Far From the Madding Crowd is a Victorian novel set in the late eighteen hundreds. The story is set on a small farm in Weatherbury, on which many of the main characters live, work and interact with each other. The main focus of this essay is on the events which occur between chapters thirty six and thirty eight. During these chapters, a storm breaks out which threatens to destroy the harvest and bankrupt the farm. These events take place in August during the harvest time whilst the weather is dry and sultry. Hardy has placed the event of the storm as a build up to the climax of the entire novel.
In which Boldwood murders Troy in a rage of anger. The storm adds to the build up and tension by reinforcing the reader’s hatred towards Troy. It allows the reader to experience how selfish and shallow he can be, and the fact that he is willing to exploit the welfare of his farm, his men and himself just to have a good time. Troy had organised a party in the barn to celebrate the harvest with the others on the farm, he also announces that him and Bathsheba are to be married and the party turns out to be a wedding celebration.
As Gabriel is travelling to the barn, he passes five unprotected ricks which hold half of the farm’s rich produce for that year. As he is leaving the barn, he steps on a toad that was on the path at the foot of his front door. Gabriel is surprised to find a toad so close to the buildings, though he thinks no more of it. Little does he realise that the toad was only the first of nature’s powerful warnings. As he enters, he sees a long thin glistening line across his table; at the end of the trail he finds a large garden slug.
In his bedroom two black spiders dropped from the ceiling onto the floor boards. It was at this point that Gabriel realises that many small creatures were making their way indoors to shelter from the weather that is yet to come. Gabriel’s extensive knowledge of sheep gives him the final piece to the puzzle and his realisation. Knowing that the behaviour of sheep is greatly affected by the weather, he rushes out to check on them, and is shocked when he finds them all lined up, with their tails facing the imminent storm.
Gabriel is a very experienced person, he understands the workings of nature and notices minute details that others would easily overlook, he cares for all of Mother Nature’s creatures and shows the reader a great deal of devotion to the land and his fellow man. On finding that a storm is imminent, Gabriel’s first reaction is to save the produce and harvest of the farm, and he instinctively does this without being asked by either Troy or Bathsheba as he knows that it is the right thing to do. Whilst he is at Laban Tall’s house in search of the keys to the granary, he confuses his wife into thinking that Laban has returned from Troy’s party.
This in turn shows that Troy has affected more than just the men in the barn. Whilst Gabriel is out in the rain and thunderstorms risking his life to save the farm, the rightful owner, Troy, is drunk and fast asleep in the barn. Bathsheba finds Gabriel struggling to put the canopies into position; her immediate reaction is to lend him a helping hand. Bathsheba helps Gabriel for two main reasons, because she is concerned that the harvest could be lost and because she wants to stay loyal to Gabriel and to show him that she still cares.
Bathsheba’s devotion can be seen when she runs out into the yard and says: “O, Gabriel! – and are you? I have come about them. The weather awoke me, and I thought of the corn. I am so distressed about it – can we save it anyhow? I cannot find my husband. Is he with you? ” This also shows that Troy has caused confusion and has sent Bathsheba into worry. Troy clearly shows a minimal amount of devotion to the land, he is so busy drinking and partying away the profits that he forgets all about his own farm.
Gabriel clearly shows no liking for Troy in any way, they both sit on opposite ends of the ladder when it comes to the well being of the farm. I believe that had Troy been sober and conscious at the time of the storm, he still would not have felt himself responsible to save and secure any of the produce; it would have been someone else’s problem. Gabriel leaves the barn and returns home where he goes straight to his room to sit and meditate so that he can try and clear his mind of Troy and the other men; this also allows him to have some time to himself.