The Mayor of Casterbridge

Written by Neal on September 18th, 2008

Title: The Mayor of Casterbridge
Author: Thomas Hardy
Year: 1886

‘For my part, I don’t see why men who have got wives and don’t want’em shouldn’t get rid of’em as these gipsy fellows do their old horses.’

What a unique beginning! The first chapter of the book takes place around 18 years before the rest of the book. It tells a very important story that affects the rest of the novel, in fact without this event there would be no novel.

Essentially this is a book of a man falling in and out of love. It also tells how easy it is to fall into and out of a fortune and favour in society. The novel can also be looked at as a cautionary tale about temperance and alcohol consumption.

I found it very hard to sympathize with the main character. All of his misfortune is largely self-inflicted, with quite a bit of bad luck. Hardy spends most of the novel attacking Henchard’s character, and then expects the reader to feel sorry for him in the last few chapters of the book. Other than my complete ambivalence to the fate of the main character, I found this book an easy read that is neither too long nor too short.

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