The Mayor of Casterbridge By Thomas Hardy Summary and Analysis Chapter 30 - Elizabeth-Jane Leaves High-Place Hall

Summary

Donald arranges to have his belongings moved to Lucetta's home. When he arrives Lucetta informs him that she would like Elizabeth-Jane to remain and Donald consents. Elizabeth-Jane tells Lucetta that she fully understands the implications of the story she had been told of another woman's past, and that her father figures in Lucetta's life. She feels strongly that Lucetta should, out of propriety, marry Henchard. Lucetta says that her promise to Henchard was made under constraint. She reveals her marriage to Donald. Even though Elizabeth-Jane has decided immediately that she must leave the house because of her feelings toward Donald, she tells Lucetta that she will decide upon the issue later.

That night Elizabeth-Jane removes her belongings to a residence across the street from Henchard. She leaves a note explaining her move for Lucetta and returns to her new room to consider her prospects. The villagers have by now heard of the marriage and are busy conjecturing whether Donald will stay in business or live off his wife.

Analysis

Elizabeth-Jane is a stickler for propriety, is, "indeed, almost vicious" in her condemnation of any form of waywardness. It is not hard to understand this, since the confusing events of her past life might appear to her to be the results of a neglect of the legal and social mores. Hardy, however, is guilty of forced logic in showing her disapproval of Lucetta's choosing Farfrae over Henchard. His rather weak account of Elizabeth-Jane as a homebody who never listens to gossip cannot make convincing her ignorance of the furmity woman's revelation and Henchard's corroboration.

Glossary

"John Gilpin" a ballad by William Cowper (1731-1800).

Nathan tones The prophet Nathan was damning in his onslaught against King David's marriage to Bath-Sheba.

Ovid famous Latin poet (43 B.C.-18 A.D.). The line is from his Metamorphoses: "Though I approve of the better things I see, I follow after the worse."

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After Michael sells his wife, he pledges never to drink alcohol for how long?




Quiz