Face, linguistic (im)politeness and polyphony in Thomas Hardy’s "Far from the Madding Crowd"
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Thomas Hardy’s novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" provides a stark contrast in how the characters project their face (Goffman 1967) and how they seek approval from others. Such a contrast can be analysed in terms of Bakhtin’s polyphony – the many voices found in a text which includes the author’s portrayal of his protagonists and how they interact with each other. In order to highlight this contrast and its way of coming across, I examine how three key characters in the novel, Gabriel Oak, Sergeant Frank Troy and William Boldwood, present themselves interpersonally. I use the concept of linguistic (im)politeness to demonstrate how the protagonists try to further themselves, especially in their pursuit of Bathsheba Everdene. I argue that a linguistic (im)politeness approach can also be applied to other novels of Thomas Hardy and indeed to a wider range of literature.
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