ThemesFate and Chance
The characters in Hardy's novel of seduction, abandonment, and murder appear to be under the control of a forcegreater than they. Marlott is Tess's home and, as the name of the town implies, her lot in life appears be marredor damaged. As the novel opens, Tess's father, John Durbeyfield, learns that he is the last remaining member of the once illustrious d'Urberville family. The parson who tells him admits he had previously "resolved not todisturb [Durbeyfield] with such a useless piece of information," but he is unable to control his "impulses." Thisevent, which...
Three main settings (and one-sentence description of each)
Marlott - This is Tess’ home town where she grew up and returned to after the incident at the d’Urbervilles.Alec d’Urberville’s house - Tess went to stay at this house after their family fell in need and sought help fromthe supposed relatives.Talbothays - Trying to find a new life, Tess came here and met Angel whom she fell in love with and marrieddespite competition from three other girls.
Two symbols and references
The pillar with the hand print - This pillar symbolizes Tess’ guilt of adultery and murder. Alec says that it waserected by the druid’s for some punishment, while others say it was a cross. Tess was arrested after sleeping byit.Tess’ baby - This baby symbolized Tess’ bad circumstances which was out of Tess’ control. It symbolizesinnocence in a sense since this baby was innocent having done nothing wrong, but it was punished by society for coming from such an evil act. Having been raped, Tess was also innocent of the crime, but she was still punishedand pushed aside by society.
Two or three sentences on style
Hardy’s writing style is simple but wordy. His sentence structures are not long or very complicated, but thecomplexity in his work comes from the way he uses several sentences. For example, he uses a lot of imagery anddescribes the scenery in great detail. While each individual sentence may not be difficult to understand, it is theway the various sentences fit together to form a whole picture which separates him from other authors.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
tells the story of a girl who is seduced and has a child who dies. When she meetsanother man whom she wants to marry, she is unable to tell him about her past until after their wedding. Her husband abandons her, and Tess is driven by despair into the arms of her former seducer. When her husbandreturns, Tess kills the man she is living with. Hardy uses a third-person ("he/she") narrator with an omniscient(all-knowing) point of view to tell Tess's story. Thus the narrator not only describes the characters but can revealtheir...
One or two sentences on dominant philosophy
This book deals with the oppression of an innocent girl. Most of the consequences she faced were notconsequences of her own actions which makes this story somewhat of a tragedy in that sense giving the book amood that you can try to make for yourself a good life, but you do not determine your own outcome.Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) is generally regarded as Hardy's finest novel. A brilliant tale of seduction, love, betrayal, and murder, Tess of the d'Ubervilles yields to narrative convention by punishing Tess's sin, but boldlyexposes this standard denouement of unforgiving morality as cruelly unjust. Throughout, Hardy's most lyricaland atmospheric language frames his shattering narrative.The novel centers around a young woman who struggles to find her place in society. When it is discovered thatthe low-class Durbeyfield family is in reality the d'Urbervilles, the last of a famous bloodline that dates back hundreds of years, the mother sends her eldest daughter, Tess, to beg money from relations with the obviousdesire that Tess wed the rich Mr. d'Urberville. Thus begins a tale of woe in which a wealthy man cruellymistreats a poor girl. Tess is taken advantage of by Mr. d'Urberville and leaves his house, returning home to havetheir child, who subsequently dies. Throughout the rest of this fascinating novel, Tess is tormented by guilt at thethought of her impurity and vows to never marry. She is tested when she meets Angel, the clever son of a priest,and falls in love with him. After days of pleading, Tess gives in to Angel and consents to marry him. Angeldeserts Tess when he finds the innocent country girl he fell in love with is not so pure.Early critics attacked Hardy for the novel's subtitle, "A Pure Woman," arguing that Tess could not possibly beconsidered pure. They also denounced his frank—for the time—depiction of sex, criticism of organized religion,and dark pessimism. Today, the novel is praised as a courageous call for righting many of the ills Hardy found inVictorian society and as a link between the late-Victorian literature of the end of the nineteenth century and thatof the modern era.