Tradition and Change
Hardy’s major novels depict a rural society in the process of transformation as a result of the unprecedented social, economic and technological changes that took place in nineteenth-century England. Characteristically he portrays a traditional world only to demonstrate how it is being undermined and ultimately destroyed by the agents of change. These latter may be new inventions such as the steam-train and the kind of agricultural machine that made obsolete traditional methods of farming, or, more intangibly, the dispersal of the once tightly-knit village community and the collapse of the old social hierarchies. The following passages all illustrate different aspects of change, as a community that has formerly been relatively isolated and self- sufficient suffers the invasion of what, in another novel (The Return of the Native), Hardy calls ‘the irrepressible New’.
KeywordsRailway Station Final Paragraph White Streak Alarming Exploit Bizarre Image
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