I love romantic stories, but this one, by Thomas Hardy, is about more than the love between two people. It was written in the 1874, but revised in 1895 and again in 1901, during a time when women began to insist on their independence. The women\'s movement in the United States is usually dated to the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. In Britain a number of women\'s pressure groups appeared around 1858-59 under the leadership of Barbara Leigh Smith and Bessie Rayner Parkes of \'the Ladies of Langham Place.â Hardy illustrated the conflict if ideals between men and women in that transitional time. His novel told the story of a headstrong woman insisting upon her independence at the cost of her true love, causing conflict and hardship in her and the lives that she touched, hence the title with âMaddingâ or conflict in it.
I researched the clothing of that time and although the proper dress for a woman would be to have her hair bound, but I thought to portray Bathsheba, the main character, with her hair wild and unbound to represent her independent attitude. Gabriel Oak, her love interest is behind her in the distant with one of his dogs. The sheep between them is the symbol that links them. The skies are stormy and troubled, but the land is lush and fertile as the potential for their love. — Lyla Paakkanen