A Glimpse Of Pessimism In Thomas Hardy's 'The Woodlanders'

Sonali Ganguly
2016 unpublished
Assistant professor, English, Srusti Academy of Management, M.A. in English Thomas Hardy as a novelist was greatly impressed by the tragic pathos of humanity. He was caught between its craving for happiness and the harsh limitations of fact, material and social, as well as those rooted in the contradictions of human nature itself. He was a realistic observer as in his work there was always the reflection of harshness of nature, the struggles of common people to maintain their livelihood as well
more » ... as survive against the hostile forces that try to evade them. The Woodlanders, one of the masterpieces of Hardy, is a wonderful tale of love, ambition, expectation and tragedy where the rustic and the sophisticated mass meet with their pre-defined destiny through the changing circumstances. A thick Shield of sadness and pessimism covers the plot of almost all the novels of Hardy and The Woodlanders was also not an exception to it. The disappointments of human life get clearly reflected in the plot; in every character who were the victims of circumstances and misfortune. Every character suffered in one way or the other except the rustics. Hardy's novels are the realistic presentation of life where we find both suffering and happiness, both Love and separation. But, the suffering, separation and pain always become heavy upon the characters for whom happiness and love appear as rare realization. Hardy doesn't prioritize the beauty of human life in his writing because he believed-"happiness is but an occasional episode in the general drama of pain". The plot of the woodlanders begins with the portrayal of nature also creates a gloomy set up. The opening paragraph-"The trees, timber or fruit-bearing, as the case may be, make the wayside hedges ragged by their drip and shade, stretching over the road with easeful horizontality, as if they found the unsubstantial air an adequate support for their limbs. At one place, where a hill is crossed, the largest of the woods shows itself bisected by the highway , as the head of thick hair is bisected by the white line of its parting. The spot is lonely. The physiognomy of a deserted highway expresses solitude to a degree that is not reached by mere dales or downs, and bespeaks a tomb-like stillness more emphatic than that of glades and pools." (The Woodlanders, Chapter1) describes the beautiful setting of little Hintock which carries the air of loneliness. As the plot moves on, the Author projected nature as a cruel merciless master who kills the hero, Giles. He died of being exposed to wind and Rain. Hardy dealt with several love relations but neither they were successful nor ended happily. Love in hardy's novels plays a major role in leading to loneliness and misfortune. In the woodlanders we see several love triangles between the characters such as Marty-Giles-Grace, Fitzpiers-Grace-Giles, Mrs.Charmond-Fitzpiers-Grace. The relationships become complicated as the circumstances suddenly take different turns stabbing their emotions. Marty expected to find her Love within Giles but Learnt about Mr.Merbury's decision to make amends of his Abstract: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), the great Evolutionary Meliorist and the Progenitor of the world of Wessex preserves a remarkable place among the authors of Victorian Era. His philosophical outlook towards life along with skilful projection of the harsh oddities of life in his novels creates a pessimistic impression regarding him in the mind of his readers. He, no doubt, painted the dark side of life but it was also the reflection of the gloomy age he belonged to. This article intend to focuses upon Hardy as a pessimist thinker and the glimpse of his thoughts getting reflected in his novel-'The woodlanders' where we see the protagonist struggles hard with the unseen forces like nature, fate and circumstances to survive.