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Block 4 Humanaties the mayor of casterbridge

Page history last edited by Nathan Lipowitz 11 years, 3 months ago

February 27, 2013

Pages 1-60

Nathan, Taylor, Colin


In the beginning of the novel, we find Michael Henchard his wife, Susan, and daughter, Elizabeth-Jane walking down a dirt and brick road. At a first glance, you would think the family is okay and nothing is wrong, but as you look closer at the couple and child, you see signs that just seem so off putting. On page eight it says "she kept as close to his side as was possible without actual contact; but she seemed to have no idea of taking his arm, nor he of offering;" Right from the beginning the couple seems to give off a fake type of vibe that they are pretending to be happy, why?

     They arrive at a bar and Michael begins drinking heavily. In a drunken rant, he speaks of wanting to be a free man, he jokingly offers to sell his wife a child for the right price but the joking becomes serious. He sells his family to a sailor in an auction. The next morning, Michael is feeling guilty about his actions from the previous night and searches for his family, but he does not find them.

     18 years later, Susan and Elizabeth-Jane return to the bar in search of Michael. The auctioneer at the bar tells them that Michael returned to the bar the next day and told him that if anyone every came searching for him, he should tell them that he is living in Casterbridge. Susan and Elizabeth-Jane venture to Casterbridge to discover that Michael is the Mayor and has not drank for the past 18 years. They also discover that there is a wheat recession in Casterbridge that Michael is trying to solve. However, they have not seen Michael face to face yet.


Discussion time: 30 minutes


Pages 61-120


Farfrae is playing to leave town but Michael persuades him to stay and work for him. Joshua Jopp goes to Michael to accept the job position but Michael tells him that the position has already been filled. Elizabeth-Jane delivers a note secretly to Michael telling him that Susan is in Casterbridge and that she wishes to meet. That night, Michael and Susan meet face to face. Michael apologizes for his previous actions in the bar. They decide that they want to be married again, however, they act as if they just met in front of Elizabeth-Jane because they do not want their daughter to know about their shameful past. They go through with their plan and get married.


Discussion time: 30 minutes


Pages 121-180


 There is a man named Abel Whittle who is consistently late for work. Henchard and Farfrae disagree on how he should be treated. When Abel is late, Henchard will walk into his house and drag Abel to work without giving him the opportunity to get dressed. Abel tells Farfrae that he would rather kill himself than deal with the embarrassment. Farfrae sends him home to go get properly dressed. Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane both receive anonymous letters to meet someone at the cornfields. They both arrive and wait for the sender to arrive, however, nobody shows up. Eventually, they give up and return home. The two begin to develop feelings for each other. Henchard, who is upset that Farfrae disobeyed him, forbids Elizabeth-Jane from keeping in contact with Farfrae. Elizabeth-Jane is upset, but obeys.


Discussion time: 20 minutes


Pages 181-240


Susan falls ill. As Susan’s disease worsens, she asks Elizabeth-Jane to get her a pen and paper. She writes a letter that is addressed to “Mr. Michael Henchard. Not to be opened till Elizabeth-Jane’s wedding-day.” She also reveals that she was the one who sent Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae to meet in the cornfields because she wished for the two of them to get married. Henchard receive a letter from the woman from Jersey that he had an affair with stating that she understands his decision to remarry his first wife, but she requests that he return the love letters she had wrote to him. She asks him to deliver the letters to her that day in Casterbridge. Henchard goes to the spot where she is supposed to be, but she is not there. Later that night, Susan dies.


Discussion time: 30 minutes


Pages 241-300


Three weeks after Susan dies, Henchard tells Elizabeth-Jane that he is her real father, however, he leaves out the part about him selling her and Susan at a bar. He also requests that Elizabeth-Jane changes her last name to Henchard. Henchard discovers the letter Susan wrote before her death and opens it regardless of the label. It states that the daughter that he had with Susan had passed away and that Elizabeth-Jane is actually the sailor’s daughter. Henchard is shocked but refrains from telling Elizabeth-Jane to avoid upsetting her further. Elizabeth-Jane finds a woman mourning at Susan's grave. She approaches the woman and the two end up becoming close. The woman's name is Lucetta and she asks Elizabeth-Jane to move in with her. Elizabeth-Jane agrees and moves in with Lucetta. We find out that Lucetta is the woman from Jersey that Henchard had an affair with and that she asked Elizabeth-Jane to move in so she could meet Henchard face to face and ask for her love letters back. While waiting for Henchard to visit, Lucetta meets Farfrae and after some time, they get married secretly. Henchard goes bankrupt so Farfrae takes over his business. Henchard moves in with Joshua Jopp. He goes to Lucetta's house and she demands that he returns her love letters. Henchard orders Joshua to return the letters to Lucetta. Joshua takes the letters but reads them allowed to a group at a bar. He then reseals the letters and gives them to Lucetta.


Pages 300-367


Word gets out of Henchard and Lucetta's adulterous relationship and Lucetta is humiliated. She falls ill from her humiliation but Farfrae is nowhere to be found. Henchard leaves town to search for Farfrae. Henchard finds him soon enough and tells him that Lucetta is sick. Farfrae returns to town to see Lucetta, however, Lucetta's illness kills her soon after. A man visits Henchard and reveals that he is Elizabeth-Jane's biological father. Henchard has grown attached to Elizabeth-Jane so he tells the man, whose real name is Newton, that Elizabeth-Jane is dead in order to make sure that Elizabeth-Jane continues to keep him company. Disappointed, Newton leaves.

Eventually, Newton finds Elizabeth-Jane and reveals to her that he is her biological father and that Henchard told him that she had died. Angrily, Elizabeth-Jane runs off and makes plans to marry Farfrae. Henchard leaves town but returns when he hears that Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae will be getting married. He sneakily watches the wedding from a distance. A maid tells Elizabeth-Jane that she spotted someone. Elizabeth-Jane realizes it is Henchard and tells him that because he tried to keep her biological father away from her, she no longer wishes to have contact with him.




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