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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Chapter 37

Soon there is lightning and thunder in the distance, and Gabriel realizes he is not safe from the fury of the storm. He still refuses to quit the task at hand, devises a lightning rod, and redoubles his efforts. As Gabriel pushes himself, he notices that Bathsheba has lit a candle inside the house. She also notices him hard at work by himself. Soon Bathsheba joins him. She is worried about the corn and has come to do whatever she can to save it from the rains.

Bathsheba asks Gabriel where Troy is. He tells her that Troy is sleeping in the barn with the other inebriated party-goers. Bathsheba asks Gabriel how she can help, and he tells her to pass up the sheaves to him if she is not afraid of climbing the ladder in the dark. She immediately lends her assistance. The lightning continues, growing brighter every time, until it ends in a brilliant flare of light which strikes the rick. Gabriel and Bathsheba are saved due to the lightning conductor devised by Gabriel. Worried about his mistress, he advises Bathsheba to go home. She refuses, for it appears like the worst is over.

Bathsheba questions Gabriel about the other workers. He tries to cover for them, but the mistress of the farm has it figured out. Accompanied by Gabriel, she goes to the barn to observe the scene inside; all the men are hopelessly sound asleep. Bathsheba and Gabriel return to their work. Bathsheba questions Gabriel about what he feels regarding her marriage. She also explains why she married so quickly and secretly. She was afraid that her reputation would be ruined after having met Troy in Bath. Troy had also threatened her that if she did not marry him quickly, he could not promise to be faithful to her. Bathsheba then makes efforts to defend Troy, but Gabriel does not answer. Noticing how she is getting tired, Gabriel tells her to go home, for he can manage the rest of the job alone. Gabriel praises Bathsheba for her help, and she in turn thanks him for his work and devotion.

Gabriel quietly completes his work and thinks about Bathsheba's story. He feels that, oddly, he and Bathsheba have now become closer than when she was single. His thoughts are disturbed by the sound of the turning of the weather vane; the change of wind means the coming of heavy rain. Fortunately, the harvest is by now protected.


Notes

Hardy vividly describes the storm, which is symbolic of the storm in Bathsheba's mind. It is very clear that life and its experiences are changing Bathsheba. Her former vain attitude towards Gabriel has changed to one of gratitude and appreciation of his work. Her first fascination with Troy has given way to disappointment. She has matured because she understands how her troubles are of her own making. She does not blame Troy even though she is disappointed in him. The storm symbolizes the realization that dawns on Bathsheba regarding her self and her hasty, thoughtless actions.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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