The Mayor of Casterbridge Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Mayor of Casterbridge

. Michael Henchard is traveling with his wife, Susan, looking for work. One day however Henchard gets drunk and sells his infant daughter and wife for 5 guineas to a sailor named Newson. After this episode, Henchard vows to never drink again and 18 years later he is the Mayor of Casterbridge.
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Susan and Elizabeth-Jane (his daughter) return to Casterbridge as Newson is now dead. The parents meet and decide to remarry swiftly not telling Elizabeth-Jane of Henchard's past actions. In the meanwhile Elizabeth-Jane becomes infatuated with one of Henchard's workers Farfrae, who seems to outdo Henchard consistently. Henchard feeling threatened by him asks him to leave his business and to stay away from Elizabeth-Jane. In the midst of this Susan becomes ill and dies, Henchard also realises that Elizabeth-Jane is actually Newson's daughter and not his which results in Henchard becoming cold towards her.

Due to this Elizabeth-Jane moves in with Lucetta Templeman a women who was a past love interest with Henchard, and has just arrived to Casterbridge to marry Henchard. However, Lucetta becomes close to Farfrae and the two eventually marry. Elizabeth-Jane now begins to have a closer relationship with Henchard, until Lucetta dies. The morning of her death Newson, who is actually alive returns. Henchard however, lies telling him that Elizabeth-Jane is dead. Farfrae also becomes closer to Elizabeth-Jane as this happens.
Newson returns to town once more, and Henchard not wanting confrontation decides to leave. Finally Newson and Elizabeth-Jane are reunited and soon after the plans for Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane to get married are put in place. Henchard now returns to Casterbridge on the eve of their wedding, but Elizabeth-Jane asks him to leave. She later regrets this and decides to look for him.
However, Henchard is found dead his last wish is to be forgotten.
The review of this Book prepared by Khurram Jowiya a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Thomas Hardy's Wessex is a very interesting place, often colourful, sometimes gloomy. In this novel Michael Henchard sells his wife and daughter at a country fair. He was drunk at the time and when he sobers up realises what he has done and swears he will not take another drink for 21 years. When the sailor who bought Susan is presumed dead nineteen years later she searches for her legal husband and finds he is the Mayor of the small rural town of Casterbridge. The couple remarry as if the previous marriage never existed. Susan dies and there are complications involving another woman who Henchard promised to marry. Elizabeth-Jane, Henchard's nineteen year-old daughter, falls in love with his manager who marries the woman Henchard intends to marry.
The review of this Book prepared by Penny

Chapter Analysis of The Mayor of Casterbridge

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   rekindling lost love/marriage Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   politician/elected ruler    -   small businessman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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