Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day Eighteen: "The Grave by the Handpost" by Thomas Hardy


It's Christmas Eve and a group of carolers make their way through the city as usual but on this Christmas, they find themselves drawn to a strange light illuminating the town's seminal intersection, the literal crossroads of this 18th century Engligh country town. When the carolers reach the light, they see, beneath the handpost at the intersection, a grave that had been dug and a corpse lying therein. The gravediggers then tell the carolers the story of the man they'd just buried.

There's tragedy and then music and as expected, the Victorian notion of the inevitability and cruelty of fate shapes the story as Hardy questions whether there is in fact forgiveness after suicide or whether it even matters to ask the question.

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