Commotion at the Courthouse Essay

Submitted By shastings708
Words: 461
Pages: 2

Sierra Hentges
ENG 120
Close Reading
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Commotion at the Courthouse The use of diverse, old-fashioned language in Hardy’s text reveals a unique sense of Casterbridge’s history. Throughout the book Hardy introduces many synonyms and references to various other novels, bibliographical texts, and language that gives rise to an interesting storyline. I thought an interesting, yet slightly controversial, part of the book is when Michael Henchard is in the courthouse and has just revealed the truth about selling his family. The townspeople break into a frenzy about the scandal-the previous town mayor isn’t actually the nice guy everyone thought he was. In a brief section of the text Lucetta is approaching the courthouse steps late and meets her servant who tells her about the shocking news. She says, “Oh, please, ma’am,’tis the larry about Mr. Henchard. A woman has proved that before he became a gentlemen he sold his wife for five guineas in a booth at a fair” (Hardy 154). According to the citation in the book, “larry” is also defined as a “commotion” which certainly paints a brighter picture of what is actually happening. Also, just before the servant tells Lucetta what all the people are talking about, Henchard openly admits to the people what he did before walking out the courthouse to a street full of people. Hardy writes, “Henchard left the chair, and came out, passing a group of people on the steps and outside that was much larger than usual” (154). The term “larry” is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “excitement” or “confusion” (Simpson). While I think these are both sufficient terms to describing the scene of Henchard’s secret finally coming out, the