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The Mayor Of Casterbridge And Essay

1206 words - 5 pages

The Return of the Native and The Mayor of Casterbridge both consist of plot twists, coincidences, and a series of minor and major climaxes. However, the time involved in the novels is very different. The Return of the Native may at first seem long because it contains many plot twists, but is it in fact very compact. The whole story takes place in only about a year. In contrast, The Mayor of Casterbridge takes place over a span of twenty years. In the movie, no great portion of time seems to be skipped over; not that it can be based on the fact that the entire duration is only a year. In the novel, Hardy deals with intervals of time in very interesting ways. At one point, he uses nine chapters to detail the events of only of a few days. This is in chapters three through eleven, a time that begins as Susan Henchard sets out to find Michael Henchard and ends as she meets him in the amphitheater. During this small period, Hardy gives much detail as to how Susan and Elizabeth-Jane travel to Casterbridge, where they find the mayor and observe him. He also tells of Henchard's wooing of Farfrae and of his meeting first with Elizabeth-Jane and then with Susan. Hardy could easily have said all of this in one or two chapters, but he chose to drag it out like this. In much the same way, he could go through periods of many months in a single paragraph. He even bounds over a single period of twenty or so years and only lets the reader in on what happened as characters reflect on the past. Therefore, the feeling of time is very different in the movie than in the book.The characters in each story all live in the same place. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, they all live in Casterbridge, and in The Return of the Native, they all live in Egdon Heath. The story never seems to venture outside Egdon Heath at all in the movie, while it does seem to do so a little in the book. They are alike, however, in the fact that the issues of the outside world do not intrude in the happenings of the story. The main characters in each tale, being from the same small towns, are tightly wound together in a tangle of many relationships. We must notice also, that in each story, our concentration upon the major characters is broken by the appearance of the poorer country folk, as if for comic relief, to recap the happenings of an event that had just occurred, much like a Greek chorus.I know The Mayor of Casterbridge to be a serialized novel and The Return of the Native seems to be as well. Each seems to be arranged in an episodic sequence. Hardy puts enough suspense at the end of each episode to make the reader want to read the next episode. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, each episode develops an important part of Henchard's downfall. Each episode in The Return of the Native forms a significant step towards the tragedy that takes place in the end.Henchard's journey through the novel can basically be seen with a few separate tragedies that make up his steady undoing until his death. The...

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