Character Sketches from The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

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Character Sketches: Elizabeth Jane Newson, later Elizabeth Jane Henchard, is naturally pretty but is never considered beautiful because of her conservative dress and attitude. The narrator says that young men do not obsess over her or fall in love with her because she isn’t ostentatious. Elizabeth Jane doesn’t wear the fashionable clothes and isn’t flirtatious. Instead she is reticent and much too serious for the guys in the novel. Elizabeth Jane tries to be extravagant at one point in the story, but she hates the extra attention and becomes even more self conscious. Afterwards, she returns to her “inner chamber of ideas” that keeps her faded into the landscape unnoticed. This idea of Elizabeth Jane having an “inner chamber of ideas” insinuates that she is more than a pretty face and has an intricate mentality that sets her apart from the other women in the novel. Elizabeth Jane serves as a major character but not the main character. She helps characterize the main character, Henchard, and serves as a guide for him. She is not swayed by emotion and passion as Henchard is. She uses a logic base for everything she says and does. This instinct almost always projects her to be morally faultless. The good qualities of Elizabeth Jane offset Henchard’s faults and give him an idea throughout the story of what is just—accenting Henchard’s character with logic even though he is obviously ruled by passion. Lucetta Templeman is a complete foil to Elizabeth Jane. Where Elizabeth

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