Sie sind auf Seite 1von 3

Smith 1

Brooke Smith

Mr. Boyatt

AP English Literature

01 January 2019

The Mayor of Casterbridge Free Response

The passage from the book, ​Mayor of Casterbridge,​ by Thomas Hardy, discusses the

relationship between a father, Henchard, and his long-lost daughter, Elizabeth. Hechard is a

formerly poor, now rich man, and until she had met her father, Elizabeth was only poor. As the

passage develops, you can see the disgruntled tone, all through the harsh conversations and

actions that are clearly attempts at pleasing someone, which helps to reveal that Henchard and

Elizabeth’s relationship can be described as depressing, harsh, impersonal, and regretful.

In the beginning of the passage, when Henchard reveals to Elizabeth that he is her father,

he makes it very apparent that he is not happy to be her father, and this is shown with his

negative, disgruntled words, such as “agitation”, having a “constrained” manner, “coldness”

turning into “chiding”, and speaking to her “sharply”. He criticizes the way she speaks, which

helps reveal their social differences. However, there is a hint of care when they first meet, fo

when he announced he was her father, “he had done it in an ardour and an agitation which had

half carried the point of affection with her”. His constant coldness towards Elizabeth highlights

his one, small show of care for her, and helps form the idea that while he is extremely harsh

towards her, there is some form of care and hope for a father-daughter bond. Their social

differences, however, impede this relationship, even though he was once a poor person, too. His
Smith 2

poor past is what leads one to believe he sees his past self in his daughter, and is the main source

of his harsh attitude towards her.

The middle section of the passage further continues this theme and pattern seen in the

beginning of the passage. His continued criticism of her poor speech caused her to change her

ways for him, and yet he still “was the bitterest critic the fair girl could possibly have had of her

own lapses”, despite his poor background and still behind an uncultivated man. These endless

criticism prove that Henchard is taking what he hates about himself out on the sympathetic,

considerate Elizabeth, for her “flaws” match his own. Their social distinctions cause Henchard to

push her even further away, for when he asked her to write for him in front of a colleague, and it

turned out she had poor handwriting, something which contradicts the social idea of women of

high social status, he “reddened in angry shame for her”, and dismissed her. Her failure to please

him once again further disheartened Elizabeth, and pushed the two even farther away. However,

his constant caring about how she acts and speaks does prove he cares about her, for if he did

not, he would not be attempting to help her fit in properly with the particular social class they

live in. This idea also applies to Elizabeth, for if she did not care about Henchard, she would not

want to please him so dearly. However, Henchard is still fat too harsh for showing such

emotions; his pride and inability to express care and affection prove to dissatisfy both Elizabeth

and their relationship between each other.

The last part of the passage, when Henchard yells at Elizabeth for being kind to the

servant, helps highlight his care for his daughter, and highlights Elizabeth’s emotions towards

her father. Henchard yelled Elizabeth so harshly that she “shrunk visibly”, which caused him to

be “sorry a few minutes after, and said that he did not mean to be rough”. This is the most
Smith 3

affectionate action Henchard exhibits, however, it is far too late, for Elizabeth had grown further

and further away from her father until “she seemed to estrange him”.