Looking into the profile of Thomas Hardy will reveal many things at once. He was a master creator of master plots. He was a genuine entertainer with his own sentimental goals to settle in his novels. He was a probable feminist. He seemed, at times, a misogynist (to many ‘feminists’). And many more things come to the fore when we look back at his profile. Was he a true Victorian? Was he a, looking from a different angle, rebellion to the Victorian Principles? Well, there might be many arguments made by many mouths that open to discuss Thomas Hardy… still, there is one certain thing – the author’s spirit is still alive to many conscious (am I prejudiced to say this?) readers who are into reading fiction.
In the bulk of his works, one may find the dominance of female characters but only in numbers, most of the times. His female characters are loose at times and lost on others. Bathsheba Everdene, the lady not with luck, the ambitious woman comes to mind very quickly when we recall the women characters from the world of Hardy’s Wessex (or otherwise). Her character was designed to appeal the readers irrespective of the passing time. However, she was constantly dependent on men – Troy, Boldwood and then back to Oak when her luck runs out. And other female characters, such as Sue, and to a great extent, as well as Tess exhibit a great deal of personality assertion and also the craftsmanship of the novelist, Hardy.
Moving ahead, most of the readers (ardent ones) of Hardy will believe and stay firm when I say that Hardy was not a novelist of his times – he rather thought much ahead of that; he was a visionary novelist who worked towards creating an atmosphere in his novels that challenged, to a great extent, the contemporary (of then) set up of the society in his times. His themes depicted the abstracts as well as the realism which might be called bitter for the readers (conventional ones) of his times. The society that Victorian England tried to create (and eventually failed) could not hold long after the popularity of the authors like Lawrence and to an extent, also G B Shaw. But about Hardy, one can firmly say that he initiated all this sort of revolution with his text.
A versatile novelist – can saying this be enough for his deeds? I think no! Hardy was ahead of his times; Hardy was a fellow of the following generation who did not deserve what he got from his readers. The rejection and the bashing that he received for his novels cannot be justified by any possible means. Today, when people remember him, we all talk about his pessimism and the sadness that loomed over his central characters most of the times. However, we should also remember that the sadness was only because of Hardy’s own belief that he knew the society in its exact!
You can know more about Thomas Hardy and his novels by following the link below:
Thomas Hardy as a Novelist
article by Nirupam for Featured Books