DIPLOMSKI RAD Tess of the D’Urbervilles as a Wessex Novel

Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI

Introduction Heroine of Wessex country A portrait of nature in Wessex Tess of the D’Urbervilles as a Wessex novel Conclusion Bibliography

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Chapter 1 Introduction

Hardy, Thomas (1840-1928), English novelist and poet of the naturalist movement, who powerfully delineated characters, portrayed in his native Dorset, struggling helplessly against their passions and external circumstances. Hardy was born in Higher Bockhampton, Dorsetshire, June 2, 1840, and educated in local schools and later privately . His father, a stonemason, apprenticed him earty to a local architect engaged in restoring old churches. From 1862 to 1867 Hardy worked for an architect in London and later

continued to practice architecture, despite ill health, in Dorset. Meanwhile, he was writing poetry with little success1874 he was able to support himself by writing. This is also the year that Hardy married his first wife, Emma Gifford. Their marriage lasted until her death in 1912, which prompted Hardy to write his collection of poems called Veteris Vestigiae. He then turned to novels as more salable, and by Flammae (Vestiges of an Old Flame). These poems are some of Hardy's finest and describe their meeting and his subsequent loss. In 1914 Florence Dugdale became Hardy's second wife and she wrote his biography after he died in Dorchester, on January 11, 1928. Hardy anonymously published two early novels. Desperate Remedies (1871) and Under the Greenwood Tree (1872). The next two, A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), in his own name, were well received. Far from the Madding Crowd was adapted for the screen in 1967. In the latter he portrayed Dorsetshire as the imaginary country of Wessex. The novel is, however, not invested with the tragic gloom of his later


Hardy's best novels are The Return of the Native (1878). Some lesser works followed. Wessex Poems (1898) and Poems of the Past and Present (1901) contained poems he had written earlier. Wessex Tales (1888) and Life's Little Ironies (1894). which treated sexual attraction as a natural force unopposable by human will. In The Dynasts. At the age of 55 Hardy returned to writing poetry. The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886). are 4 . Criticism of Jude was so harsh that Hardy announced he was "cured" of writing novels. written between 1903 and 1908. Through intense. Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891). the seasons. but the human will loses when it challenges necessity.novels. An unstageable epic drama in 19 acts and 130 scenes. a form he had previously abandoned. deals with the role of England during the Napoleonic Wars. and Jude the Obscure (1895). In Victorian England. All are pervaded by a belief in a universe dominated by the determinism of the biology of Charles Darwin and the physics of the 17th-century philosopher and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton. particularly in Jude. including The Woodfanders (1887) and two volumes of short stories. Hardy did indeed seem a blasphemer. and the weather. Hardy's vision is the same in his novels: History and the actors. Occasionally the determined fate of the individual is altered by chance. which is his most closely knit narrative. Along with Far from the Madding Crowd. the fields. made into a movie called Tess in 1979. Wessex attains a physical presence in the novels and acts as a mirror of the psychological conditions and the fortunes of the characters. vivid descriptions of the heath. These fortunes Hardy views with irony and sadness. Hardy created what some consider his most successful poetry. who are racked by feeling.

both lyric and visionary. Late Lyrics and Earlier (1922). and Winter Words (1928). his ashes were placed next to those of Charles Dickens in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. Human Shows.""!!! 5 . she meant the most to him." and "Nature's Heights." His heart was buried in the Wessex countryside in the parish churchyard at Stinsford. Hardy's short poems. a girl who is at once a simple milkmaid and an archetype of feminine successful shorter poems are "Channel Firing. Tess liyes beyond the final pages of the book as a permanent citizen of the imagination. Satires of Circumstances (1914). Hopelessly torn between two men— Alec d'Urberville.nevertheless dominated by necessity. and Angel Clare.'. I. Of all the characters he created." Thomas Hardy died in Dorset on January 11. Far Fantasies (1925). dissolute young man who seduces her in a lonely wood. her provincial. April Tenebris. and unforgiving husband— Tess escapes from her vise of passion through a horrible. 'In Tess he stakes everything on his sensuous apprehension of a young woman's life. Etched against the background of a dying rural society. 1928. Among his most 1914/nWessex Questioning. were published as Time's Laughing Stocks (1909). moralistic. “Like the greatest characters in literature. Moments of Vision (1917). a wealthy. desperate act. Hardy's techniques of rhythm and his diction are especially noteworthy."Godfs Funeral. Tess of the d'Urbervilles was Thomas Hardy's 'bestseller/ and Tess Durbeyfield remains his most striking and tragic heroine.

Tess. Tess is taken advantage of by Mr. When it is discovered the low-class Durbeyfield family is in reality the d'Urbeivilles. d'Urberville and leaves his house. although technically a nineteenth century work.” Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) is generally regarded as Hardy's finest novel. the mother sends her eldest daughter. d'Urberville. Tess is that rare creature in literature: goodness made interesting. Thus begins a tale of woe in which a wealthy man "i mistreats a poor girl. who subsequently dies. Throughout the rest of this fascinating novel. A brilliant tale of seduction betrayal. Tess gives in to Angel and consents to marry Angel deserts Tess when he finds the innocent country girl he fell in love whith is not so pure. Tess is tormer at the thought of her impurity and vows to never marry. . to beg money from relations with the desire that Tess wed the rich Mr. anticipates the twentieth century in regard to the nature and treatment of its subject matter. After days of pleading.strength. It 6 . the last of a famous bloodline that da hundreds of years. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. . She is tested when she meets Angel. and falls in love with him. and murder. . exposes this standard denouement of unforgiving morality as cruelly unjust. Tess of the d'Ubervilles yields to narrative convention by punishing Tess's sin. Throughout. like the other major works by Thomas Hardy. returning she has their child. He began the novel in 1889 and it was originally serialized in the Graphic after being rejected by several other periodicals from July to December in 1891. Tess of the d'Urbervilles was the twelfth novel published by Thomas Hardy. The novel centers around a young woman who struggles to find her place in society. Hardy's me and atmospheric language frames his shattering narrative. the clever priest.

the novel was commercially successful and assured Hardy's financial security.was finally published as a novel in December of 1891. Michael. While many novels concern the interaction of characters. although it is now considered a major work of fiction. trials. Tess of the d'Urbervilles encountered brutally hostile reviews. His carreer as a novelist (London. The novel is about Tess. 1971) 1 Chapter 2 Heroine of Wessex country In the Vale of Blackmoor in rural Wessex lives a teenage girl. and development.her personality. Tess Durbeyfield. Upon its publication. growth. the poor reception of Tess and Jude the Obscure precipitated Thomas Hardy's transition from writing fiction to poetry. Tess of the D'Urbervilles concentrates almost single-mindedly on the life of its 7 . Thomas Harday. The novel questions society's sexual mores by compassionately portraying a heroine who is seduced by the son of her employer and who thus is not considered a pure and chaste woman by the rest of society. REFERENCE: Millgate. Nevertheless.

The best way to deal with such a complicated character is to try to see her in various lights. or her own sexuality) or as a heroic martyr. Tess is overburdened with responsibilities for her family and her loved ones. On the one hand she's feisty and independent. responsible for her own tragic fate. staying true to her intentions and feelings. spirituality and passion. But Hardy takes his heroine beyond this popular Victorian type. Few novels concentrate as completely on one character as does Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Though very resilient. Hardy traces Tess' life from the age of sixteen until she dies in her early twenties. Some readers see Tess as a detailed story of the psychology of an unchaste woman. independence and dependence. on the other she's shy and easily victimized. It's helpful to see her as a character caught between the old and new social orders. she blames herself harshly for innocent mistakes. society. Instead of committing suicide.” In his portrayal of Tess. full of contradictory emotions and actions. Tess tries to go on living and loving.how she deals with her own morality. Tess is an unusual girl.heroine.a girl whose life is ruined by those less sensitive than herself.they see her either as a victim (of fate. “Most readers are divided into two camps on Tess. by beginning rather than ending the book with her "fall" and dealing with her will to survive. The other characters are important only insofar as they affect Tess' fate. Hardy begins with the melodramatic Victorian stereotype of the "innocent seduced". 8 .

Tess doesn't try to change people. though she's there to help them in times of need. not socially but as an individual. Hardy credits Tess' peasant side for her ability to survive. she tries to combine thought and feeling. less inhibited. Tess' character is a combination of her mother's fatalistic peasant beliefs and her father's ancient aristocratic heritage. though poorly educated. probably because of her superstitious background. proud. as her mother says. or rejecting her. Unlike these men. She is a daughter of the earth rather than of the intellect. and even wiser. Tess wants to better herself.She's affectionate. She's very beautiful and men are always pursuing her. Although she tries to live an orderly. and bright. She has many fears. and temperamental nature. “Tess is often described as a hunted animal. This is what attracts her to Angel Clare.” 9 . From the d'Urbervilles she gets her socially rebellious. Sometimes Tess lets people victimize her. Her worn-out aristocratic side seems to encourage lethargy and passivity. life. pursuing. she seems fresher. People are always judging. she's easy to manipulate. sensual. modern. When we compare her to Angel and Alec. she respects their dignity and lets them make their own choices. she finds herself reverting to beliefs in fate and omens. either for purely sexual reasons or because she represents an excitingly unformed life waiting to be molded.

Angel. her true love.” 10 . “Tess also has an irrational.if there is one. It's this part of Tess that lashes out against Alec and eventually drives her to murder him. Although you'll have to decide that for yourself.that of a lone woman trying. and Alec treats her like one. violent side that Hardy attributes to her ancient d'Urberville warrior heritage. Hardy and the proper study of Mankind. to do good regardless of the horrors and temptations thrust in her way. Angel calls Tess a heathen. is forever striving after the highest and best in life. Tess is religious. She takes tender care of the wounded animals left in her charge. Many readers ask whether Tess is the pure woman that Hardy insists she is. Alec reflects her sensuality but she rejects his love because he has few aspirations and doesn't seem to care sincerely for people.would care more about the letter than the spirit of the Bible. 1993. he's too steeped in traditional values and philosophical abstractions to translate his dreams into reality.2 Gatrell Simon. London. though not in a conventional way. While Hardy blames her noble blood. Tess' relationships with Angel and Alec are major focal points in the novel. or at least willing. you are given one unwavering picture of her. we can see her fiery temper also as a primitive survival tool. However. She believes in being good and charitable but refuses to believe that God.

though we can't help but hope for her each time she picks herself up from despair and moves bravely on. to try to live a good and giving life in a difficult world. Angel brings out not only her giving.Her subservient attitude with Angel is the complete opposite of her fury with Alec. From the start of the novel we sense that she's playing a losing game. she's a lofty soul who is destined to suffer and die. simple dairymaid. Perhaps one of Tess' big mistakes is to let Angel's disappointment in her affect her so deeply. Tess is herself. self-denigrating tendencies. Why do you think she puts so much faith in a man who could turn on her so quickly? Tess is a tragic heroine. sweet nature but also her lethargic. Do you think she succeeds? 11 . Most important. Tess always reminds Angel and Alec that she is a poor. She's not trying to become a grand lady. it nearly drives her insane. Tess' goals are to be happy and to make those she loves happy. She never tries to be more than she is.

that the novel excludes large urban centers. Hardy's Wessex is so varied that it can be seen as a microcosm of the world. Flintcomb-Ash. Notice. and the sea. however. The Great web: Hardy’s major Fiction.. Talbothays. sands. London. The countryside is almost a character in Tess. Much of the time the settings reflect what's happening to Tess and the characters who influence her life.3 4 Bullen. is as secure as a mother's womb. Ian. The expressive Eye: Fiction and Perception in the work of Thomas Hardy.B. where she waits hopelessly for her husband to return. 1974 Chapter III A portrait of nature in Wessex Tess takes place in rural southern England in an area called Wessex that roughly corresponds to present-day Dorset county. Oxford.the perfect place for growth and romance. though their influence can certainly be seen in the market towns and railroad trains buzzing through the countryside. Gregor. where she meets Angel. bordered by heaths. J. Wessex includes a variety of landscapes. 12 . her hometown. Marlott. from fertile valleys to arid limestone beds. is fertile and expansive. is an abject wasteland. Each station or place where Tess stops is a testing place for her soul. 1986.

in the dead of winter. As you read Tess be aware that Tess' life begins and ends in the spring. Nature can be wonderful. and that she marries. has its good and bad points. as it is at Talbothays Dairy. 13 . To Hardy nature.Tess abounds in natural imagery. Rather than calling these sections of the novel parts. when Tess is happy. Hardy uses the word phases to emphasize that Tess' life is part of a cycle that includes all of nature. where the land is fertile and life-renewing. When events turn out badly the earth appears harsh and coldly indifferent to her agony. Nature is also depicted in the many journeys that take place in Tess. At the same time the natural rhythms of growth and seasonal change are vital to earthly continuity. It can also be harsh and grueling. like sexuality and society. ominously. that she falls in love during the fecund summer months. For example. the sky is blue and birds sing. regardless of individual fates it can and must strive forward. Even her story is divided into seven phases. as it is at Flintcomb-Ash Farm. Notice how nature also reflects the characters' emotions and fortunes. Both traveling and the rhythms of nature are seen as causing fatigue. where the soil is thoroughly inhospitable to growth. Hardy's primary stance on nature is that it is the core of our existence. Few books are as lush with descriptions of natural life. Hardy's belief in the constant movement of human feeling between pain and pleasure is also reflected in the seasonal nature of life. You'll notice that as Tess nears the end of her life she doesn't want to move at all.

however. and Devon.. In addition. in particular the ever-present sense of nature and of Tess as a trapped animal. is an essential element in understanding the novel.. where Tess experiences her greatest happiness. Tess of the d’Urbervilles takes place in Wessex. Nature. the countryside and the folk who inhabit the area provide more than a mere backdrop upon which Hardy tells his tale. She goes to The Slopes to “claim kin” and the environment is lovely and formal. The setting consists of more than the location.Most of the things that make Hardy's novel fascinating get sugared over in Karen Louise Hebden's adaptation and production.” Usually. as a part of the setting. They are. Flintcomb-Ash. the reader is obligated to examine Hardy’s use of setting and environment in Tess. however. Tess moves from a world that begins in the beautiful regions around Marlott. Wiltshire. reflecting the harshness of the work and the desolation of Tess’ life. With Tess. we can look at the setting of a novel as a small portion of a work. Somerset. on the other hand. but also contrived (consider the new house where she expected to find an old one). In Tess of the d’Urbervilles. particularly in this novel. is lush. The setting at Talbothays. nature is a close second only to the main characters. and fertile. 14 . in fact. a region encompassing the southern English county of Dorset and neighboring counties Hampshire. unnamed characters in the novel. The story ends in the equally mysterious Stonehenge region. Therefore.". the characters and setting mirror each other. is a barren region. green.

1979. Isabel. London. Hardy and the sister arts. Chapter IV Tess od the D’Urbervilles as a Wessex novel 15 .5 Grundy.

Only twice do we see “modern” machines in the novel. is based on the economic need for a horse. The Mayor of Casterbridge. She never travels more than 50 miles from her place of birth. The farm is the only world that Tess knows. Far From the Maddening Crowd. Talbothays and Flintcomb-Ash. Also. which together had formed a cultural whole. The entire series of chapters that follow Prince’s death. represent the best and worst of farm life. we see evidence of Prince’s death and the effect his passing has on the Durbeyfields. Thus. The whole of the work is rurally set. the train delivering the Talbothays milk to London and the threshing machine 16 . with Tess going to The Slopes. even though it is set within a specific timeframe. and a pattern of thought that serves as a historical account of life in southern England at the end of the 1800s. and with the level of detail. Draft animals are necessary for survival and prosperity.” This element makes Hardy’s notation about Wessex life timeless. Hardy documented a way of life. “He had begun to understand that he was the historian of a Wessex now passed. the recorder of a series of unique micro-environments. we see a type of existence that dated back several hundred years. As Simon Gatrell notes in Kramer’s The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy. A new horse is very important to the existence of the family. a pattern of speech. we can see Hardy’s intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a nineteenth-century farm. Tess. possibly back to ancient times. Little evidence of machinery invades the novel and the main form of transportation is either the horse or the horse cart. and Jude the Obscure). The two main farms. has an ethereal quality that seems to transcend time. ways of life and speech.With his Wessex novels (Tess.

was the vital 17 . if less delicately. modern farming equipment is not a key component of farming techniques practiced in Wessex. and near starvation. Farmer Groby’s treatment of his hired hands is not as sympathetic as Dairyman Crick’s as he tells Tess. and making cheeses. and were produced more profusely. Flintcomb-Ash. A further comparison is the setting of the two farms. churning butter. than at her home—the verdant plain so well watered by the river Var or Froom. and Trantridge are small towns easily managed by visitors and townsfolk alike. only positive things happen to Tess while she is there. Marian. The vast countryside of the novel. in a rich agricultural region of southern England—“the valley in which milk and butter grew to rankness. the Dorset region of England (known in his novels as Wessex) where he was born. Corn and swedes [rutabagas] are all they grow. and lived nearly all his life. one where the newly founded Industrial Revolution has yet to take hold. however. the rich farmland or the poorer farm areas. Furthermore. rocks. outline an important part of nineteenth-century English agriculture.” Taken as a whole.” Alec reappears at the farm to begin his renewed “courtship” of Tess. on the other hand. Emminster. raised. formerly of Talbothays. It is upon this framework that Hardy writes one of his best novels. the villages of Marlott. Otherwise.” is mired in mud. with milking.used at Flintcomb-Ash. “But we’ll see which is master here.” We cannot help but be charmed by the life of the dairy. Talbothays is portrayed as a beautiful place. For Thomas Hardy. with part of the name being “ash. has come to Flintcomb for work and calls the new farm “a starve-acre place. poor conditions. Some writers draw little from their birthplace.

once part of the landed gentry. At the same time. In many ways. At the same time many of these social and religious dogmas did more to keep the poor serving the new wealthy middle classes than to promote the good of humanity. a mason and house-builder. The 18 . he spent his childhood in a fertile rural region. famous generals.wellspring and setting of most of his novels. and fatalistic beliefs. and a certain plainfolk fatalism in which “what will be. like Tess’. The Victorian Age in which Hardy lived was alive with contradictions and conflicts. was born. Hardy inherited a fascination for old. His mother’s family members. modern industrial life was creeping into Dorset and its old-style agrarianism (farming life) was fast fading. they all too often took the sacred words in a harsh. will be. extinct families.Like the fictional d’Urbervilles. trying to fashion a truce between the two in his fictional creations. was a craftsman. ballads. and barons. were now poor servants.” His father was a boisterous man who loved playing the fiddle with Tommy at church affairs and local folk festivities. his family. literal sense rather than with a spirit of mercy and compassion. But by the time Tommy. full of old folk superstitions. a love of classical books. like the ones we’ll see in Tess. Born in 1840. ballad-like quality of his finest works. power. From his mother. While people were supposed to live in accordance with the Bible and its ethics. and prominence. We’ll also see in Hardy’s novel how money and power can cause people to compromise human dignity and liberty. Hardy’s family had been prominent in the past. as his parents called him. had lost its wealth. Hardy’s father. We’ll see how unjustly Tess is treated by a society that obeys the letter rather than the spirit of the law. Thomas Hardy lived between the old world and the new. Hardy’s love for music is obvious in the melodic. with a number of philanthropists.

reclusive individual who loved the solitary. naturefilled life of the Dorset countryside.under greenwood trees. The characters are 19 . Primitive edifices turn up throughout Tess. He observed two hangings in his childhood. but his family’s economic needs. and their rough majesty and wild paganism sent his vivid imagination soaring. He became seriously ill and depressed during both his extended stays in London. as we’ll see in the Stonehenge sequence of Tess. forcing us to see Hardy’s characters within an historic and universal framework. as well as his own religious doubts. He viewed one hanging avidly from the top of a hill with a telescope. You’ll see all these influences in Tess. He never felt at home in cities. This hanging is memorialized in Tess. Hardy was always a shy. Roman and Druidic ruins were all around Hardy in Dorset. a major character in Tess. which figures largely in the ancient forests and d’Urberville crypts of Tess. in which 500 years of varying architectural styles might be present in one building. as well as the determinist philosophies of his times. Like Angel Clare.but still embracing. His work on such churches may have taught him how to combine and intermix several eras in his literary works. caused him to become an architect instead. history ties everything together. You’ll notice when you read Tess that Hardy quotes the Bible extensively. Even as a boy he was fascinated by the grotesque. These traditional songs abound with fair young maids murdering their seducers and star-crossed lovers lying dead. Hardy took great pride in restoring old churches. He loved Shakespeare and followed with interest all the newest evolutionary creeds.story of Tess is very much like the oldtime ballads Hardy heard as a Dorset boy.The Hardys were avid churchgoers. Throughout Tess. Hardy was originally bound for the clergy. and the Bible was probably Tommy’s first reader.

forever floating back and forth between daily humdrum existence and noble pasts. Hardy wrote impassioned poems to her on the theme that “absence makes the heart grow fonder. Everyone. Tess herself. Many readers see Tess as a social novel in which the heroine represents the old agrarian order battling against the new industrial order. lyrical rhythm to the novel. Tryphenia Sparks. who died just months before Hardy began writing Tess. has to wonder if there was a real-life model for its fascinating heroine. who represents the new middle-class rulers of Britain. but there is some well-founded conjecture that Tess is based on Hardy’s beautiful. but was too well educated to feel he completely belonged there. No one knows for sure. As a symbol of the new order Alec is depicted as estranged from nature.” Angel Clare expresses similar sentiments in Tess. Hardy was emotionally tied to rural England. Hardy’s job as an architect entailed meeting many colorful local folk who spoke the rich and rough Dorset dialect. Men like Alec have much money and power. their power comes not from the land but from industry. Hardy may have once been in love with Tryphenia. spoke the dialect as well as the Standard English that was just beginning to be taught in the schools. After her death. like Thomas Hardy. mysterious cousin. These readers focus on her relationship and irreconcilable conflict with Alec. Hardy uses this dialect in Tess to represent the common folk and lend a special. 20 . but unlike the old rulers (such as Tess' d'Urberville ancestors). Like Angel. after reading Tess.

is seen as warm. or that the old one is completely good. The narrative technique of an author in any novel is crucial to the readers understanding of the narrative. author Thomas Hardy uses a variety of narrative techniques in order to convey his own impressions of the society in which both he and his character Tess lived. The use of 21 . as Angel Clare desires. We often see Tess at the mercy of machines. particularly the thresher at Flintcomb-Ash with its ghoulish engineer. they are treated worse than machines. As you read Tess try to decide if Hardy thinks that the new system is completely bad.irresponsible. and people in the society in which the author is attempting to impart to his or her readers. in order to develop. Hardy's use of a third person omniscient narrator who is all knowing adds to the vulnerability of Tess by the reader's knowledge of what other characters say and do. as a representative of the old agrarian order. Hardy actually traps his heroine between serving the incessantly moving thresher and falling off into Alec d'Urberville's waiting arms. The way in which a novel is written influences the way in which the reader interprets the events which occur throughout the novel and allows the author to convey the feeling of time. When Tess and her family are driven from Marlott. place. whilst simultaneously detaching himself from the tragedy of Tess. charitable. and insensitive to those he rules. Tess. Uprooted from their stable lives they lose their sense of individuality and community tradition. a more ideal new system. unfocused. in harmony with the land. In Tess of the D'Urbervilles. but also exhausted. You'll probably find that he's trying to honestly examine both systems to discover the best in both. they encounter hoards of other transient farm families forced to live a nomadic life under the new factory-like agricultural system.

22 . and songs and poetry. This is achieved through the use of dialogue. reactions. interpret. The way we read. letter writing. Dialogue between characters allows Hardy to present his characters to his readers in a more direct way. and also allows the reader an insight into the social and cultural backgrounds of the society as reasoning for the characters behaviour and emotions. Hardy's use of religious and mythological allusions and metaphysical symbols allow the reader to reflect on the religious and sociocultural environments in which the narrative is set so as to allow the reader to better understand and interpret the actions and emotions of the characters due to the reader's knowledge of their environmental influences. It permits Hardy to allow his readers to interpret the characters in a way which is less influenced by his own narration and by which the readers are able to judge for themselves the characters by how they speak and communicate with others as well as the content of their converse. and reflect on a novel is greatly influenced by the author and his or her use of narrative techniques in order to appropriately convey the characters and their society.extensive description of setting by Hardy allows the reader to interpret the action. and moods of the characters in relation to the specific atmosphere in which they exist at the time and the influence which such a setting has on the character's feelings and emotions. An effective narrative technique used by Hardy is the provision of a more direct means of communication between his characters and the reader. Letter writing and songs and poetry allow the reader to be directly informed of the actions and their rationale as well as the feelings of a specific character by which the reader is able to interpret these being influenced by the specific character rather than Hardy himself.

Hardy describes the county of Marlott and the surrounding Vale of Blackmoor in terms of its rural beauty and cultural atmosphere whereby a May Day dance is being held. actions. Hardy describes the setting of Chaseborough as "a decayed market town" (Chapter 10) where Alec.Setting in this case refers to the specific surrounding environment and it's atmosphere in which a character exists at a specific point in time. It is here where we realise that Hardy's created topography of Wessex represents the moral condition of the characters. It is during this tumult that Alec takes advantage of the sleeping Tess. This description of setting reflects the peaceful atmosphere of the county at that time. Hardy makes note of the fog in the woods which is regarded as a metaphorical representation of entrapment. much like that of Tess and her family. Upon the commencement of chapter two. whilst the setting also influences how a character behaves. reactions. This creation of a embroiled and uncomfortable environment for Tess alerts the reader to advancing events. and their companions have chosen to spend their evening drinking. In the second phase of the novel. Tess refuses converse with him and leaves him to go down the "crooked lane" (chapter 12). An atmosphere of chaos and disorder has thus been set with Tess's intoxicated and unruly companions turning into "satyrs clasping nymphs" (Chapter 10). Tess. Hardy's comprehensive description of these settings also conveys to the reader the insignificance of individual characters in relation to the social atmosphere in which they live as a whole. The particular setting in which a character exists reflects the character's moods. Prior to Alec's violation of Tess. Two distinct setting placed in stark contrast to each other are Tess's journey to The Slopes where Alec lives and Tess's 23 . and their rationale for these. creating suspense for the events to come. Tess is seen making her way back to Marlott at which point she is overtaken by Alec.

and considers the journey more of a "pilgrimage" (chapter 16). However travelling to Talbothays Tess's ride is swift and pleasant.. creating an alluding and mysterious figure. the hiss of fertilisation. No physical description is given and his dialogue is limited. This contrast in setting reflects Tess's respective relationships between herself and both Alec and Angel.. Hardy's characters are greatly influenced by the religious and social environments in which they live. Religious and mythological allusions enable Hardy to convey these aspects of his society to his readers. The parson represents the religiosity of Hardy's society and communicates to the readers that this is a religious society. Tess feels a sense of purpose in beginning a fresh new chapter of her life. Some time later as Tess and Angel depart from 24 .. Tess is reluctant and indisposed to her impending situation.journey to Talbothay's dairy. She does not enjoy the journey in the least. Hardy describes the setting as "oozing fatness and warm ferments. Upon departing for The Slopes. At the commencement of the second phase of the novel "maiden no more".. Upon arriving at the dairy. contrasting Alec's estate on The Slopes and Angel's elevated dwelling. whilst also setting the scene for Tess's introduction to the readers and for the events to come. the first character the readers are introduced to is Parson Tringham. Tess observes that this a place of good spirits where "she appeared to feel that she really had laid a new foundation for her future" (chapter 16). This can be regarded as the metaphysical symbol of oppression and hardship. feeling that her excursion will result in unwanted consequences. In the opening of the novel. Tess is seen burdened with a heavy basket and a large bundle. In the midst of the blossoming relationship between Tess and Angel at the dairy. Hardy juxtaposes the residences of both Alec and Angel.

the cock crowing three times as it had done intensifies the omen even more. It permits the reader to judge the characters on the basis of their own communication with other characters rather than on Hardy's own interpretation of their converse. Such is an omen of bad luck. Hardy's use of an omniscient narrator. and cultural aspects allows the reader to rationalise the actions and emotions of the characters in relation to the society in which these characters live. whilst also creating suspense for the reader as to the events to come. allusion and metaphysical symbols. These narrative techniques are highly effective in establishing a relationship between the characters and the reader and also in conveying to the readers the various aspects of Hardy's society. Dialogue also informs the reader of a specific character's thoughts and feelings as well as their intentions and rationale for previous actions. This religious allusion represents the religious implications and consequences for Tess's decision not to inform Angel of her past. and according to biblical references. and letter writing and songs in Tess of the D'Urbervilles enables Hardy to influence the way his readers understand an interpret the events of the novel.the dairy after their wedding ceremony. An effective narrative technique used by Hardy is dialogue between characters. a cock is heard crowing. An understanding of these religious. social. descriptive setting. 25 . How a character speaks and what they say allow a greater insight into the nature of their individuality. It is crucial for the readers to comprehend the background and aspects of Hardy's society in order that they be able to realistically explicate the plot of the novel in relation to the environment in which the characters exist.

The most unusual thing about the structure of Tess is the way in which Hardy uses many narrative techniques. sprinkling in weepy melodrama. and classical Greek tragedy.Chapter V Conclusion Tess is also one of the few tragic novels in the Victorian fictional tradition. and realism the next. He uses balladry and folk tales one moment. notice how sharply these different approaches collide. dogmatic philosophizing. A tragic novel is one in which a noble character is pitted against unfavorable fates and fights for her ideals against a world that is primarily beyond her control. poetry. As you read Tess. One moment Hardy brings us a close-up shot of insects and plants to teach us a parallel lesson 26 .

particularly Angel and Tess. He describes landscapes as if they were metaphors for human experience. Many readers have found Hardy's asides interruptive and distracting from the meat of the novel.are thinking. or the universe.on humankind and nature. This poetic voice pulls us away from the story just as Hardy's philosophizing does. The tone of these philosophical sections is very different from that of the rest of the book. Other times the narrator shows us aspects of their personalities or situations of which they aren't yet fully aware. nature. Other readers find these philosophical tracts necessary to take the novel beyond the confines of melodrama or balladry in which a pure woman falls from virtue and is condemned. They feel that Hardy's asides force the reader to deal with farreaching social and cosmological considerations. it is a richly interwoven story of all humanity and the miraculous enormity of life. where poetry and storytelling share a visual beauty. Hardy's poetic voice is his most enchanting and hypnotic. but it also makes us feel rather than think about all the pleasure and pain of life. religion.as if he were afraid that the story couldn't be trusted to make his moral points for him. Yet we never feel that Tess is a hodgepodge of styles and sensations. 27 . Tess is written from an omniscient (all-knowing) narrator's point of view. the next moment he gives us a panoramic view of how a dairy farm operates. feeling. Sometimes the narrator reflects what the characters. Many times Hardy takes us away from the immediate story of the novel in order to make philosophical comments on how his characters' situations illustrate far-reaching problems affecting society. or experiencing.

forsaken by another. but the novels could result in the loss of such powerful moral messages. no one writes more eloquently of tragic destiny than Hardy. The novel would benefit by far if there was a more spontaneous atmosphere and the characters were allowed free reign to develop unhindered. Tess of the d'Urbervilles is today one of the enduring classics of nineteenth-century literature. changing the characters could endanger tle novel’s importance in history. So. Hardy’s intentions are noble. In it hardy wanted to show the faultiness of the belief that women who have premarital sex are impure. He tries to show the reasons for giving more could freedom to everyone. Tess of the D'urbervilles is an incredibly well written novel that uses so many allusions. With the innocent and powerless victim. and he also wanted to show the unfairness of the double standard between men and women. but compromises their characters in the process. Tess.Violated by one man. females in particular. he creates profound sympathy for human frailty. 28 . Of all the great English novelists. Tess of the D’Ubervilles is a tragedy that relies on abnormal behavior in order to make the novel work. Tess Durbeyfield is the magnificent and spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy's immortal work. while passionately indicting the injustices of Victorian society. but would definitely improve the overall reading experience. symbolism. and allegory that each idea presented is expressed in the most artistic way. Scorned upon its publication in 1891 by outraged readers.

The novel is not only a tragic masterpiece but has its beautiful moments. Tess of D'Urbevilles is indeed a great work & no doubt the best of Hardy. Chapter VI Bibliography 29 . Overall Tess of D'Urbervilles is a novel that once read can never be forgotten. This novel is such a warming piece of literature envoking real emotions in human beings.The beauty of the novel lies in the language and style of the novelist.

Michael (eds). The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Hardy and the Proper Study of Mankind (London.).Purdy. .Hardy. Thomas Hardy: His Career as a Novelist (London. 1974. 1978 – 1988).www.). .).encarta. Ian.Millgate..www.yahoo.B. F.).: Fiction and Perception in the Work of Thomas Hardy (Oxford.msn. .literature-web.com 30 . The Later Years of Thomas Hardy 1892 – 1928 (London. J. Hardy’s Literary Notebooks have been edited by Lennart A.google.). Bjork..Hardy. Hardy and the Sister Arts (London. 1993. Isabel.). 1986. .Gatrell Simon. 1930.aspy? refid=761570473 . 7 vols (Oxford. The Expressive Eye.Gregor. .). .. 1971. The Great Web: Hardy’s Major Fiction (London. The Early Years of Thomas Hardy 1840 – 1891 (London.E. 2 vols (London. Michael. F. 1985). . . 1979.E.www.com/encnet/refpages/refaticle..com .www. 1928. Richard Little and Millgate.Bullen.net/hardy/tess_urbervilles .Grundy.

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