Exploring Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd
Exploring Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd

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4.1 The narrator

The story teller of Far From the Madding Crowd is what is known as a third-person narrator. That is, someone who knows all there is to know about what happens, knows exactly who the characters are and what motivates them to do what they do. Third-person narrators are often also referred to as omniscient, because they are god-like in their control of their fictional characters and the story that they tell. But they stand outside their stories, sometimes judging or telling us what to think about characters, sometimes leaving readers to decide for themselves, or they may conceal information deliberately in order to build suspense. You will have opportunities to make up your own mind about what kind of third-person narrator Hardy’s is as you read further. As you read Chapter XIII think about what the narrator tells us about Bathsheba, and what we are left to find out for ourselves.

The narrator is not quite one and the same as the author, and that’s worth remembering: there is a gap between Thomas Hardy the writer and the narrator who tells his story.

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