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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Festus character portrait

Hardy gives us a character portrait of Festus in chapter 8.  Festus is described as 23 years old and having a warm tone in skin and hair.  His personality is split between boastful and cantankerous though able to be quite shrewd when necessary.  In terms of his relationships with the opposite sex, he was regularly liked and abused by girls who took ample opportunity to ridicule him behind his back.  As a youth, he played the role of bully to boys smaller than him, though he later feared the wrath of those boys' mothers.  Described as "early in love," he had fallen in love 13 separate times already, though his love was "earnest, cross-tempered, and even savage." 

Having been given this description, the reader credits Anne for her good judgment in trying to avoid Festus' company, despite her mother's opinion that Festus would make a better husband than John.  Her mother's opinion is largely based on the issue of class and Festus being his uncle's heir to what is supposed to be a significant sum.  As the widow of a "genteel professional man," she does not want her daughter to marry into the lowly Lovedays.  Anne, however, is not as concerned about the class issue and prefers the company of John, who is more honorable in character and less aggressive in love.

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