Individuals and Communities

  • Norman Page
Part of the Analysing Texts book series (ANATX)


Most of Hardy’s novels embody a strong sense of community — the outstanding exception, as we shall see, is his last, Jude the Obscure — but the characters typically include both insiders and outsiders. At the most obvious level, Hardy’s characters may be divided into those who belong to a community by virtue of birth and upbringing (with all that these imply in terms of knowledge and loyalty), and those who are interlopers or strangers from elsewhere. In Tess, for instance, there is a profound gulf between the heroine and her family, who have for generations been established residents of Marlott, and the nouveau riche family to which Alec belongs and which has only recently settled there with the aim of winning a place in the social hierarchy of the district. In Far from the Madding Crowd, though Sergeant Troy belongs to a local family, he has chosen to spend his life elsewhere. As a professional soldier, Troy has embraced a career that involves mobility, and has no particular affiliation — as Gabriel Oak, for instance, emphatically has — with the rural world of which he becomes a member through his marriage to Bathsheba.


Disguise Form Ancient Custom Professional Soldier Outstanding Exception Mechanical Craze 
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© Norman Page 2001

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  • Norman Page

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