Brief Summary of Far From The Madding Crowd:
Gabriel Oak, a farmer on a small scale, won the respect of all his neighbors owing to his honesty and ability. Bathsheba Everdene, a young girl, reached his neighborhood. She worked for her aunt. He went to her aunt and asked for Bathsheba’s hand in marriage. He was refused, but he felt that it was her aunt, and not Bathsheba, who had denied him.
A short time later, Gabriel Oak’s dog became excited. It chased his flock of sheep over a cliff, killing all of them. Oak was thus ruined. He decided to go elsewhere to find work. On his way across the country, he saw a burning barn (a large building on a farm in which dried grass and grain are kept). He helped the men fight the fire by putting it out. To his surprise, the owner of the farm he had saved was Bathsheba Everdene. She had recently inherited the place from her uncle. The ruined Gabriel accepted the position of a shepherd. Now Bathsheba was the owner, and Gabriel Oak was her servant.
On his way to his new quarters, Gabriel Oak met a girl. She asked him not to say that he had seen her, and he accepted her request. The next morning he heard that Fanny Robin, one of Bathsheba’s maids, had disappeared. He rightly guessed that Fanny was the girl whom he had met. Fanny had gone to find Sergeant Troy, a soldier who had been stationed in the area a short time before, for (because) he had promised to marry her. But unfortunately, she went to the wrong church. When she finally found him, Troy refused to make arrangements for marriage for the second time.
Bathsheba was a good manager, but she had her caprices (whims). She sent an anonymous Valentine (a decorative card you send anonymously to someone you admire or love) to Boldwood. This upset Boldwood. He fell in love with Bathsheba. One day he asked her to marry him, but she rejected his proposal.
Sergeant Troy returned to the neighborhood. Bathsheba was attracted to him at first sight. Gabriel Oak who knew Troy’s character told Bathsheba that he was not the man for her. Without knowing of Troy’s relationship with Fanny, Bathsheba married Troy. The former sergeant thus became the master of Weatherbury Farm.
With Troy managing the farm, things grew worse. He made mistakes, and Gabriel Oak was compelled to correct them. Troy drank and gambled, and these activities of his made Bathsheba unhappy. One day, Troy and Bathsheba were riding a horse cart. A young girl was walking down the road. Troy stopped the cart and went to talk to her. The girl was Fanny Robin. Troy told her to go to the next town. He promised to come to her and give her some money. When Bathsheba and Troy arrived home, the letter asked the former to give him some money. Bathsheba obliged Troy after a quarrel.
Fanny went on to Casterbridge. When she arrived there, she could not live for long. Shortly afterward she died. Bathsheba learned of the girl’s death. Not knowing that Fanny was loved by Troy, Bathsheba sent a cart to bring the dead body to the farm for burial. When the dead body arrived, Bathsheba opened the casket late that night. Troy entered the room and learned of the death of Fanny as well as of the death of the child born to him. Grief-stricken, Troy told Bathsheba that Fanny had been the only woman he had ever loved. Troy had a beautiful tombstone put up over the grave of Fanny. He covered it with roses and lilies. During the night there was a heavy storm and water poured from the church roof through the mouth of the gargoyle ( a stone object in the shape of the head of an ugly creature on the roofs of old churches and other buildings, through whose mouth rainwater often flows away) and splashed on the grave. All his work was ruined. Troy left Casterbridge. The news came that he had been caught in a dangerous current while swimming in the ocean and had drowned. Boldwood was convinced of Troy’s death, though Bathsheba believed that Troy was not dead.
One night, Boldwood gave a party for Bathsheba. At the party, she yielded to his love and said that if Troy did not reappear within seven years, at the end of which he would be legally declared dead, she would marry him. But as she was leaving the party, Troy entered. Bathsheba fell to the floor in a faint. Without being noticed by others who were attending to Bathsheba and looking at Troy, Boldwood took down a gun from the wall and shot Troy in the chest. Troy died at once.
William Boldwood was tried for the murder of Troy. Since his mind had given way (broken down due to emotional disturbance leading to virtual madness), he was sent to a mental hospital. Gabriel Oak managed Bathsheba’s farm as her bailiff. He managed the farm of William Boldwood as well. One day he went to Bathsheba and told her that he was thinking of leaving her service. Bathsheba listened to him quietly and accepted all he had to see. Later that night, she went to his cottage and told him by a gesture that he was the only person left to her. She also told him that she needed his help as much as his love. They got married afterward to the great delight of the farmers of the district.
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