Far From the Madding Crowd

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Joseph Poorgrass Character Analysis

Another of Bathsheba’s farm-hands, Poorgrass is shy and timid, though he feels at home among the other workers, especially at Warren’s Malt-house. Poorgrass is wont to make humorous, often irrelevant biblical and historical allusions, but he’s also superstitious—he mixes these influences without any rhyme or reason. He is earnest and a good worker, although also sometimes drinks too much when he’s tempted.
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Joseph Poorgrass Character Timeline in Far From the Madding Crowd

The timeline below shows where the character Joseph Poorgrass appears in Far From the Madding Crowd. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...he comes across another man, running about and crying for Mark Clark, Billy Smallbury, Joseph Poorgrass, and Matthew Moon. Other figures appear and confusedly get to work. (full context)
Chapter 8
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Coggan calls over to Joseph Poorgrass, saying he hasn’t drunk anything. Joseph tells the group that he blushes every time he... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Class Status and Mobility Theme Icon
...man, Laban Tall (known mostly as “Susan Tall’s husband”), remarks that he can play well. Poorgrass remarks that he’s a clever man, and they should be grateful to have such a... (full context)
Chapter 10
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Bathsheba calls for Joseph Poorgrass and asks what he does on the farm and what he earns for it. Then... (full context)
Chapter 15
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...undeterred by his lack of teeth. Henery Fray advances to the fire, while Matthew Moon, Poorgrass, and the other farmhands arrive from the cart-horse stables. Complaining about their hard work, they... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Moon and Poorgrass say that something bad is surely coming—they’ve had ominous dreams, and have seen white cats... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Class Status and Mobility Theme Icon
...appears in the entry, looking healthy and vigorous and carrying four lambs over his shoulder. Poorgrass asks about this year’s lambing, and Gabriel says he and Cainy have had a hard... (full context)
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...great deal. Gabriel sternly says he won’t allow such talk about Miss Everdene. Turning to Poorgrass, he asks if he too has spoken against her, and he and Matthew Moon begin... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...for instance, he is able to tell the time by the stars and make sun-dials. Poorgrass, in contrast, used to paint Farmer James Everdene’s name on his wagons and write his... (full context)
Chapter 18
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...manageable feeling. He goes to see her at the sheepwashing pool, where Gabriel, Coggan, Moon, Poorgrass and Cain Ball are assembled. Bathsheba stands by them in a new riding habit, while... (full context)
Chapter 20
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...too far left or right they’ll die anyway. Only Gabriel knows how to do this, Poorgrass says, though Bathsheba orders them not to refer to him in her presence. She orders... (full context)
Chapter 21
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...the landscape is green and full of ferns and blooming plants. Coggan, Fray, Laban Tall, Poorgrass, Cain, and Gabriel are all in the Shearing Barn. Like a church or castle, this... (full context)
Chapter 22
Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...take Gabriel’s spot: Gabriel moves readily. After supper Coggan sings a love song, followed by Poorgrass. A young Coggan son is beset by giggle and is sent home for his bad... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...A buzz of pleasure greets the end. Pennyways has showed up uninvited, and Coggan and Poorgrass begin to berate him for stealing. Their talk masks a dramatic scene in the parlor,... (full context)
Chapter 32
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
...is in his Sunday clothes. He’s had an injured finger so has taken time off; Poorgrass remarks that it was a bad leg that let him read the Pilgrim’s Progress, while... (full context)
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
...the woman he saw. Cain is wary of swearing that it’s “damn true” and, as Poorgrass sternly rebukes him for his language, begins to cry. Gabriel, shaking his head, turns back... (full context)
Chapter 40
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
...Then she sees Boldwood approach Gabriel across the field: while talking, both are saluted by Poorgrass, who is wheeling a barrow of apples towards the house. Bathsheba asks him for the... (full context)
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Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Suddenly, Bathsheba asks if Fanny walked on the turnpike road: she did, Poorgrass says, before remarking that Bathsheba looks pale. Fanny passed Weatherbury Saturday night. Before sending him... (full context)
Chapter 41
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Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...few feet above the ground: it’s used only for passage to and from the outside. Poorgrass rings the bell and backs his wagon against the high door: a coffin is thrust... (full context)
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Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
Women in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Class Status and Mobility Theme Icon
Wishing he had company, Poorgrass continues on, hearing a mournful tapping of dew from the leaves. He stops by an... (full context)
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Clark entreats Poorgrass to stay: the poor woman is dead, after all, he says. Poorgrass is a bit... (full context)
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At that moment Gabriel appears in the doorway, and cries that he’s ashamed of Poorgrass and Coggan. Clark asks him not to go on so; Coggan adds that no one... (full context)
Chapter 49
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Conflict and the Laws of Nature Theme Icon
...the Death of Black Bess,” retelling an 18th-century tale of a famous highwayman. Coggan and Poorgrass, among many others, jostle each other to enter the tent. At the back, in one... (full context)
Chapter 50
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
Since Poorgrass is now suffering from his ‘multiplying eye,’ and Gabriel is busy, Bathsheba accepts Boldwood’s offer... (full context)
Chapter 54
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Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...and on Yalbury Hill between Weatherbury and Casterbridge, a number of men are gathered, including Poorgrass, Coggan, and Cain Ball. After a half hour’s wait, a judge arrives on a travelling... (full context)
Chapter 56
Epic Allusion, Tragedy, and Illusions of Grandeur Theme Icon
Pride and Penance Theme Icon
...little chillier—that will come with joy. Bathsheba doesn’t laugh much anymore, but she smiles, and Poorgrass cheerfully makes a gloss on the affair. (full context)