The missing piece: Thomas Hardy’s less popular books

bored

I completed reading the short story anthology by Robert Louis Stevenson a few weeks ago and I haven’t bought any new novels. This makes me feel a little bit hollow. On one side, I feel lighter because I have no commitment of reading a number of pages within a day or a week. I have no self-appointment to be met. I can read online articles whenever I want without feeling guilty.

On the other hand, something is missing. An important piece of my life is wandering, waiting to be found. And I know I need to read a decent book. In particular, I want to read another title by one of my most favorite authors, Thomas Hardy. I want his books BADLY. The problem is I don’t know how I can find them in the offline bookstores in Jakarta. The store I frequently visit sells only his popular works, such as The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I read all of them years ago.

The point is I have to buy his lesser known stories via online, something that I haven’t done. May be you wonder why should Hardy’s books? Well, I have to admit that there are no writings that suit my taste better than his. I like Robert Louis Stevenson’s writing style and his descriptive writing technique yet his chosen themes don’t match up with my likeness. They are incomplete, some things remain unresolved, as seen in Olalla and The Treasure of Franchard. Although, yes, they definitely entertain me so much.

In addition, I think it is because Hardy’s works or say, Hardy’s viewpoints are similar with my own; idealistic, realistic and pessimistic (I am working on the latest point to be more positive tone). His view of life and society and romance are comprehensive and contains a lot of critics. His writings are very reflective, prompting me to think on issues in broader ways possible. Romance in his eyes are not just a matter of feelings. And I am always captivated by his fictitious characters, so humane with flaws here and there.

For the sake of enjoying good writings, I am going to buy Hardy’s books. Let’s see how can they fill up the voids in my heart for I can’t take it anymore. I am really in dire need of beautiful words, thoughtful writings.

The picture is taken from this.

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So, where do the desolations in the works of Thomas Hardy come from?

I have written a lot about Thomas Hardy’s most well-known novels; their summaries, analysis, comments, joys, frustrations, and as far as I remember, none of his personal life has been included in this blog. Separating authors’ private lives with their works is inevitable though I want it to be untrue.

I have been wondering what makes Thomas Hardy’s novels are too hard to bear. I have been questioning how come the endings of his best books leave me with mixed feelings. Even the ending of ‘Far from The Madding Crowd’, which I think is his only happily-ever after-finale book among ‘Tess’, ‘Jude The Obscure’, ‘The Woodlanders’, ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ and ‘The Return of the Native’, doesn’t thrill me. It does relieve me but not excite me.

And today I reread the writer’s biography, particularly on his marriages. I have once read about it but missed some great points on his love life; that he and his first wife, Emma Lavinia Gifford, were happy in the first years of the marriage but later grew distant. Secondly, Hardy, though perhaps is spurred by his first childless marriage, began visiting some other women, one of whom was Florence Dugdale, his second wife, while he was still married to Emma.

However, his second marriage proved to have been bleak as well. Hardy, despite his aging period, became so glued at his study while Florence was in the shadows of Emma, whom ironically he ignored when she was still alive. After Emma died, Hardy regretted how much he neglected her and how bad her illness was. He had a wreath containing “From her lonely husband, with the Old Affection”.

I can’t imagine how miserable his life back then. The saying that goes “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” is quite suitable to describe his life after the death of Emma. Hardy can’t remedy the things that have been gone away. This is the most saddening of all.

Despite the rumors that Hardy was an unfaithful husband, I put another concern on how complicated Hardy’s personality is. On one side, he had affairs with some women, including Florence, but in another side, he neglected her, too. He preferred working to have lived his second marriage, taken care and loved Florence as his wife. May be his only friend was his jobs, his writings, his views about life in general.

I myself sense that his personal stories either directly or indirectly add dreary tone in many of his novels. Although they don’t explicitly tell readers about Emma, or Florence or his childless marriage but there’s a lot of things to wonder beyond that somber atmospheres.

In ‘Tess’, Hardy mostly brings out its most dramatic, bleakest sides. Not to mention is his standpoints on the faith, trust and an almost long-life regret by Angel Clare.

“The Mayor of Casterbridge” is attached with sadness because Micheal Henchard dies amid the ending of the book that is sealed with the marriage of Elizabeth Jane and Donald Farfrae.

And oh, “The Return of the Native”. Although it’s better that Clement Yeobright lives alone after the death of his unfaithful wife, Eustacia Vye, I can’t help feeling a bit gloomy after reading the book. The union of Thomasin Yeobright, Clement’s cousin, and Diggory Venn, doesn’t help me much.

All I remember about “The Woodlanders” is the unrequited of Marty South, a faithful, peasant girl who is in love with Giles Winterborne although he loves Grace Melbury. Marty South remains faithful to Giles, visits his graveyard while Grace returns to the arms of Edgar Fitzpiers.

While for ‘Jude the Obscure’, Hardy’s last completed novel, is way too much heartbreaking. Besides “Tess”, this book puts Hardy and Emma in heated arguments. The outcry from churches and public at that time is said to have made Hardy no longer  writing novels then devoted much of his time composing poems. For those who haven’t read the novel, “Jude” revolves around the love of Jude and his cousin, Sue Bridehead, which was controversial at that time. Furthermore, they eloped,  were against license marriage though they later got married due to people disapproval on their romance.

Again, while my opinions may be incorrect, I think it’s worth noting how Hardy’s life say something about his forlorn ideas seen in his major novels.

 

“The Three Strangers” by Thomas Hardy

I thought I would never again find another title other than famous novels by Thomas Hardy in the Kinokuniya bookstore. “Far from the Madding Crowd,” Jude the Obscure”, “The Major of Casterbridge”, “Tess of the D’urbervilles, “The Return of the Native”, and “The Woodlanders”, are his widely-read books, which I have read, too. Usually, the store sells only most popular works from an author, including Hardy, thus discovering his short stories collection is such a rarity for me.

Aside from the glee that I am going to read his less popular stories, the fact that the book is just as Rp21,000 or less than US$2 is perfect for my current pocket.  The 85-pages book contain his three stories – “The Three Strangers”, “The Distracted Preacher” and “The Fiddler of the Reels. So far, I have completed reading “The Three Strangers” which leave me with mixed feelings about the writer.

Before going on the reading remarks, I would like to share what the story is all about:

The loneliness of Higher Crowstairs, the name of a cottage, is broken down by the gathering of 19 persons — men and women from various professions. They dance, talk about so many things while listening to the beautiful rhythm coming from a 12-year old fiddler boy. One of the attendants in the conglomeration is shepherd Fennel and his wife. The blitheness of the party comes to a stop when a stranger knocks at the shepherd’s house.

Not long after that, a second strangeman goes in, too. While the first produces no sign of awkwardness, the second one seems a bit avaricious and mysterious at least for Mrs. Fennel. Although she tells her husband how she dislikes the look of the second man and that she feels he is a bit avaricious for quickly drinking lots of mead, Mr. Fennel ignores her complains.

The night goes on and the second stranger joins the party by singing a song about shepherd which stimulates the wonder among the people because of the man’s strange lyrics. While he is about to resume his song a knock at the door is audible. The third stranger, a man in a decent dark clothes, is about to ask for a direction but he stops saying after his eyes catches those of the second stranger. The latter keeps singing, though, that later makes the third man gets trembling, shaking then running away.

While the group has yet to fully understand the motives of the third man’s sudden departure, a gunshot shocks them. Later, they learn that the police are looking for a shepherd stealer. They then quickly conclude that the third man is their target given his super quick, weird behaviours. The male attendants pursue him, including the second man.

However, he does not follow the overall research and stops by at a friend’s  house. At the end of the search, the people and the authority finds the third stranger then brings him to the police. Surprisingly, the police declare that the third stranger is not the wanted man. The third man then explains that it is the second man who becomes the object of the investigation. He flees from the shepherd’s house after he finds out that the second man, who is also his brother, is there, too. When his brother rises his bass voice, the third stranger quickly learns that the former does not want to be found thus the latter chooses to escape. At the end of the story, the second man is never discovered.

 

 

Humans’ dark sides and literature

Let me begin this long piece of story from my thoughts after reading Jude the Obscure. Before I read this novel a couple of months ago, I had known the title from its movie under the title of just Jude. I stumbled across this movie as I searched every movie Kate Winslet starred. This not-so-famous movie earned her many praises. As curiosity grew, I visited my favorite bookstore and found the book. But I didn’t buy it at once although it first pages stole my heart right away. The reason was I knew beforehand the core story of the novel so I didn’t want to spoil my reading with such bleak, pessimistic story. So instead, I firstly read Far from the Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge, both of which have left me with outstanding remarks about Thomas Hardy.

But I always have this kind of tendency; the more I avoid something, the more curious I am. So, it’s only a matter of time that I eventually bought the novel. The book is quite thick but never mind. And as expected, I read it quite fast. About a month to end up reading the thick book and I was completely into the book. I mean, I enjoyed reading it a lot. I was really satisfied; the language, the characters (Hardy is always brilliant in characterization), the plot (he is always focused on major characters), the settings, the story, all main elements met my expectations. But there’s one thing disturbs me a lot, until today: the suicide of Jude and Sue’s three kids, one of whom is the son of Jude and his first wife, Arabella.

I knew that this book is very dark but I never thought that it is that frosted. I would wholly understand if Jude or Sue decide to commit suicide, but their little children? No wonder that many critics condemned the book once it was published. And I understand why Hardy finally gave up writing novels after this one came out. Not only this book earn many negative critics about its pessimistic themes, but also people attacked the novel due to its strong oppositions against marriage institution and definitely Christianity learning. Moreover, Hardy includes incest as the foundation of Jude-Sue’s romance, such a taboo theme when the book was published in late 19th century.

In relation to these after-reading feelings, I would like to bring up subjects about humans’ dark sides that surprisingly (or may be not) put some books into top 100 literary works of all time according to The World Library, a list of 100 best ever literary works as voted by 100 writers across the globe.

Of all the 100 titles, I learn one of the major reasons that make some of the titles to be included in the list is because they highlight human beings’ negative trait. The point of these titles is the characters can’t control their own dark sides that these cause them into downfall. Let me pick up some titles (FYI, I don’t read these titles, I just read their synopsis):

1)    Lolita

id.wikipedia.org

image source: id.wikipedia.org

This novel is so phenomenal that it produces terms, like Lolita complex, famous heart-shaped glass that is strongly identical with Lolita. Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov is so brilliant in creating a character so complicated as Humbert Humbert (even the name is already confusing, I mean, why double Humbert?). The book is about Humbert’s possessive love toward a girl, much younger than his age namely Dolores Haze or usually is called as Lolita. As the book progress, Humbert becomes her stepfather after her mother dies. Humbert declares that he loves Lolita but I can see that he turns out to be very possessive as a father and as a lover. Is a love like that a normal thing or not? Or .. Does Humbert have problems with his mentality so that he makes use his true love to justify his deeds? Surely, I don’t want to read this book. I already find it very disgusting to read a love story like this one.

2)    Medea
www.historyforkids.org

image source: historyforkids.org

This old Greek drama written by Euripides is about the myth of Jason and Medea. Medea is Barbaric woman who takes revenge of his own husband, Jason, because he marries Glauce, the daughter of Creon king. What makes this story is so tragic as ever is that Medea kills their son to completely break Jason’s heart. My question is simple: Why does she do that? Killing her own son to torture his husband’s heart?

3)    Mrs. Dalloway

en.wikipedia.org

image source: en.wikipedia.org

This book is the best ever story written by Virginia Woolf. And to be honest, this is the most difficult novel I have read so far. Too many implicit stories with difficult language I find it hardly to digest. Apart from self-identity issue, I think this very high level of language difficulty also contributes this book into the list. I entirely accept the suicidal decision in the book. That matches the plot. But, suicidal themes always trigger me to question on why many authors opt to end their stories with suicides? Has life been that desperate?

4)    The Stranger

www.guardian.co.uk

image source: http://www.guardian.co.uk

I don’t know what to say about the novel. Albert Camus is definitely such a brilliant, sophisticated writer that my brain will be hardly able to cope with his ideas. The book is about a man namely Mersault who smokes cigarettes during his mother’s funeral then makes love with his friend. He then shots dead an Arabian that later put him into jail. During his trial, he is as cold as stone. He gives no regrets about his deeds and refuses to ask for God’s forgiveness. Understanding one’s strange qualities can never be this hard.

5)    Sons and Lovers

www.csaword.co.uk

image source: www.csaword.co.uk

This used to be my would-be-read book but after reading this synopsis I give it up (probably) for good. The book is about the love of a mother namely Gertrude Coppard toward her two sons; William and Paulus. The novel stirs a debate as Gertrude, who is unhappy with her marriage, clings her happiness on her sons. Her relationship changes from a tender love of a mother to a romance between a man and a woman. At first, she loves her first son who later passes away due to pneumonia then she shifts her love to the second son. The deep connection between the mother and both sons make them unable to intertwine love stories with girls they meet. Even Paul’s latest girlfriend, Clara Dawes, is unable to bring their relationship into marriage because the mother dislikes her. To this, Paul chooses her mother.

A mother loves her sons like a woman devotes her heart for a man? You know why I find it so difficult to understand the characters’ traits.

In my opinion, exploring humans’ unthinkable deeds or strangest traits are always interesting and disgusting at the same time. People always have the bright and dark sides that make them normal. The problem arises when people can’t put everything into a balance hence makes them suffer at the end. Literature provides such a good way for many authors to bring up taboo topics. And I think that’s good. We can’t turn a blind eye on the aforementioned themes as they do exist, like it or not. What must be put into concerns is that I hope readers have their own filters when reading the books. The purposes of the novel, I believe, is to make their eyes open on the presence of the topics, understand the reasons then avoid doing similar things. I strongly hope readers won’t take these kind of books as justifications to make other people believe that their misdeeds are normal, or can be normal, as these have been debated in old literature.

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

thank you to http://www.pearsoned.co.uk for the picture

Young Micheal Henchard and his wife Susan Henchard were walking side by side with a baby girl in her arms. Both spoke only a few words as their poor condition forced them to contemplate on what they would do to make ends meet. They embarked on a fair in a quite crowded market later on then stopped by to take a rest.

Emotional Henchard had a drink with unknown guests at a stall. As they began talking about nonsense, Susan was trying to get her husband out of the place but to no avail. Henchard kept on talking and talking till he came to the silliest idea of selling his wife and his sole child. At first, Susan nodded as she knew that must be a joke. But Henchard convinced her on his initiatives. Five shilling was more than enough for him to start a new life in a new place. While Susan, who was tortured by her husband’s ill-temper, said “yes” after she received confirmation from Henchard on his decision to sell her and their daughter. The bargain kicked off but no one was willing to spend the amount of money Henchard had set.

Just when all men interested at buying Susan and her daughter gave up, a handsome man came up and agreed with the bargain. Richard Newson, a young sailor, had been standing for five minutes when Henchard kicked off the sale. So, all was decided and off they went away whereas Henchard sat with the money in his hands.

The following day, Henchard woke up feeling clueless on what had happened. When he opened his eyes, the place was quiet. Soon, he realized on what he had done to his little family and started to regret it all. He began searching for their whereabouts for few days but no luck. He wandered all along till he saw a church. There he made a vow that he would not drink for twenty years ever since that day.

Years passed by. Two women, one was in her middle age while the other was in her teenage, were going along streets leading to the place where the bargain had occured. Susan took her daughter Elizabeth-Jane to the site in a hope they would discover Henchard. Luckily, they met the stall owner who gave little clue on his whereabouts. Soon afterwards, both left for Casterbridge, the place where the store owner had indicated.

Both survived on their own after Newson was missing during his duty in the sea. He was regarded to have died since no news was heard. Once reaching Casterbridge, they sought for information related to Henchard.

Susan quickly made up her mind not to extend their journey as she heard that her husband was still alive and a reputable person in the town. Furthermore, Henchard was now a successful farmer that upheld his current position as the mayor of the city. Susan felt worthless should she meet him by now. Elizabeth, on the other hand, opposed her mother’s desire as they had walked miles to find him.

As such, they went on to a hotel and encountered a group of people gathering in one of the rooms of the place.

Susan was astonished to recognize one of the faces was the man whom they were looking for. Yet she was reluctant to meet him after knowing his recent condition. She sent her daughter instead to join and listen to their conversation.

The essence of the talk was about people dissatisfaction with Henchard’s bread products that tasted bad. They urged him to improve the plantation but he insisted he knew no better method to make it better. Elizabeth-Jane did not really care about the discussion somehow. Instead, her eyes fell to those of a charming face who immediately left the hotel after he left a note for Henchard.

She persuaded her mother to stay at the King of Prussia, a modest inn nearby the hotel where the man, namely Donald Farfrae, chose to spend the night. The inn might cost them a bit, thought Susan, upon their arrival. To minimize the bill, Elizabeth-Jane offered herself to arrange the meal for herself and other guests. To this, the inn owner agreed as she had few persons to help her.

Farfrae did not notice when Elizabeth-Jane entered her room with a tray. Feeling a bit dissapointed, Elizabeth-Jane joined with her mother to discuss further ways to either meet with Henchard or not. Unintentionally, they overheard the dialogue between Henchard and Farfrae as the latter’s room was beside the women’s.

Henchard was attempting to make Farfrae to work at the former’s plantation. Henchard was sure the Scotchman was the manager he has been searching for. But Farfrae politely declined this offer even after Henchard was willing to pay him a handsome amount of salary. Farfrae preferred to leave for the U.S where he could seek better lives there.

Susan changed her mind. She would send her daughter to let him know his wife was in the town and was expecting that both should meet.

the picture is taken from http://www.thenewspaper.net

Henchard was surprised to see Elizabeth-Jane standing at the door of his big house. He then allowed her to sit while he was reading a letter from Susan. Happy yet still shocked, Henchard replied the letter while looking at the eyes of the girl whom he had been searching for so many years. But as the letter suggested, Henchard did not tell Elizabeth-Jane that he was her real father.

Like Susan, Farfrae changed his mind, too. He decided to receive Henchard’s offer as the latter seemed so earnest. Thus, he stayed at the house and led the plantation on a daily activity.

After more than 10 years, Susan and Henchard finally reunited. Henchard apologized on his foolish acts years before and stopped drinking ever since. Susan received his apology and both agreed to start a new chapter in their life.
Henchard suggested Susan and Elizabeth-Jane to stay in one of the cottages nearby his house so as he might visit her. He would pay all bills. And they would remarry in a short notice without any knowledge about their past.

Their plan ran smoothly. No suspicions aroused, including those of Elizabeth-Jane. After the marriage, Elizabeth-Jane and Susan stayed in Henchard’s house. Farfrae continously won Henchard’s heart as the latter told him about his past lives, including Henchard’s secret love with a woman who helped him to attain his success.

Farfrae’s well-behaved and smartness earned respect from his workers that they chose him over Henchard. To this, Henchard could not help his envy till finally he dimissed Farfrae and cut their relationship. Henchard even forbid Elizabeth-Jane to meet Farfrae as he sensed something special was growing in between the two.

Farfrae did not leave the town however. He bought a land from a resident then succesfully managed the plantation.

Susan’s health was worse then passed away. She left a letter for her daughter that had to be opened after her wedding day.

Henchard and Elizabeth-Jane shared mournful days after Susan’s death. In one of the evenings, Henchard encouraged himself to tell her the truth that he was his father, not stepfather as she used to know. Though initially she found it hard to believe but Elizabeth-Jane eventually accepted the fact then started to call him as “father”.

Susan was sleeping when Henchard entered her room. He was curious to open up a letter inside the drawer of the room. Even if there were warnings to not open the letter in the envelope before Elizabeth-Jane’s marriage, Henchard kept on unfolding it. He considered the cautions as trivial things.

Shocked than ever before, Henchard could only stare at the writings inside the envelope. Susan said that Elizabeth-Jane was not his. Henchard’s daughter died three months after the bargain and Elizabeth-Jane was Newson’s. She intentionally named her the same with Henchard’s.

Henchard changed his attitude toward Elizabeth-Jane after the truth was unveiled. He became ignorant, harsh, and made fun of her stepdaughter’s efforts to be a proper lady. On the other hand, he still kept his mouth close on her identity as his stepdaughter.

Feeling gloomy and lonely, Elizabeth-Jane paid a visit to her mother’s grave. There, she caught a glimpse of a woman, a bit older than she was but beautiful, elegant, and ladylike.

They befriended immediately. The woman, who was no other than Lucetta Templeman, was actually Henchard’s secret lover from the past. She offered Elizabeth-Jane to live at her place. Given Lucetta’s sympathy about her grief, Elizabeth-Jane welcomed the kind act. Henchard allowed his stepdaughter’s decision as he did not really care about her. He left her some amount of money after all.

Elizabeth-Jane did not know on her new friend’s purpose of coming to the town. Little did she know that Lucetta expected to meet with her stepfather. Lucetta now became a wealthy woman after her aunt left her with enough possessions to raise her position as a well-sought lady in the society.

Lucetta was waiting for Henchard after she sent Elizabeth-Jane away. Instead of Henchard, it was Farfrae who knocked the door. He wished to meet Elizabeth-jane on that day. Farfrae’s good-looking face bedazzled Lucetta while the Scotchman liked her smart joke and outspoken attitude. They soon fell in love and got married.

Learning all these facts, Elizabeth-Jane decided to move from Lucetta’s house after Farfrae moved in there. She made use of Henchard’s money to rent a room and started learning by herself. Meanwhile, Henchard felt dissapointed as he actually wanted to renew his relationship with Lucetta.

Mrs Farfrae, on the other hand, was not completely joyful as she feared Farfrae knew about her past. Thus, she demanded Henchard to return all of her letters containing her love toward the Mayor and how much she wanted to be his wife.
Farfrae’s business climbed and overpassed Henchard’s. The mayor eventyally filed for bankruptcy after he failed in a corn business. He was a great debt thus was forced to sell his belongings, including his large house and furniture.

Worse thing occured when he was present in a court to hear a trial involving a woman whom was accused to conduct badly toward a man in public. The trial turned out to be a nightmare for Henchard as the woman was the owner of the stall where which he made a bargain about his wife almost twenty years ago.

The woman, who was the defendant of the case, unwrapped the secret that Henchard was not worth it to be the mayor given what he did years before.
Henchard was a bit startled but admitted his wrongdoings. He left the court and let the event reached the ears of the residents days forward.

Amid his material loss and tainted image, He moved to Jopp’s house, his former worker whom he once refused, accepted, then befriended again. Elizabeth-Jane continued to search for Henchard’s updates despite his ill recipient toward her kind deeds. Being so poor did not come as a surprise for Henchard for he once built his empire from zero. But still, live was harder for him, who obviously was much older than his arrival in the town.

He eventually worked for Farfrae and left the town oftentimes so as he did not meet with his former friend and his wife. The newly wed, to Henchard’s surprise, occupied his former house. Farfrae even purchased Henchard’s belongings.

Lucetta found it hard to be at ease with her love letters was still in Henchard’s hands. Her world was too centered upon Farfrae that she was afraid she would lose her husband once he found out her past story with Henchard. Given Farfrae’s new position as the new mayor of the city, of course Lucetta was in a deep anxiety the news would ruin their reputation.

So, she sent a letter to Henchard and directly asked for them to meet in secret. There, she begged him to send all the letters back at her. Henchard, who was initially angry with their marriage, now pitied her so much. He promised he would return all letters.

Elizabeth-jane continued to visit Jopp’s house for her stepfather despite the first refusal. She even followed Henchard’s steps when he visited a pub to get his first drink after a twenty-year of self-promise. She seemed not ashamed of his bad behaviour when getting drunk during a gathering attended by high-profile figures in the town, including Farfrae. Given her sincere attitude, Henchard’s heart was melted. Their relationship was getting closer just like real father-daughter’s.

Farfrae became more often to leave Lucetta for business. Her past story still haunted Lucetta’s lives day and night. On one afternoon, a knock was heard upon the door. It was Jopp who was asking for Lucetta’s recommendation so as he could work for her husband. Knowing few about plantation, Lucetta refused to be involved. This left Jopp with a deep hurt.

He met with Henchard once he got home. The former mayor asked for Jopp’s help to hand a bundle of letters to Lucetta. Still feeling dissapointed, Jopp secretly opened the letters without Henchard’s knowledge who shortly shut the door after giving the letters to him.

Jopp did not immediately give the letters to Lucetta. Instead, he let his friends to read them when they gathered in a place thus the news were spread out quickly.

Henchard, who had been soft toward Farfrae, returned to his angry mode, as he heard that Lucetta told people her husband was a born succesful businessman, with or without the help from Henchard. As anger rose to his head, Henchard managed to come and wait for Farfrae’s return from business trip one night.

They were involved in a physical fight. Henchard quickly realized his wrong acts then released his rival. He felt ashamed of himself. Farfrae instead despised him.

Elizabeth-jane came to Lucetta’s room while the latter’s husband was still away. Lucetta finally revealed the secret that was haunting her life so far. Such a good friend Elizabeth-jane was that she continued to support her dearest fellow even after she married the man whom she loved so much. Lucetta fell ill that night and the doctor helped little for her recovery. Farfrae was demanded to come right away.

Feeling guilty, Henchard looked for Farfrae whom he met on a street in the midst of the business trip to other town. But the new mayor disbelieved Henchard’s information about his wife poor condition given earlier fight.

Farfrae soon learned Henchard’s truth once he discovered Lucetta was lying in her bed wanting so hard to meet him. In her latest minutes, she eventually told all of the secrets that no longer meant anything for Farfrae due to her worsening health.

credit for http://www.mysite.verizon.net for the picture

Elizabeth-jane came to Jopp’s house to inform about Lucetta’s death to her stepfather. Henchard already knew about this then allowed her to spend the day at the house. He even made her breakfast. While she was sleeping, a figure knocked at the house’s door. Henchard’s eyes were widely opened once he heard that the man introduced himself as Richard Newson and he was looking for Elizabeth-jane.

Being afraid of losing the only person whom he loved, Henchard replied Newson’s intention by saying that the woman had passed away a year ago. Newson soon left the house and for a quite long moment did not return.
Henchard and Elizabeth-jane rebuilt their life by opening a grain store that developed well.

So it went well for the relationship between Farfrae and Elizabeth-jane that displeased Henchard but he did not forbid them after all. The view of Newson raced through Henchard’s minds though he was relieved that the sailor did not come back.

The time has finally come. Henchard received a report from Elizabeth-jane that a mysterious man wanted to see her at Farfrae’s residence and asked for his suggestion. Henchard allowed Elizabeth-jane to meet with the man.

Unable to imagine how would Elizabeth-jane react to his lies, Henchard prepared for little belongings to live for good. Nothing could be done to change Henchard’s decision. Elizabeth-jane accompanied him till the end of the road and they went separate ways after that.

All secrets were then opened when she met his real father, Captain Richard Newson. She cursed Henchard’s lies and so forth. A grand marriage took place afterwards in the house. Somehow, Elizabeth-jane did not look radiant in her happiest day after many years of waiting to win Farfrae’s heart. She insisted her husband to search for Henchard.

For some months, Henchard was wandering just like an outcast. He made life through any works he could find all alone.

The happy new couple found it so difficult to meet Henchard that Farfrae suggested his wife to give up the attempts. She could not agree more.

But just when they were about the return to Casterbridge, they met Abel Whittle, one of the workers in the plantation, who was following Henchard whenever they went. Unfortunately, Henchard passed away by the time they reached the place where he was staying due to illness. On his will, Henchard wished no one told Elizabeth-jane Farfrae about his death. He did not want anybody to see his corpse. Nor he did not want to be buried in consecreated ground. No flowers were to be put in his grave, and no one should remember his name.

She fulfilled Henchard’s last wishes though she knew the lists were mere lies as he was no more than a lonely human being. She developed herself into a prominent woman figure in the society and earned so much respect from them. She lived the life in more relaxed way by being more grateful. She came to learn that “happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.”