unigo_skin
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Analysis

Literary Devices in The Mayor of Casterbridge

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Michael Henchard's face is often described as a combination of red and black. Weird as that sounds, we're probably not supposed to imagine that he looks like Darth Maul from Star Wars. Although Hen...

Setting

The novel takes place mostly in the town of Casterbridge, a fictional town in the fictional county of Wessex in England. Many of Hardy's novels take place in "Wessex," and certain place names appea...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator of The Mayor of Casterbridge focuses mainly on the four central characters: Michael Henchard, Elizabeth-Jane, Donald Farfrae, and Lucetta. The narrator moves in and out of these charac...

Genre

The Mayor of Casterbridge is, as we're sure you've realized, a novel. But what exactly is a novel? It's one of the loosest categories out there, and yet it's one of the most popular genres of liter...

Tone

The narrator maintains a level of detachment throughout the novel, describing landscapes, objects, and people with the same general tone. The narrator does occasionally seem to feel sympathy for th...

Writing Style

The reader knows from the title of the novel that Michael Henchard is going to die (the subtitle is "The Life and Death of a Man of Character"). But even if you missed the subtitle, you could be in...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of this novel seems generic, at first – "The Mayor of Casterbridge." Sure, OK. It's going to be about a guy from a town called "Casterbridge" who becomes the Mayor. But the subtitle...

What's Up With the Ending?

With The Mayor of Casterbridge, we should ask, "What's up with the endings," because there is more than one version of it! Hardy first published the novel in serial form (small installments, like e...

Tough-o-Meter

As Victorian novels go, The Mayor of Casterbridge is pretty readable. It's "only" 320 pages in our edition. (That may sound like a lot, but take a look at Middlemarch by George Eliot or Bleak House...

Plot Analysis

The Wife SaleThis is the famous opening scene of the novel: Michael Henchard (who hasn't been named yet at this point) gets drunk at a county fair and auctions off his wife and baby daughter for fi...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

Henchard becomes a wealthy and powerful grain merchant and is elected the mayor of Casterbridge.Henchard has committed the unpardonable crime of auctioning off his wife and daughter. But he tries t...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Henchard sells his wife and daughter to a sailor and ruins the reputation of a young woman in Jersey.More marriage problems. Henchard is reunited with his wife and daughter. When the wife dies, he'...

Trivia

Thomas Hardy was apprenticed as an architect when he was a young man. (source)Hardy wanted to be buried next to his first wife, Emma. But when he died his wishes were ignored: he was buried in "Poe...

Steaminess Rating

This is a Victorian novel, which means than any sex – or even any possibility of sex – outside of marriage needs to be hinted at discreetly. Henchard and Lucetta are careless and spend...

Allusions

Homer, The Odyssey. The myth of Scylla and Charybdis (1.20)Henry Fielding, The Grub Street Opera (5.1)Sir Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (9.15)The Bible, John 5:2-9 (10.1)The myth of Ac...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top