The Mayor of Casterbridge
by Thomas Hardy
The Mayor of Casterbridge Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
The high road into the village of Weydon-Priors was again carpeted with dust. The trees had put on as of yore their aspect of dingy green, and where the Henchard family of three had once walked along, two persons not unconnected with that family walked now. (3.1)
Susan and Elizabeth-Jane are walking along the same road that Susan traveled with Henchard the day that he sold her. The narrator uses words like "again," "of yore," and "once" partly to connect the past with the present and perhaps to emphasize how connected things are, even across the years.
Casterbridge announced old Rome in every street, alley, and precinct. It looked Roman, bespoke the art of Rome, concealed dead men of Rome. It was impossible to dig more than a foot or two deep about the town fields and gardens without coming upon some tall soldier or other of the Empire, who had lain there in his silent unobtrusive rest for a space of fifteen hundred years. (11.2)
Casterbridge is very much connected with the ancient past. Even though people don't think too much about it, their town is sitting on the ruins of a Roman city. There are skeletons under their town, not to mention in their closets. Like Henchard's personal past, the city's past is hidden just below the surface, and just a tiny bit of digging will expose it.
They had lived so long ago, their time was so unlike the present, their hopes and motives were so widely removed from ours, that between them and the living there seemed to stretch a gulf too wide for even a spirit to pass. (11.3)
The narrator suggests that the ancient Roman inhabitants of Casterbridge were totally unlike the people there now. Their "hopes and motives" were totally different from "ours." Do you think this is true? Do you think the narrator is being serious or ironic?