The Mayor of Casterbridge

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The furmity-woman Character Analysis

once a prosperous sales woman, the furmity seller witnesses Henchard’s cruel choice to sell his wife and daughter for five guineas in her tent at the Weydon-Priors fair. The woman grows poorer as her business declines. Eighteen years later, at the Weydon-Priors fair, she directs Susan toward Casterbridge, as the place she knows Michael Henchard is currently living. Eventually, she travels to Casterbridge and is arrested there. During her trial, she reveals Henchard’s secret past.
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The furmity-woman Character Timeline in The Mayor of Casterbridge

The timeline below shows where the character The furmity-woman appears in The Mayor of Casterbridge. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Self-Destruction Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
...tent selling “furmity”: a mixture of corn, milk, raisins, and currants. Michael discovers that the furmity-woman serving is lacing some bowls with rum, and pays her extra to slip rum into... (full context)
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
Humans and Nature Theme Icon
...with her. As the other customers depart, Michael falls asleep at a table, and the furmity-woman leaves him there for the night. (full context)
Chapter 3
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
At the fair, Susan spots the same furmity-woman, now grown old and poor. Her furmity pot is outside, without the grand tent it... (full context)
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The furmity-woman does remember Henchard, but only because, she says, he returned to the fair the following... (full context)
Chapter 28
Self-Destruction Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
The other members of the court protest, but the furmity-woman says the story shows that Henchard is no better than she, and therefore unfit to... (full context)
Chapter 31
Self-Destruction Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The story about Henchard’s sale of his wife and child revealed by the furmity-woman spreads throughout town, and from that day onward Henchard’s reputation rapidly declines. An incident of... (full context)
Chapter 36
Character Theme Icon
Among the mixed company at Peter’s Finger, where Jopp and his companions arrive, is the furmity-woman, lately settled in that area. Charl tells an animated story about his fight with another... (full context)
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
As the letters are read, the identities of the main players are revealed. The furmity-woman feels she has saved Lucetta from a bad marriage. Nance Mockridge says the letters are... (full context)