Mayor Of Casterbridge By Hardy Analysis

Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge does an excellent job of displaying
Casterbridge’s realistic Western England setting through the architectural
buildings, the behavior of the townspeople, and the speech used throughout the
novel. All of these aspects combined provide a particular environment Hardy
called “Wessex” which infuses the work with reality and a life. The
love which Hardy had, for architecture, is displayed throughout this novel with
the descriptions of the surrounding countryside, the buildings, the commerce,
the roads, and the amusements that make up the environment of Casterbridge. The
town of Casterbridge in Wessex, an ancient name for the West Saxon kingdom of
the Middle Ages, is no longer used geographically. It comprises of Doreshire and
parts of other western England countries. The country and the town meet at a
mathematical line. The town is shut in by a square wall of trees, like a plot of
garden grounded by a box-edging. When overlooking Casterbridge, there are
towers, gables, chimneys, and casements standing tall and strong to show the
development of the buildings. The chief hotel in Casterbridge-namely, the Kings
Arms, is a spacious bow-window projected into the street over the main portico.

The homes of Casterbridge consist of timber homes with overhanging stories,
whose small-paned lattices were screened by dimity curtains on a drawing-string.

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There were other houses of brick-nogging, which derived their chief support from
those adjoining. The roofs consisted of slate patched with tiles, and
occasionally there was a roof of thatch. Detail to buildings of Casterbridge
gives readers a visual insight to the composition to the social classes of the
town. Leading onto the townspeople who keep Casterbridge alive and productive.

Social classes of the townspeople determine each individuals behavior and how
others treat each individual based on social class or status. The characters may
seem odd to some audiences, yet these characters are at all times real. They are
based on people Hardy had grown up with, people whose tragic histories had
unearthed during his early architectural apprenticeship, people he had heard
about in legends and ballads. The agricultural and pastoral character of the
people upon whom the town depended for its existence was shown by the class of
objects displayed in the shop windows. The lower-class was classified as
mischievous knaves by Hardy for he personally, along with others of status, was
not very fond of them. There is one obvious example in the story which displays
the greed and importance of show, of the upper class. In Casterbridge’s best
hotel when the Mayor was having a big dinner party, the blinds were left
unclosed so the whole interior of this room could be surveyed from the top of a
flight of stone steps to the road-wagon office opposite, for which reason a knot
of idlers had gathered there to watch what they couldn’t have. The higher
classes took what lavishing capabilities they had and frolicked in them for all
below to envy and want. Although the behavior and mannerism of the townspeople
is blunt, it is realistic and influenced by real life situations through the
mind of the author. A less obvious yet realistic part of the setting which can
normally be over-looked but is emphasized throughout this novel is the speech,
or dialect of the characters and townspeople. Social class is very obviously
shown through the speech of every individual. Higher class residents of
Casterbridge often spoke much more vulgar terms. They have their own folk
dialect which modernly is referred to as slang throughout regions influential on
the environment of the speaker. Speech is also an issue with age and maturity
which is excellently presented throughout the entire course of the novel in
Elizabeth-Jane. Hardy shows the gradual change that takes place in her speech
through the years. In the first portion of the novel when Elizabeth-Jane is
young, she has a sense of playfulness and good times. But as she grows older and
her sorrow increases. Elizabeth-Jane turns more to study and reflection. Towards
the end of the novel, Elizabeth-Jane is a full grown woman who has her life
established and knows where she stands in social status. She is melancholy and
kind. A matronly woman whose speech seems highly studied and affected. Hardy
does an excellent job of taking the little things society tends to overlook and
accenting them to show how realistic each individual is in the town of
Casterbridge. The townspeople, the buildings, and the speech of every individual
throughout the novel.

English Essays