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he fact that Hardy uses night scenes frequently suggests that he uses them to give a particular dimension to his writing. Clearly night scenes take place in the dark, which leads to the characters being unfamiliar both with other characters and with the surroundings. This unfamiliarity gives us a sense of foreboding, which helps to make the scenes atmospheric. All of the scenes which take place at night have a dramatic nature, either because the characters are physically endangered, as is the case with the Fire scene, or emotionally endangered for example outside the Barracks.
The combination of a dark atmosphere and dramatic action leads to conflict and tension within the scenes. The fire scene takes place when Gabriel Oak has just arrived in the village of Wetherbury- inside one of the barns on Batheba Everdene’s farm. It is passed dusk, and Gabriel notes that “the landscape had assumed a uniform hue of blackness. ” Hardy uses onomatopoeias such as “whisking noise” “quiet roar” and “crackle” which gives the reader an audible as well as a visual image of the scene that is taking place. It also helps to intensify the action-in the sense that it is more like watching a film than looking at a portrait.
During the passage Hardy use many metaphors and similes in order to further illustrate the action taking place in the scene, He describes the sparks leaping from the fire, “Like birds from a nest” and the smoke rising from the wheat ricks “like passing clouds. ” He also uses great attention to detail in his description of the lighted pieces of straw lying on the ground “as if they were knots of red worms. ” All of these metaphors are a connotation of natural elements- just as fire was believed to be one of the first elements along with earth, wind and water.
Also because Gabriel Oak is a Shepard there is a connection between him and the natural world- this is reinforced in a passage earlier in the book when Oak uses the constellations in the night sky to tell the time. Hardy animates the image of the fire by using personification to great effect. Oak narrates this part of the story and therefore we see through his eyes that within the burning wheat rick “shone imaginary fiery faces” which combines alliteration and personification. As well Oak notices the curling movements of the flames and insinuates that they are “tongues hanging from lips” and “glaring eyes.
” He also describes the “rising and falling in intensity” of the blaze, an action which mimics the heavy breathing movements of a chest, which suggests that the fire is actually a living creature. Hardy uses effective imagery to illustrate the scene, and describes in depth the movement of the fire, using adjectives such as “melting sugar”, to suggest a continuous fluid movem ent of melting hay. This is starkly contrasted with the phrases “flames darted” and “flames elongated and bent themselves” which suggest the quick licking movement of the flames- a link to the “tongues hanging from lips”.
He also uses strong colours, for instance “rich orange glow” and “lustrous yellow uniformity” which both link directly to the scene in the first chapter where Oak sees Bathsheba for the first time on top of the travelling wagon, and the sun “lighted up to a scarlet glow” and there was a “soft lustre” upon her face. The second scene, which involves the meeting of two new characters, Fanny Robins and Sergeant Troy takes place outside an Army Barracks in the town of Casterbridge. We are told that the time is Ten o’clock at night due to the “dull blow” of church bells.
As with the fire scene Hardy uses onomatopoeias, however in this scene he contrasts soft sounds, “fluffy” and “muffling” with harder sounds “smacked” and “gurgle and cluck” which mirrors the effect of soft snow falling onto the hard landscape. Sound is important in the scene as there is little to visualise and because the effect of the snow changes and distorts ordinary sounds. In contrast to the previous scene Hardy uses alliteration repeatedly throughout the passage, “bursting of the buds”, “the ferns, the filling of the pools, a rising of the fogs, embrowning by frost, the collapse of the fungi” and “mead and moor momentarily”.
The repetition of the same letters creates a rhythm which could reflect the falling of the snow, or the footsteps of Fanny trudging through the snow. Also all the descriptions are all related to the natural world, so perhaps the repetition mirrors the circular pattern of the four seasons. Converse to the fire scene, Hardy repeatedly describes objects with very little detail, for example, he describes the windows as, “oblong shapes” and the character, Fanny Robbins as: “a form” “its’ outline” “it was small” “little shape” “the spot” and “the figure”.
The lack of description combined with the use of pronouns, makes it indistinct and as if it belongs to no one, which heightens the sense of unfamiliarity and increases the tension due to a fear of the unknown. This is unlike the previous scene, where there are many people, all of whom can be distinguished due to the light of the fire. Hardy’s use of metaphors is similar to the scene in the barn. Fanny Robbins is likened to the snowy landscape whilst Sergeant Troy is assimilated to the brick wall, “one would have said the wall was holding a conversation with the snow.
” Just as the snow is an impermanent feature on the landscape, Fanny is a temporary fixture in Troy’s life, as soon as the sun comes out, the snow will melt away and Troy will move on and find another lover. In a similar way the wall is a physical representation of Troy’s attitude towards Fanny. Like the wall he is a hard, solid man who is immoveable and resolute, he puts up a barrier between himself and Fanny, which serves as a means of separation. For Fanny it is the same as the old proverb “like talking to a brick wall.
” Both the scenes are similar in the fact that they take place at night, in darkness, and that they involve the meeting (or possibly re-uniting) of two characters in an unusual circumstance. However they are totally different in all other aspects- and one of the reasons I chose to compare them is that they are at the opposite extremes of temperature- burning and freezing- both of which reflect the emotions or the personalities of the characters involved in them.
The fire scene, which takes place at Bathsheba’s farm mimics her temperament in that she is a fiery and passionate woman, she radiates warmth and exudes vivacity and vitality. In juxtaposition to this the scene which takes place at the army Barracks, amid the snow, and the frozen river mirrors the emotional response of Sergeant Troy in that he is cold and unfeeling towards his lover Fanny, and he is numb to her pleas and begging. The darkness and bitter weather reflect their relationship because he is distant towards her and isolates her from his true feelings.