The Opening of the Novel — True or false questions, analysing the opening

2 February 2010

True or false?

 

Gabriel Oak complains about Bathsheba’s vanity in the first chapter.

Gabriel Oak is a shepherd NOT a farmer at the beginning of the novel.

Oak rescues Bathsheba from dying of suffocation in his hut.

Bathsheba doesn’t want to marry Oak because she does not love him.

Oak would have been financially secure if he had insured his sheep.

Oak wishes he had Bathsheba as his wife after he loses his sheep.

Oak looks for work as a bailiff (a manager of a farm) but is forced to seek work as a shepherd when other farmers learn he was once a farmer himself.

Oak doesn’t know how to put out the fire at Weatherbury farm.

Put these sentences in the correct order.

Bathsheba’s uncle dies and she inherits Weatherbury Farm: she is now the owner of a very large farm and responsible for all her farm workers.

Gabriel Oak loses his sheep after his dog drives them off a cliff.

Oak is penniless and is forced to look for work first as a bailiff and then a shepherd.

Gabriel Oak sees Bathsheba playing on her horse.

Gabriel Oak proposes marriage to Bathsheba and is rejected.

Oak sees Bathsheba on a wagon looking at a mirror. He pays her toll fare but receives no thanks for it.

Oak saves the hay ricks at Weatherbury Farm from being burned down.

 

Passage analysis: look at these three passages carefully and answer the questions that follow them.

 

‘How did you find me?’

‘I heard your dog howling and scratching at the door of the hut when I came to the milking (it was so lucky, Daisy’s milking is almost over for the season, and I shall not come here, after this week or the next). The dog saw me, and jumped over to me, and laid hold of my skirt. I came across and looked round the hut the very first thing to see if the slides were closed. My uncle has a hut like this one, and I have heard him tell his shepherd not to go to sleep without leaving a slide open. I opened the door, and there you were like dead. I threw the milk over you, as there was no water, forgetting it was warm, and no use.’

‘I wonder if I should have died?’ Gabriel said, in a low voice, which was rather meant to travel back to himself than to her.

Quick notes: underline 3 verbs in this passage which create tension eg howling and make a note of why they create tension.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE STORY: What has happened before this passage? What happens after it? How does Hardy make the story exciting?

ANALYSIS OF THE LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY: Pick out THREE phrases, words or IMAGES which Hardy uses in order to create suspense. Explain how they create suspense.

ANALYSIS OF THE CHARACTERISATION: How does Hardy make the characters interesting and sympathetic here?

ANALYSIS OF THE CONTEXT and SETTING: What do we learn about the way people lived in the countryside from this passage? What do we learn about the world of the novel here?

 

‘Upon my heart and soul, I don’t know what a maid can say stupider than that,’ said Oak. ‘But dearest,’ he continued in a palliative voice, ‘don’t be like it?’ Oak sighed a deep honest sigh– none the less so in that, being like the sigh of a pine plantation, it was rather noticeable as a disturbance of the atmosphere. ‘Why won’t you have me?’ he appealed, creeping round the holly to reach her side.

‘I cannot,’ she said, retreating.

‘But why?’ he persisted; standing still at last in despair of ever reaching her, and facing over the bush.

‘Because I don’t love you.’

‘Yes, but . . . ’

She contracted a yawn to an inoffensive smallness, so that it was hardly ill-mannered at all. ‘I don’t love you,’ she said.

‘But I love you – and, as for myself, I am content to be liked.’

‘O Mr Oak – that’s very fine! You’d get to despise me.’

‘Never,’ said Mr Oak, so earnestly that he seemed to be coming, by the force of his words, straight through the bush and into her arms. ‘I shall do one thing in this life – one thing certain– that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.’ His voice had a genuine pathos now, and his large brown hands perceptibly trembled.

QUICK NOTES: Underline 3 adjectives which create tension and say why they will create tension.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE STORY: What has happened before this passage? What happens after it? How does Hardy make the story exciting?

ANALYSIS OF THE LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY: Pick out THREE phrases, words or IMAGES which Hardy uses in order to create suspense. Explain how they create suspense.

ANALYSIS OF THE CHARACTERISATION: How does Hardy make the characters interesting and sympathetic here?

ANALYSIS OF THE CONTEXT and SETTING: What do we learn about the way people lived in the countryside from this passage? What do we learn about the world of the novel here?

 

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