Harvest

by

Jim Crace

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Beldam Father/Old Man Character Analysis

Mistress Beldam’s father, who arrives in the village with his daughter and son-in-law at the beginning of the novel. With Master Beldam, he’s sentenced to a week in the pillory, but because the villagers neglect to feed him or bring him water he dies of exposure before the punishment is over. Enraged by the injustice of her father’s death, Mistress Beldam kills Master Kent’s horse, which gives Edmund Jordan an excuse to persecute the villagers and break up the village. In this sense, the Beldam father is a reminder that the village’s downfall is partly caused by its hostility to outsiders.

Beldam Father/Old Man Quotes in Harvest

The Harvest quotes below are all either spoken by Beldam Father/Old Man or refer to Beldam Father/Old Man. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Harvest published in 2013.
Chapter 5 Quotes

The air was cracking with the retributions and damnations that, in my heart of hearts, I knew that some of us deserved. I prayed that this was just a dream and that soon the couldn’t-care-less clamor of the sunrise birds would rouse me to another day, a better day, a bloodless one, one in which, despite my hand, I’d do my common duty and drag up a log or stone to make that short man tall.

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Beldam Father/Old Man
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Harvest LitChart as a printable PDF.
Harvest PDF

Beldam Father/Old Man Character Timeline in Harvest

The timeline below shows where the character Beldam Father/Old Man appears in Harvest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...is young and the other old, so they conclude that they are her brother and father, and that she’s conveniently unmarried. The women see her as a good partner for their... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...that they’ve only seen rough manners since they arrived here. Master Kent decrees that the old man and young man will both spend one week in the pillory for stealing the birds.... (full context)
Chapter 3
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
Walter knows that the old man and young man’s punishment is unjust, but he’s decided it’s best to leave it alone.... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...just heard reports from his neighbors, John and Emma Carr, and the Widow Gosse. The old man has to stand on tiptoe to keep from being strangled in the pillory, and Walter... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...the pain in his hand. He walks toward the pillory. When he sees the miserable old man and young man exposed to the elements, he wishes he could build a church right... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...men don’t respond. In the bad weather, Walter can’t even find a log for the old man to stand on; he tries to bring one of the stones intended for the church,... (full context)
Chapter 4
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...on his horse. He’s reciting the prayers for the dead, and it’s clear that the older stranger has perished. (full context)
Chapter 5
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...to a burned-out barn and sees Master Kent, his cousin, helping Mr. Quill carrying the old man ’s body away from the pillory and into the manor house courtyard. Part of his... (full context)
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
While Walter and Mr. Quill cover the old man ’s eyes and put a sheet over him, Master Kent prays over the body. Although... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...reconstructs events himself, “without recourse to any constable or magistrate.” Sometime during the night, the old man must have slipped in the mud and broken his neck. They don’t know if he... (full context)
Chapter 6
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...the strangers, Master Jordan says that his cousin has been too kind, and that the old man deserved to meet his death in the pillory. He says he’ll release the young man... (full context)
Chapter 7
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...him in Kitty’s bed. While preparing porridge, Kitty suggests that it’s the ghost of the old man who killed the horse. Trying to dismiss this notion in terms she’ll understand, Walter points... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...While it’s senseless to take out anger on a horse, she was distraught from her father’s death. Master Kent doesn’t identify her as the owner of the shawl, but instead lies... (full context)
Chapter 9
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...that the man in the pillory is her husband, and the dead man was her father. They’ve traveled to the village because their own common ground, not far away, has been... (full context)
Chapter 14
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...could have lured Mr. Quill to her and killed him, angry and grieving over her father’s death. (full context)
Chapter 15
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...He sees a small monument of stones, which Mistress Beldam must have constructed for her father. Cupping his hands, Walter calls to Mr. Quill several times; while he startles the birds,... (full context)