Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd As a Rust Novel

Rustics in the novel:

The rustic characters in Far From the Madding Crowd, play a very important role. They are a part of the Weatherbury scene. The old conservative village is timeless and changeless. So are the rustic characters who are born and bred in this village. They are simple, kind people nurtured in the Bible whose phrases pepper their speeches. They are completely hemmed in by their own narrow world in which ‘ten generations failed to alter the turn of a single phrase. The village characters are narrow- minded. In this novel, there is a group of the rustics. This group includes Joseph Poorgrass, Jan Coggan, Henry Fray, the old Malster, Cain Ball, Laban Tall, Mark Clark. These persons are a source of plenty of humour in the novel. Their humour serves as a relief in the otherwise serious and sad story.

Rustics as a source of humour:

Hardy’s outlook on life is serious and tragic. His heroes and heroines suffer too much. Chance plays its destructive role in the drama of life. Therefore the rustic characters provide humour which relieves us from the spirit of monotony and boredom. The manner and conversation of the rustics is full of humour. We laugh at their oddities and conversation. For example, Joseph Poorgrass is shy and bashful, timid, and cowardly. One of the characters observes about him. “Joseph is a man of many calamities:” But his calamities are of a comic nature. His excessive addition to drinks is also funny. When he is drunk, he sees double. But he never owns that he is a drunkard. When people laugh at his double vision he retorts that he has a multiplying eye. Joseph Poorgrass is a source of maximum humour among the rustic characters. There is another rustic character Henery Troy who insists upon spelling his name with an extra ‘e’. He calls the two women-workers of Bathsheba “a pair of yielding women”, meaning that they are loose in character. It is Henery Troy who tells us the humorous story of how Cain Ball came to be so named. The old Malster is another funny character. To increase his age, he counts summers and winters as full years. Laban Tall is a henpecked husband. Cain Ball’s account of his visit to Bath is very interesting. Thus we can safely conclude that the rustic characters of Hardy wherever we meet them in the novel are constant source of fun and humour.

Also Read : 


 The Role of the Rustics in the Novel:

It is true that the rustics do not play a major role in the unfoldment of the plot. Their role in the plot is like that of chorus in the Greek drama. They serve more as commentators on the actions and doings of their superiors. They make critical comments on the behaviour and manners of Bathsheba, Boldwood and Troy. They are great gossipers. They look on characters, events, incidents and episodes from a rustic point of view. At one place the rustics play an important and decisive part in the plot. Joseph Poorgrass while bringing the coffin of Fanny to Weatherbury stops at an inn for drinking wine. He is delayed for quite sometime there. As a result of the delay, a serious crisis in the life of Bathsheba and Troy takes place. The estrangement between Bathsheba and Troy occurred only on account of the delay.

The Rustics represent Hardian Philosophy:

By their conversation and deeds the rustics represent the philosophy of Hardy to a certain extent. They lead a carefree life. Through the lines of the rustics Hardy seems to propagate the message that only those persons in the life are happy who are contented with their lot and who are not suffering from endless aspirations and desires. The rustics have no desires or aspirations.

Rustics create environment and background:

The last but not the least role of the rustics is to create village and rural atmosphere in the novel. By their comment on the fate of characters, weather and incidents the rustics play the role of the chorus. They provide humour and fun in the novel.



Leave a Comment