Far from the Madding Crowd | Study Guide

Thomas Hardy

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Far from the Madding Crowd | Chapters 25–27 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 25: The New Acquaintance Described

Sergeant Troy is described at length. He is "fairly well-educated for one of middle-class—exceptionally well educated for a common soldier." He is "moderately truthful towards men," but lies to women. He has voluntarily joined the others in the haymaking, and the chapter closes with his approaching Bathsheba when she comes to the field.

Chapter 26: Scene on the Verge of the Hay-Mead

Sergeant Troy approaches Bathsheba Everdene and flatters her to the point at which she is at a loss as to whether he's sincere. He offers her his watch, a family heirloom, and insists she take it. Bathsheba, uncomfortable, returns it, but Troy gains her assent to allow him to continue helping with the haymaking.

Chapter 27: Hiving the Bees

Bathsheba takes it upon herself to capture and hive a swarm of bees. Sergeant Troy arrives and offers to do the task instead. She helps him with the bee hiving garb, and he captures the hive for her. In conversation, he mentions sword practice, and she expresses a wish that she could see it. They make plans to meet.

Analysis

As with earlier characters, Sergeant Troy has a lengthy introduction. Much as in the scene setting, world establishing scenes in nature and the malthouse, these lengthy descriptions of a character are typical of Hardy's novels. Interestingly, despite knowing what the reader already knows of him, Troy is presented with romantic appeal. One way Hardy achieves this change is by not using the name that Fanny used. In the earlier sections, Fanny calls him "Frank." Here, though, he is "Sergeant Troy," "the sergeant," or "Troy." His persona is, in this way, distinguished from his initial portrayal.

Like Gabriel, Troy has a watch. In a gallant gesture, he offers it to her. In further gallantry, he is working in her fields for free, and he hives her bees for her. As a final gesture of his charm, he offers to give her a private demonstration of his swordsmanship. He sets himself apart as a soldier, a man associated with weapons and risks. Neither the danger of a hive of bees nor the dangers that necessitate learning swordsmanship are unappealing to him. In this, Hardy is drawing a sharp distinction between Troy and Gabriel, as well as between Troy and Boldwood. Sergeant Troy is bold, unlike Boldwood, and he is not a watcher like Gabriel. He is as brash as Bathsheba.

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