Author (Your Name)

Heidi Meehan, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. English Dept.


Eileen Curran


Thomas Hardy's insightful novels explore the ways in which the moral and social conventions of Victorian England suppress members of its society. His fiction illustrates how public opinion inhibits people by shaping their behavior and thoughts. Hardy's novels convey his desire to transcend the beliefs of his time and achieve an alternative world in which both men and women may exist more freely. Although both men and women are constrained by the governing social ideologies, his writing focuses on women's struggle to be free of society's social demands. He shows his readers what is wrong with their country's accepted beliefs through his presentation and development of the female characters in his most famous novels, from Far From the Madding Crowd to Jude the Obscure. These fictional heroines examine which conventions dominate and restrain people. They find that the ideologies upon which gender stereotypes, conventional love, and the institution of marriage are based are the cause of much despair.


Full-text access is restricted to Colby College.


ictorian England, social, moral, convention, ideology