A plot twist worthy of Thomas Hardy

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Senior Member

I read a BBC feature article about the Victorian love. There's a sentence:
But in a plot twist worthy of Thomas Hardy, she, herself, caught influenza while nursing her husband back to health...

What does "a plot twist worthy of Thomas Hardy" mean? My guess is that such story is so odd that it might pass to be told in the novel of Thomas Hardy's style. Could you explain the usage of "worthy of" to me?

Thanks. :)
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Your guess is right. If the plot twist is "worthy of Thomas Hardy", the plot twist would seem natural in a book written by Thomas Hardy.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    It literally means the plot twists in a way that Hardy might have used in one of his novels.

    Worthy of is a fascinating phrase which we use in a variety of ways. I have been trawling the dictionary to find the exact definition and am struggling to find it for you!


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I suppose the reference is to The Mayor of Casterbridge, where the 'mayor' Michael Henchard falls in love with Lucetta who nursed him back into health after an illness, but at the end Lucetta dies of an epileptic seizure.

    Suzi, I think the use is derived from a more literal use of 'worthy', live a life worthy of your calling, which means 'live a life that is good enough so that it matches your calling'. The key point is that it is good enough. In the particular sentence, it means roughly that the plot twist is good enough to be considered to have been composed by Thomas Hardy himself. (But this time, I think its use is ironic. Plot twists are now not generally considered good things.)


    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    'Worthy' means 'up to the standard of'. Thomas Hardy is considered by the author to be the master of the plot twist (whether or not it's a good thing or a bad thing). Therefore a plot twist worthy of him, refers to one that is at the same standard that Hardy might have thought of himself. The problem of whether or not this is a compliment or a sarcastic comment would require a more experienced Hardy scholar than me to answer, and is not a problem that is particular to the English language.
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