- Purchase/rental options available:
In this essay I discuss the evaluative modes of Wayne Booth's controversial figure—the male mentor—attending, in particular, to the intricate mix of social and psychological insight that informs Thomas Hardy's account of the views of Gabriel Oak, the hero of Far from the Madding Crowd. Privileging character appraisal in the business of assessing the putative wrongdoing of a playful woman turns out to be compelling and problematic. For Hardy, as for Jane Austen, the act of evaluation is considered from the perspective of an ethics of equity and amity. So, has Hardy's fair-minded reader any reason to be optimistic?