plot summary from spark notes- The Mayor of Casterbridge


Plot Summary- The Mayor of Casterbrirdge 

Michael Henchard is traveling with his wife, Susan, looking for employment as a hay-trusser. When they stop to eat, Henchard gets drunk, and in an auction that begins as a joke but turns serious, he sells his wife and their baby daughter, -Elizabeth-Jane, to Newson, a sailor, for five guineas. In the morning, Henchard regrets what he has done and searches the town for his wife and daughter. Unable to find them, he goes into a church and swears an oath that he will not drink alcohol for twenty-one years, the same number of years he has been alive.

After the sailor’s death, eighteen years later, Susan and Elizabeth-Jane seek Henchard; Elizabeth-Jane believes he is merely a long-lost relative. They arrive in Casterbridge and learn that Henchard is the mayor. The parents meet and decide that in order to prevent Elizabeth-Jane from learning of their disgrace, Henchard will court and remarry Susan as though they had met only recently.

Meanwhile, Henchard has hired Donald Farfrae, a young Scotchman, as the new manager of his corn business. Elizabeth-Jane is intrigued by Farfrae, and the two begin to spend time together. Henchard becomes alienated from Farfrae, however, as the younger man consistently outdoes Henchard in every respect. He asks Farfrae to leave his business and to stop courting Elizabeth-Jane.

Susan falls ill and dies soon after her remarriage to Henchard. After discovering that Elizabeth-Jane is not his…


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