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Facing, Not Fearing, the Future


People fear the past in different ways. In Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge Michael Henchard has a shameful past. Early in his life, while drunk, he auctioned off his young wife and his baby daughter to a sailor for five guineas. Later, filled with shame, he swore off drinking, moved away, and eventually became the mayor of his new home, Casterbridge. As the narrative unfolds his past catches up with him. For people with guilty secrets the past is a wounded bear that seems to be gaining on them.