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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Overcombe Mill

The novel begins within the confines of Overcombe Mill with our heroine Anne Garland, who occupies a small, narrow wing of the mill with her mother.  Miller Loveday occupies the main house and allowed the Garlands to inhabit the other wing after the death of Mr. Garland.  Hardy highlights the difference between the two wings:

Overcombe Mill presented at one end the appearance of a hard-worked house slipping into the river, and at the other of an idle, genteel place, half-cloaked with creepers at this time of the year, and having no visible connexion with flour.

On the Loveday side, Hardy presents a dilapidated image of the edifice, while the Garland side is described as "genteel."  The issue of class will continue to come up as the narrative develops.  The house is indicative of the decaying of the Loveday name over the years and the pugnacious hold the Garland maintain on their gentility, despite their dwelling.

The above painting is The Mill House by Frederick Waters Watts (1800-62).

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