Book Club Discussion Questions for Under The Greenwood Tree

Here lies the heart of Thomas Hardy

Here lies the heart of Thomas Hardy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just a reminder: our book club questions contain spoilers.

  • In some versions of the novel, the added introduction by the author says that he was unable to do a deeper study of the rustic characters in this early work. What about this book makes it superficial? Where could Hardy have delved further?
  • The plot of this book is comparatively gentle and happy, when seen along side the later Wessex novels. Why does Hardy start out with this sort of rural idyll?
  • The quire is an essentially male concern, and is superceded by a single, female artist. How does this affect the construction of maleness in the Dewy family?
  • Does the use of archaic or folksy spelling add to the pleasure of the novel, or detract from its immersiveness?
  • What wider societal changes are being reflected, in miniature, in Mellstock?
  • One of the characters appears to have a learning disability. How is his treatment different from today?
  • Compare how Fancy Day’s brief flirtation with a comparatively affluent marriage is treated with that of other classic authors. Why is she judged so harshly by the author?
  • Did the romance work for you?  Did Fancy pick the man who suited her?
  • Did Fancy ever tell Dick?

The Library Service has this book in several formats.