy of rural life. Like all tragedies it leaves us face to face with the mystery of human evil and suffering. But the comic element is also very strong. The ending is a compromise between that of tragedy and comedy.
In this novel we find Hardy's art of characterisation in its maturity. Characters like Oak and Bathsheba are drawn from the most common- place walks of life. They are universal characters. The plot of the novel is dramatic. It is neatly constructed like a Geometrical figure. But the structural mystery is not flawless. The happy ending of the novel is not the natural out come of the plot. It is imposed on the plot.
Nature is an important element in this novel. It is prolific, splendid and lustful. Hardy sees nature as an organism. It includes all animate and inanimate things. The creation of rustic humour shows Hardy's comic genius. It is said that this novel is a rich storehouse of Hardian humour. Here hardy has used the pictorial method of narration. Its style is very simple.
Thus this is an excellent novel. It is highly popular. It made Hardy a great English novelist.