Saturday, May 18, 2024

Thomas Hardy avoiding a conventional ending for a romance novel in “A Pair of Blue Eyes” (1873)

Thomas Hardy's "A Pair of Blue Eyes" (1873) begins with Stephen Smith, a lower-class young man trained as an architect, in love with Elfride Swancourt, whose parson father forces her to break off her romance. After Smith goes to colonial India to seek his fortune, Elfride falls in love with Henry Knight (without knowing that Knight was once Smith's mentor). When Smith returns from India as a wealthy man, the novel seems to be heading toward Elfride finally choosing between the two, but Hardy chooses a less conventional ending: without the two men's knowledge, Elfride has married someone else and died just as they were on their way to confront her. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 18 May 2024)

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