I have been waiting for J to be old enough to appreciate Thomas Hardy but the language has proved to be a huge barrier. As a compromise, we watched Far from the Madding Crowd together so she could get a sense of Bathsheba, a character that had made an impression on me when I read the book in my early teens.
J got interested in her the way her heart (and mind) worked and the choices she made in love. The movie was not nearly as rich in texture as the book itself and I am still hoping she will take the time to read. How else will she find the words of wisdom such as these :
“Bathsheba loved Troy in the way that only self-reliant women love when they abandon their self-reliance. When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never any strength to throw away. One source of her inadequacy is the novelty of the occasion. She has never had practice in making the best of such a condition. Weakness is doubly weak by being new.”
The expression of love that J will become familiar with in her youth in the society that she is growing up in, will have close to nothing in common with Hardy's Wessex. However, the way a self-reliant woman loves when she chooses to abandon her self-reliance is universal and timeless.