Harvest

by

Jim Crace

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Master Beldam/Young Man/Husband Character Analysis

Mistress Beldam’s husband, a mysterious stranger who builds a shack on the village fringes at the beginning of the novel. As punishment for allegedly stealing Master Kent’s birds and burning his dovecote, Master Beldam spends most of the week during which the novel takes place shackled in the pillory. Here, he appears as a sort of Christ figure, suffering public punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. When Walter is left alone in the village, he frees Master Beldam and provides him with food, hoping they can band together to face the frightening dissolution of the village. However, Master and Mistress Beldam burn down the cottages and leave the village without Walter, showing that his ideals of community have no place in the new world created by the enclosure movement.

Master Beldam/Young Man/Husband Quotes in Harvest

The Harvest quotes below are all either spoken by Master Beldam/Young Man/Husband or refer to Master Beldam/Young Man/Husband. 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 9 Quotes

Our church ground has been desecrated by our surliness. Our usual scriptures are abused. This body on the cross is not the one that’s promised us. Yet, once again, it’s Mr. Quill who teaches us our shortcomings. It’s Mr. Quill who’s intimate and kind. It’s Mr. Quill who’s valiant. It will not make him popular.

Related Symbols: The Pillory
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

It is a warning–among country folk, at least–that life should be allowed to proceed in its natural and logical order. In other words, you do not eat before you cook, you do not weave before you shear, you do not attempt to light the fire until you have the kindling…

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Master Beldam/Young Man/Husband
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

The plowing’s done. The seed is spread. The weather is reminding me that, rain or shine, the earth abides, the land endures, the soil will persevere forever and a day. Its smell is pungent and high-seasoned. This is happiness.

Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Harvest LitChart as a printable PDF.
Harvest PDF

Master Beldam/Young Man/Husband Character Timeline in Harvest

The timeline below shows where the character Master Beldam/Young Man/Husband 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
...the men 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... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...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. Their bows will... (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. Once they’re... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...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 away, with an... (full context)
Chapter 4
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...but he seems more troubled than this circumstance warrants. Earlier, he told Walter that the younger man shouted at him as he passed the pillory, as if he were the true criminal.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...house courtyard. Part of his leg has been eaten by an errant pig, and the young man is screaming and cursing at them. (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...he didn’t slip and fall because one of the hogs was bothering him. When the young man cursed at Master Kent that morning, he must have already been dead. (full context)
Chapter 6
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...old man deserved to meet his death in the pillory. He says he’ll release the young man in another city when he departs and announces that his servants will throw the old... (full context)
Chapter 7
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
Jordan questions Master Kent about the younger stranger , still imprisoned in the pillory. Affecting to be concerned that the man has insulted... (full context)
Chapter 8
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...for her by the pillory, since she’ll probably come during the night to feed the young man. (full context)
Chapter 9
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
As they’re walking to the manor, they see Mr. Quill in conversation with the young man in the pillory; all the villagers disapprove, seeing this as a sign of Mr. Quill’s... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...wait in the shadows, Mr. Quill explains 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... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
Eventually, all three men hear Mistress Beldam coming. Walter isn’t sure if the husband knows they are crouching near him, or if he will warn her away. However, he... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...bottle of cordial Walter knows she must have stolen from the village. She kisses her husband and lifts the bottle to his mouth, but when she hears the villagers noisily returning... (full context)
Chapter 10
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...arrived at the same time he did. His kind behavior to Mistress Beldam and the young man proves they’re scheming together. Moreover, since Walter now spends too much time with the Chart-Maker... (full context)
Chapter 12
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
...left to acquire sheep and hired men. He makes Walter promise not to let the young man out of the pillory until his allotted sentence is over, and tells him to prepare... (full context)
Chapter 14
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
Now there are only four people in the village: Walter, Mistress Beldam, her husband, and Mr. Quill. Walter plans to search for him the next day, but hopes he’s... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
...with an old sword, and finds the key to the pillory. As he approaches the young man , Walter smiles in reassurance, but the man doesn’t respond. Despite the “mild” punishment he’s... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
Walter says that if the young man helps him with farming for a day, he will free him and allow him to... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
...of bringing the wrong ones. He removes the plow from the barn and finds the young man watching him. Without a greeting, the man says, “nose before ear,” an old memory device... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
From his ease with the machine, Walter can tell the young man was once a plowman. Together, they set off toward the barley field, which is already... (full context)
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Walter leads the oxen while the young man guides the plow. His face seems “passionate,” and Walter can tell plowing is meaningful for... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
...require twenty men, but Walter only intends to plough one good furrow. He tells the young man that this endeavor will be “to all our advantages,” but his companion remains silent. Still,... (full context)
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...drenches him, causing the earth to stick to his feet. Walter looks around for the young man , but he can’t see him and assumes he’s gone to sleep in one of... (full context)
Chapter 15
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
When the storm has subsided, Walter leaves Kitty’s cottage to look for the young man and Mistress Beldam, thinking that they should be grateful to him and welcome his company.... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...Quill, one as Kitty, one as John, another as Master Kent, two more for the young man and Mistress Beldam, and the last as Cecily. In his imagination, all of them are... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
...and sees a plume of smoke rising from the manor house chimney, which means the young man and Mistress Beldam have spent the night there. Although it’s logical that a young couple... (full context)
Chapter 16
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...packed everything for him and interprets it as a gesture of thanks for freeing the husband early. Now he can share a meal with them and perhaps leave the village together. (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
...been eaten. There are no clothes drying and the fire is dead. In fact, the young man and Mistress Beldam have ransacked the parlor and stolen everything of value. Walter walks into... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...on furniture left behind shows enthusiastic spite. On one hand, this is justified since the young man and Mistress Beldam suffered much in the village; however, Walter feels betrayed by Mistress Beldam’s... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
...like someone has climbed them recently, leaving smudges on the bannister. He wonders if the young man and Mistress Beldam are hiding from him and calls out, but they don’t respond. Carefully,... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...couple loading a cart with possessions from the manor and animals from the village. The young man marches to the pillory, and with some effort, chops it down with an axe while... (full context)
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...or earlier, when the imprisoned women named him. He wonders if Jordan’s men or the young man and Mistress Beldam are responsible. He feels that he’s failed Mr. Quill, both because he’s... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...in burning the manor house. When Walter reaches the courtyard, he sees her and the young man hurrying away. Now, Walter will accompany the young man and Mistress Beldam “only in dreams.”... (full context)