‘For my component we don’t realise why guys who ‘ve got wives and don’t aim ‘em, should not be rid of ‘em since these gipsy fellows do their old horses…Why should not they place ‘em up and offer ‘em by auction to males who will be looking for such articles? Hey? Why, begad, I’d sell mine this full moment if anyone would purchase her!’
Therefore claims the farm that is young Michael Henchard, in just one of probably the most arresting passages in Thomas Hardy’s 1886 novel The Mayor of Casterbridge. Close to the start of the guide, Michael gets drunk on rum-laced furmity (frumenty), and has now a disagreement together with spouse, Susan. He chooses to sell Susan and their infant child, that are bought with a sailor for five guineas. Whenever Michael sobers up, the enormity of just exactly what he’s done hits house; he realises he cannot get their spouse and child back, and swears down alcohol for the next 21 years because of this.
The scene is shocking, no question, what with Michael’s casual brutality, Susan’s misery, in addition to misogyny that is pervasive. Yet whenever it emerges that Susan normally quite keen to part means with Michael, i will be struck by there being something oddly progressive in exactly what is basically a fast no-fault divorce or separation. Michael describes into the onlookers that:
‘It’s an agreement to component. She shall make the baby|Thebaby shall be taken by her if she really wants to, and get her means. I’ll simply take my tools, and get my means. ‘Tis straightforward as Scripture history.’
This brilliant scene raised a wide range of concerns in my situation, that I attempt to investigate. Read More