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Tess of the dUrbervilles Pdf

Tess of the dUrbervilles Pdf

1 . How does the novel begin? Does Hardy use a natural or seemingly invented device to start the book?[Tess of the dUrbervilles Pdf]

Tess of the dUrbervilles begins with a rich, lavish description of the landscape that provides the setting of the novel. This description helps establish the context and feel of the story that is to follow. The novel is set in Wessex, a rustic and historical part of southwestern England that relies heavily on farming. This area, as we see it, has its own distinct customs, rituals, beliefs, and culture, and its inhabitants speak with a noticeable rural accent. Hardy became well known for the richly detailed description in his novels, which serves an important function: as Hardy documents and includes many realistic details to present the area more fully , he enables us to enter into the story ourselves in a more concrete and richly imagined way.

We are introduced to the Durbeyfield family on the day in which the legend of their distant, defunct, yet still marvelous aristocratic heritage is revealed. When told of this legacy, Mr. Durbeyfield feels immediately liberated from his poverty and low social stature, even though his situation does not change. Mr. Durbeyfield has already become enraptured in a dream that takes him from rags to riches. Similarly, we first meet Tess at an event that marks a holiday from her everyday life. At the May Day dance, all the young women dress in white, carry white willow branches and white flowers, and dance with each other This local custom is, at its root, a symbolic ritual of purity and springtime. These women seem to enjoy the custom, perhaps because it allows them the chance to play a symbolic function beyond their insignificant social roles. The arrival of the three young brothers excites the women, heightening the specialness of the affair. When Angel stops to dance with one of them, it is as if he is a prince who has come in search of a princess, even if only for a dance. Most of the women, including Tess, are anxious to be chosen, and somewhat jealous when they are not. Acceptance from a handsome man from a higher social dass would mean a lot to them. Like Mr. Durbeyfield, these young local women yearn to escape poverty and the low social stature that their rural setting allots to them. 

2. How does Hardy end the novel?

Hardy ends the novel with a brief explanation of Tess’s fate that laments the ironic justice that she received. For suffering through Alec d’Urberville and the consequences of his treatment toward her, Tess receives the justice’ of execution for finally reasserting herself in the face of her seducer. Hardy also gives a brief indication of Angel’s fate; he will presumably marry Liza-Lu in order to make amends to his wife for his treatment of her.

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The final chapter incorporates elements of the pastoral as well, as Angel and Liza-Lu, outside the walls of the city where the execution takes place, surrounded by yews and evergreens, are able to bend down to the earth in prayer.

The novel also sets forth the likelihood that Angel will provide for Tess’s family; he is with Liza-Lu, who resembles Tess in looks and character, although she is “Slighter”—Hardy famously hints that Tess is full figured and large bosomed, features associated with sexuality . It appears that Angel may have regained his faith, as he kneels in prayer when Tess dies. Although Hardy does not offer a happy ending, he does set things in order for the surviving characters.

3. Explain – “Don’t you really know, Durbeyfield, that you are the lineal representatives of the ancient and knightly family of the d’Urbervilles, who derive their descent from Sir Pagan d’Urberville, that renowned knight who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror, as appears by Battle Abbey Roll?”

In this passage, from Chapter I, the local parson informs Mr. Durbeyfield of his lineage, thus setting in motion the events that change the fate of Tess Durbeyfield forever. Interestingly, the parson’s tone is casual, as if he is unable to even conceive of how his news might lead to tragedy later. For the parson it is genealogical trivia, but for Durbeyfield it feels like fate—the deepest truth about himself, like Oedipus’s discovery of his own identity. The fact that this prophetic news is delivered on the road, in an open field, right at the beginning of the work is reminiscent of the opening of Macbeth. There, the witches address Macbeth as “Thane of Cawdor” and “King of Scotland,” just as the parson addresses Durbeyfield as “Sir John.” As in Macbeth’s case, the noble address leads to disaster and death-in this case, the death of the “rightful” d’Urberville, Alec.

Hardy emphasizes the irony of Durbeyfield’s situation not only by contrasting the common peddler on the road with the image of the “renowned knight” who was his forebear, but also by contrasting the modes of address of Durbeyfield and the parson. The parson has just addressed him as “Sir John,” which sets the whole conversation in motion, but we see here that the parson soon lapses back into the familiar tone more appropriate to one addressing a social inferior: “Don’t you really know, Durbeyfield. … * Durbeyfield does the same: despite his discovery that he is Sir John, it is he who calls the parson “sir” here. The ironies multiply, making questions of class and identity complex and unstable, as Hardy intends to depict them.

4. Is the ending of the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles justified?

The subtitle of the novel, which causes controversy at the time, is “A Pure Woman,” and I agree that Tess was a pure woman, more sinned against than sinning. That said, the issue is complicated. Alec ruined Tess’s life when she was too young and innocent to know how to protect herself. He raped and impregnated her when she was 15, leaving her a shamed, fallen woman in their culture. Later, when Angel, her husband, comes back from Brazil, Alec’s presence as her lover threatens to ruin Tess’s life a second time. One can understand how the anger against him welled up inside her.

On the other hand, as Alec says, people like he and Tess “pay to the uttermost farthing” for what they have done, and this is true. Both pay with their lives, but Angel Clare, who hurt Tess even more profoundly than Alec with his hypocrisy and double standard, rejecting her for having a sexual past when he had one too, gets away with his misdeeds scot free, and in fact, watches Tess hang. It seems unfair that both the lower class Tess and the lower class Alec have to pay such a high price while the middle class Angel is allowed to go on living as if he a good and upright person.

5. How do the Injustice and Fate play a major role in the development of the character of Tess?

The cruel hand of fate hangs over all the characters and actions of the novel, as Tess Durbeyfield’s story is basically defined by the bad things that happen to her. Thomas Hardy himself, as the author of the novel, obviously causes the many unfair coincidences and plot twists that beset Tess, but as narrator he also manages to appear as her only advocate against an unjust world. Tess’s hardships are described as mere sport for the “President of the Immortals,” which contrasts with the Christian idea of a God who has a benevolent plan for everyone, and connects with the notes of paganism throughout the novel. Hardy points out and emphasizes the multiple unhappy coincidences that take place, like Tess overhearing Angel’s brothers instead of meeting his father. The novel basically keeps asking the age-old question “why do bad things happen to good people?” Hardy even muses over the possibility that Tess’s sufferings are a punishment for her ancestors’ crimes, or else that some murderous strain is in her blood, foreshadowed by the d’Urberville coach.

The “justice” meted out by the society around Tess is just as cruel as the “President of the Immortals.” Both her community and Angel condemn Tess for her rape, which was not her sin but Alec’s. She is seen as someone to be criticized and cast aside because of a terrible thing done to her, rather than something she did herself. Her final execution emphasizes the feeling that society, circumstance, and some external force, whether Thomas Hardy or a god, have been working against her the whole time.

6. How has Hardy criticised the then society through his novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles?

As in many of his other works, Thomas Hardy used Tess of the d’Urbervilles as a vessel for his criticisms of English Victorian society of the late 19th century. The novel’s largest critique is almed at the sexual double standard, with all the extremities and misfortunes of Tess’s life highlighting the unfairness of her treatment. Society condemns her as an unclean woman because she was raped, while Angel’s premarital affair is barely mentioned. Angel himself rejects Tess largely based on what his community and family would think if they discovered her past. Hardy saw many of the conventions of the Victorian age as oppressive to the individual, and to women in particular, and in Tess’s case the arbitrary rules of society literally ruined her life.

Even the title of the novel challenges convention. Because it was traditional at the time to see Tess as an “impure woman,” the title’s addendum “A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented” immediately reveals the author as his protagonist’s defender against condemnation. By delving so deeply into Tess’s sympathetic interior life and the intricate history of her misfortunes, Hardy makes society’s disapproval of her seem that much more unjust.

There is also a satirical thread running through the novel’s social commentary. The emphasis on ancient names is played to absurdity with John Durbeyfield’s sudden pretensions upon learning of his ancestry, and the newly rich Stoke family adding “d’Urberville” to their name just to seem more magnificent.

7. At Talbothays Dairy, Tess and Angel Clare seem to be ideal for each Other, but trouble lies ahead. Discuss the demise of their relationship in terms of each character’s maturity.

From the beginning, Angel and Tess seem like an unlikely couple. He is the educated son of a well-known gentleman pastor and she is the daughter of a drunken cottager. However, they fall deeply in love and it seems that they will be happy. The rationalization that Angel should marry a farming woman to help him in his endeavors seems justified, and she will move up socially: “he (was] quite the gentleman born” (133). However, the marriage is deomed after Tess confesses an earlier encounter with another man.

No one can doubt Tess’s sense of responsibility and maturity. She takes it upon herself to transport the hives to market and feels compelled to replace the family’s horse after the disastrous accident. After the death of her son, she leaves Marlott out of sense of duty to her family, continues to work at neighboring farms after Angel leaves her, returns home to nurse her mother and finally shoulders the entire responsibility for her family after her father’s death. Her only “crime” was failing to confess to Angel before their marriage. Perhaps, it was immature not to tell him, but she couldn’t take the chance of his not loving her.

Despite his goodness and his progressive philosophy, Angel experienced a very different upbringing and chooses to forgo a university education in favor of a career as a farmer so he can see more of the world. He is also free to fall in love with whomever he wishes. As his name suggests, he is angelic—all the milkmaids love him-he even plays a harp; however, his harsh, immature, rejection of Tess puts him on a par with the devilish Alec d’Urberville. It is only through extreme physical and mental suffering that Angel Clare truly develops into a mature, loving man.

8. What happens before and after Tess states, “Once victim, always victim that’s the law!” in Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles?

Tess cries out to Alec Stokes-d’Urberville “Once victim, always victim-that’s the law!” while at the bleak and inhospitable farm in Flintcomb-Ash. Alec has tracked Tess down and sought her out and come to her while she is at the grueling work demanded by the “red thresher” leased to thresh Farmer Groby’s corn harvest. Alec, because of Vicar Clare’s intervention in his life, had turned to religion and was preaching as an evangelist. When fate intervened through the coincidental accident of putting Tess outside the tent he was preaching in, Alec gave up all evangelical impulses to pursue the passion that Tess continued to inspire in him.

At this meeting, unwanted by Tess, at the corn ricks in Groby’s field beside the resting threshing machine and near the launching fieldworkers, Alec blatantly says to Tess that he, as her first husband, though in action only, had the right to claim her as his own and to thereby save her from the life of drudgery she had constrained herself in her shame after Clare’s rejection (though Clare’s estrangement did not include total denunciation as she felt it did). Tess is outraged by Alec’s request and final words and in anger throws her heavy leather worker’s glove at his face. After both springing to their feet in reaction to Tess’s sudden defensive violence, Tess expresses her opinion of a renewed situation with Alec by crying, “Once victim, always victim-that’s the law!” This clearly illustrates her conviction that she was always Alec’s victim and-one way or the other-would always continue to be Alec’s victim. Alec responds by declaring that as surely as he once asked her to be his wife and as surely as she had refused, he was master of her then and would be master of her again.

One importance of this passage is that we see the true inner being of both Alec and Tess. He may have good and kindly impulses in desiring to take her away from her life of hardship, yet at heart he is and always will be the villainous dictatorial manipulator. Tess may yield to violent impulses directed against a persecutor and villain, yet at heart she is virtuous, pure and loyal (though we can see from her angry reaction that the grueling physical labor and overwrought worry are wearing her down presaging her ultimate emotional collapse that then leads to her final misery).

9. Thomas Hardy remains highly regarded for his compelling settings. How does Talbothays Dairy contribute to the novel?

Talbothays Dairy is the setting for the happiest time in Tess’s young life. Set among the green pastoral Wessex hills, from the beginning, Tess is warmly welcomed into life at the farm and begins to feel alive again after the death of Sorrow, her baby son: “she little divined the strength of her own vitality” (145). The fertile farm teems with life. Milk, the fluid of life, is ubiquitous. It is here that Tess meets her future husband Angel Clare who strums on a harp high up in the rafters. The good-natured farmer, his wife and the workers, seem like farm fixtures, part of the setting. Life in this idyllic locale is without social hierarchies. Talbothays seems like Eden.

Here Angel and Tess, a virtual Adam and Eve, meet and reside in happiness. As long as they are in this golden Edenic Valley, nothing untoward happens to them. They are protected, safe and apart from the world. It is only when they venture into the “real world” town that Tess is accosted by the mean-spirited Farmer Groby who crudely remarks on her virtue. And when they leave the farm for their honeymoon, it is as if they are ejected from paradise into the cold, cruel world where they must “earn their bread by the sweat of their brow.”

10. In Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, is Tess entirely a victim of fate?

The only direct mention of fate is by Joan, Tess’s mother, on page 12 when she is talking to her husband. She tells him that she checked Tess’s fate in a book called “The Fortune Teller” and it apparently said that Tess would marry a nobleman. The ironic thing about Fate, though, is it never reveals the journey that leads to the end result, how long the result will last, or if the person will live happily ever after. There isn’t a strong presence of Fate in the story as manifested in any character, either, so many of the troubles and trials that Tess faces seem simply coincidental and not an act of some Fate intervening for the jest of it. Many times throughout the story, Tess makes choices out of fear rather than confidence and this hurts her either directly or indirectly; so, one wouldn’t necessarily say Fate stepped in at that point. For example, she battles back and forth with herself as to whether or not to tell Angel about her past. In the end, it seems to be too late when she finally does tell him and she misjudges him and his reaction to her disappointment. So, Fate is mentioned at the beginning of the story, but all of Tess’s choices seem to be more of a problem for her than Fate.

11. At Talbothays Dairy, Tess encounters three other milkmaids who are also in love with Angel Clare. How do these others contribute to the novel?

At Talbothays Dairy, Tess makes friends with three milkmaids, Marian, Retty and Izz Huett. The four girls work together closely, attend church together, share the same dormitory room and above all, they all love Angel Clare. Tess insists they are every bit as good as she; indeed, she repeatedly maintains they are better. At first, she rejects Angel’s advances: “Mr. Clare-I cannot be your wife” (194). But Angel is completely indifferent to Marian, Retty and Liz, and Tess wins his heart.

The three other milkmaids act as foils for Tess and set off her beauty and her character. The good-natured Marian is plump while Tess is as slim as a reed. Marian takes to strong drink in desperation after Angel weds Tess, while Tess drinks pure white milk. Retty is friendly and fun but weak-willed. She attempts to commit suicide after Angel’s wedding to Tess. On the other hand, Tess experiences extreme poverty and hardship after Angel abandons her, and despite voicing her desire to die, she never thinks of taking her own life. Lively Izz jumps at the chance to accompany Angel to Brazil despite her knowledge that he is married. Thus, while all are hard-working friendly girls, they tend to highlight Tess’s beauty and virtue. murmured.’

12. ‘Clare came close, and bent over her. “Dead, dead, dead!” he murmered.’…Signify.

In Chapter XXXVII, Angel Clare begins to sleepwalk on the third night of his from Tess, having rejected her as his wife because of her earlier disgrace. Like Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene, Angel’s nighttime somnambulism reveals an inner conflict within a character who earlier seems convinced of a moral idea, in control, and inflexible. For Lady Macbeth, her earlier cold protestations that killing a king is justifiable are belied by her unconscious fixation on being bloodstained. For Angel, the situation is reversed. He consciously maintains a conviction that Tess is bad, corrupt, and cannot be forgiven, but his unconscious sleepwalking self reveals the tender love and moral respect for her (“so good, so true!”) that he feels somewhere inside him. This revelation foreshadows his final realization, too late, that his condemnation of Tess was wrongheaded. Angel’s words “dead, dead, dead” hint at Tess’s future death, but they also signal Angel’s conception of Tess. She is alive physically, but for him she is dead morally, as dead as an idea of purity that he once revered.

13. Comment on the status of Victorian women from Hardy’s viewpoint.

Hardy muses a lot about Tess’s status as a woman and the various roles women assume in society. Tess often plays the part of a passive victim, falling asleep and inadvertently killing Prince, falling asleep before her rape, and falling asleep at Stonehenge where she is arrested. She and many of the other female characters also act as symbols of fertility, nature, and purity. They are linked with the lushness of Talbothays and the bleakness of Flintcomb-Ash, as well the fertility ritual of May-Day. Hardy also places a lot of emphasis on the power of men over women, in terms of both society and strength. Alec obviously dominates Tess in many terrible ways, but Angel also wields power over the women at the dairy, driving Retty and Marian to a suicide attempt and alcoholism. Tess finally assumes the role of an active agent in her own life when she writes angrily to Angel, and her final murder of Alec takes it to the extreme, underscoring Hardy’s critique of the oppression of women in Victorian society. Tess is only able to actively change her life and escape her male oppressor by murdering him, which then leads to her own execution, There is no place for a woman in her position to escape.

But while Tess and the other female characters represent many things in the novel, Hardy ultimately celebrates the individual woman over a symbolic whole. Tess is not an “everywoman” or a symbol of fertility, passivity, or oppression, but a unique individual. Angel’s relationship with Tess shows this tension between idealized image and living reality. He falls in love with his version of Tess, which is the Nature goddess and symbol of innocence, but when the real Tess reveals her troubled humanity and becomes truly alive for him, Angel rejects her. For Hardy, however, Tess remains both a symbol of many things and an individual soul, and it is because of this that she is so successful and sympathetic as a character,

14. Who is Tess? What do you know of her as Hardian woman character?

Tess Durbeyfield is the protagonist of the novel, an attractive young woman from the rural village of Marlott. Her family is poor, but she has been educated and seems to stand out from other girls. She has a discerning intelligence and independent spirit, and is very loyal to her family and Angel. Her misfortunes are hardly ever of her own doing, but her innocence, naivety, and unrealistic ideals sometimes increase her suffering. She is also a very tempting figure for the men of the novel, often  her detriment. Throughout the book she is portrayed as a symbol of rural innocence, closeness to Nature, and ancient paganism, but ultimately the author’s sympathy is for Tess as an individual woman, not just as a representative ideal.

15. What is the role of the narrator in Tess of the D’Urbervilles In ” ?

Tess of D’Urbervilles” the story is told with third person omniscient-meaning the narrator is outside of the story but can see and hear the thoughts and emotions of every character in the story. This has some interesting narrative benefits.

The role of this sort of narrator is to show the story from every perspective and gtve a deep understanding of the events of the novel and how it impacts everyone involved. In this novel, it allows everyone to see what the actions of the characters make everyone feel, and how they are all impacted. Third person omniscient is more of a rare narrative form, especially in later years, but it is used effectively here, and in similar older works, to portray a multitude of human experiences.

16. “Under the trees several pheasants lay about, their rich plumage dabbled with blood; some were dead, some feebly twitching a wing, some staring up at the sky, some pulsating quickly, some contorted, some stretched out-all of them writhing in agony except the fortunate ones whose tortures had ended during the night by the inability of nature to bear more.’ – Comment.

Tess stumbles upon the pheasants at the end of Chapter XLI, feeling like a “hunted soul.” The dying birds symbolize her own condition. It is a strange and unexpected image, since throughout all the scenes of farm life we have witnessed in the novel, there has never been any killing. Farming is always associated with production, never with loss or sacrifice. But hunting is different: it kills creatures, and does so unnecessarily. It is gratuitous cruelty. The image of silently suffering victims of violence evokes Tess’s quiet acceptance of her own violation at the hands of Alec, which was also gratuitous. In a literary sense, these flightless birds stand in sharp contrast to the high-flying birds of Romantic poetrywe recall that Angel is compared to Shelley, who wrote an ode to a skylark. Romantic birds leave the Earth below to soar into a higher plane of existence, but the birds here have no such luck, having been shot down as Tess has been.

Tess’s killing of these suffering birds suggests that she is killing off that part of herself that has quietly accepted many years of agony. After this scene Tess begins to show a more active resolution that culminates in her final murder of Alec. Her newfound activity may not save her; indeed, her punishment for the murder, presumably death by hanging, will snap her neck just like she snaps the necks of these pheasants. Nevertheless, it may be preferable to her earlier passivity, providing her with a nobler way to face her fate. d’Urberville

17. Throughout the novel, Tess is torn between the fiendish Alec and the angelic Angel Clare. Compare both men.

At first Angel and Alec, both of whose names begin with A, seem to be very different. The fair-haired heavenly Angel is contrasted with the dark-haired, devilish Alec d’Urberville. However, as the novel progresses, becomes apparent that they are alike. Indeed, they seem to easily switch roles from villain to savior as the action requires. While it might be difficult to equate Angel with Alec, consider that while Tess is physically brutalized by Alec, Angel psychologically abuses her when he realizes that she is not the perfect pure goddess he imagined. Hr condemns her to abject poverty for years by abandoning her. This precipitates her return to Alec for the well-being of her family. Angel and Alec also switch roles when Angel takes on the role of “bad guy” in Brazil, and Alec emerges as a “good guy” preacher bent on saving Tess’s soul. As Angel remains away longer and longer and subjects Tess to a nightmarish existence, the reader begins to see him as mean-spirited and cruel. It begins to appear that perhaps Alec has become kind and understanding and might perhaps have no ulterior motive but to make amends to Tess for his past behavior. However, it soon becomes clear that he only wants to possess her physically: “he’s left off his black coat… …but he’s the same man for all that” (369).

18. Discuss how Tess represents the changing ideas of social class in Victorian England.

As a literary character, Tess represents the social instability of nineteenth-century Britain, or “the ache of modernism,” as Hardy suggests. Whereas in centuries past, Britain was primarily an agricultural society-the people that were born on the land tended to remain on the land-by the end of the nineteenth century, farm workers lived very unstable lives and caused great consternation among the middle classes. For instance, Tess moves numerous times within a few years, and the other milkmaids move every year in search of a better farm to work. In addition, far from their families, farm workers were at the mercy of land owners who treated them well, or poorly, according to his preference. Contrast Tess’s treatment at Talbothays Dairy and at Flintcomb-Ash.

The increase in technology, as witnessed by the thrashing machine which makes the rounds of the Wessex farms, bears witness to this instability, as do the railroad tracks which Hardy mentions crisscrossing the land. In this era also, many agricultural workers left the land permanently for the cities in numbers large enough to propel the Industrial Revolution. In addition, the rise in education contributed to feelings of instability among the populace. Tess has received more education than her parents. As a result, she realizes that the lower-class in England speak a different dialect. She is thus able to make a choice about how she should speak in different company and, while this makes her more attractive to Angel, she is not equipped to be a lady: ‘would not a farmer want a wife, and should a farmer’s wife be a drawing-room wax figure, or a woman who understood farming?” (178). This in-between social position leads Angel’s mother to fear her new daughter-inlaw as an upstart infringing upon the upper levels of society. Thus, Tess represents the changing ideas of social class in Victorian England.

19. Why the imagery of birds significant in the novel?

Images of birds recur throughout the novel, evoking or contradicting their traditional spiritual association with a higher realm of transcendence. Both the Christian dove of peace and the Romantic songbirds of Keats and Shelley, which symbolize sublime heights, lead us to expect that birds will have positive meaning in this novel. Tess occasionally hears birdcalls on her frequent hikes across the countryside; their free expressiveness stands in stark contrast to Tess’s silent and constrained existence as a wronged and disgraced girl. When Tess goes to work for Mrs. d’Urberville, she is surprised to find that the old woman’s pet finches are frequently released to fly free throughout the room. These birds offer images of hope and liberation. Yet there is irony attached to birds as well, making us doubt whether these images of hope and freedom are illusory. Mrs. d’Urberville birds leave little white spots on the upholstery, which presumably some servant-perhaps Tess herself-will have to clean. It may be that freedom for one creature entails hardship for another, just as Alec’s free enjoyment of Tess’s body leads her to a lifetime of suffering. In the end, when Tess encounters the pheasants maimed by hunters and lying in agony, birds no longer seem free, but rather oppressed and submissive. These pheasants are no Romantic songbirds hovering far above the Earth—they are victims of earthly violence, condemned to suffer down below and never fly again.

20. Why are names matter in the story of the novel?

The transformation of the d’Urbervilles into the Durbeyfields is one example of the common phenomenon of renaming, or variant naming, in the novel. Names matter in this novet. Tess knows and accepts that she is a lowly Durbeyfield, but part of her still believes, as her parents also believe, that her aristocratic original name should be restored. John Durbeyfield goes a step further than Tess, and actually renames himself Sir John, as his tombstone epitaph shows. Another character who renames himself is Simon Stokes, Alec’s father, who purchased a family tree and made himself Simon Stoke-d’Urberville. The question raised by all these cases of name changing, whether successful or merely imagined, is the extent to which an altered name brings with it an altered identity. Alec acts notoriously ungentlemanly throughout the novel, but by the end, when he appears at the d’Urberville family vault, his lordly and commanding bearing make him seem almost deserving of the name his father has bought, like a spoiled medieval nobleman. Hardy’s interest in name changes makes reality itself seem changeable according to whims of human perspective. The village of Blakemore, as we are reminded twice in Chapters I and II, is also known as Blackmoor, and indeed Hardy famously renames the southern English countryside as “Wessex.” He imposes a fictional map on a real place, with names altered correspondingly. Reality may not be as solid as the names people confer upon it.

 

21. Why is Phase the First called “The Maiden” in “Tess of the D’urbervilles”?

Phase  the First, or the first part of the book, is called The Maiden because that is precisely what Tess is. She is a virgin. In chapter XI, however, she gets lost in the woods with Alec D’Urberville. She is wearing only a light summer dress because she didn’t think she’d be out that late. Alec gives her his coat and goes goes off to try to get his bearings. When he comes back to her, Tess is asleep. It is then that Alec takes advantage of her. We know that because the next section is titled “Maiden No More.” a moment

22. Explain – ‘As soon as she drew close to it she discovered all in that the figure was a living person; and the shock to her sense of not having been alone was so violent that she was quite overcome, and sank down nigh fainting, not however till she had recognized Alec d’Urberville in the form. 

Having sought shelter for her family in the ancient clan’s church has gone out walking at night and has come upon her family vault and Alec d’Urberville. Hardy’s irony is deep here: originally, the knowledge that Tess belongs to the d’Urberville line brings her into tragic conflict with Alec, and here those ancestors and Alec are united before her dazed eyes. The two main factors in her sad fate are brought together for her viewing. Moreover, it is ironic that Alec is at first mistaken for one of the sculpted ancestors, as if the distinction between the truly noble d’Urbervilles and the “sham” ones—to use Alec’s own word-is not as important as it first seemed. They are all part of the same display. Whether true or fake, the d’Urbervilles have brought Tess only grief. When Alec stomps on the floor of the crypt and a “hollow echo from below” is heard, we feel that those ancestors may indeed be nothing more than an empty void, a meaningless nothingness. Alec believes he is different from them, since he has power over her while they do not, but in fact he is just like them, using his power like a grand lord although he is quite hollow. He promises empty advantages to her, like the wealth she eventually receives from him, that can never be more important than love. This scene in the corpse-ridden vault shows how dead all thoughts of personal grandeur are next to the life of true feeling, like that of Tess’s feelings for Angel.

 

23. Discuss the character of Tess. To what extent is she a helpless victim? When is she strong and when is she weak?

Tess is a young woman who tends to find herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. She is a victim, but she is also, at times, irresponsible. She falls asleep while taking the beehives to market, which ends up killing the family horse, Prince. She decides to visit the d’Urbervilles in Trantridge, giving rise to all her future woes, partly out of the guilt and responsibility she feels toward her family. She wants to make good, but in trying to help her family she loses sight of her own safety and her own wants and wishes. She becomes Alec’s victim in the forest. She probably should have known not to put herself in such a situation, but she has few other options. Here, it seems as though she is destined to rely on others, even when they are unreliable.

But Tess is also a strong woman throughout the novel. She stands up for herself and refuses to crumble under pressure. She chastises herself for her weakness after her sexual escapade with Alec. If we agree with her claim that this indiscretion is a moment of weakness, we probably also feel that such weakness is not unlike that of most human beings. She is hard on herself for letting herself become a victim. At the burial of her child, Sorrow, she weeps but collects herself and moves on as a stronger woman. Overall, her determined attempts to escape her past primarily reflect her strength.

24. How far the customary morality is a prevailing theme in this novel of Hardy?

Customary morality is represented in the novel first by the population of Marlott. Tess is seduced by Alec in the wood and gives birth to a child before marriage. The attitude of Marlott person towards Tess is not humane, nor sympathetic. They consider that she has infringed the custom. Tess becomes the center of gossip in Marlott. She feels very uncomfortable and guilty all day long. Therefore, she remains indoors during the day. Only at the twilights does she go out. Those people absolutely ignore how a maternal love for her child. Those people who insist upon conventional moral standard are narrow-minded. Customary morality is also reflected in Angle brothers, Felix and Cuthbert. They are merely “contented dogmatists” treading the trodden way requiring neither purity of soul nor originality of thought. The following paragraph presents a vivid description of them: After breakfast he walk with his two brothers, non-evangelized, well-educated, hall-marked young men ,correct to their remotest fiber; such unimpeachable models as are turned out yearly by the lathe of a systematic tuition. They were both somewhat short-sighted, and when it was a custom to wear single eyeglass and string they wore a single eyeglass and string; when…they wore …; when he was decried in favor of Velasquez, they sedulously followed suit without any personal objection. (Hardy, 2006, p.219) Felix and Cuthbert are both clergymen. They are completely involved in their own little world. Although they have the education that Angle lacks, they are completely deficient in humanity. Capitalist hierarchy deepens on their heart. They disapprove of Tess because of her “low” social station, which they think lowers them in the eyes of the world. Customary morality is not, according to Hardy, the right and reasonable ethical response of the collective mass to the pitiable cries of the „units of society in distress. Hardy refused to regard a casual indulgence in sex before marriage as immoral or sinful. It was, to him, a venial lapse, just amoral. Tess, in spite of her which is regarded as normal within the monogamous marital limits, should seem so outrageous when it is premarital. Social laws, unlike the indifferent laws of Nature, should be informed with the spirit of sympathy, and they must not be allowed to lose sight of the humart need to be happy. They must civilize, but must not stifle the animal instinct. The case of Tess, moreover, is different. Her first lapse is the betrayal by Alec of her innocence, almost ignorance of sex But her final fall could have been averted if she had not beers harassed beyond endurance, if she had found all around her not scorn but compassion, and if she had been allowed an opportunity to improve. (Dave, 1985, p.109)

25. Discuss the role of landscape in the novel. How do the descriptions of place match the development of the story? Does the passing of the seasons play any symbolic role?

The landscape always seems to inform us about the emotion and character of the event. When the novel opens at the village dance, the sun is out and the day is beautiful. This celebration is where Tess and Angel meet, even if only briefly. The weather turns as Tess returns home, where the scene is less elegant. 

The seasons bring changes to the story as well. At Talbothays Dairy, the summer is full of budding love between Tess and Angel. When they profess their love for each other, it begins to rain, but neither one cares: the weather cannot affect them. When they separate, Angel goes to Brazil and finds the farming extremely difficult, while Tess goes to work at the farm at Flintcomb-Ash, where the work in the rugged, depressing stubble fields is harsh and grueling.

26. Do the accidents and coincidences play a major role in the novel?

Coincidences cover mysterious color of fate. The first coincidence in the novel is that Tess s father, John Durbeyfield happens to know from a local person that he is the last descendent of the d Urbervilles, an ancient noble family with a long and distinguished past. He is proudly in his noble lineage and takes so much wine that on no condition to make a long trip to market. Tess and his brother have to go in his place. Thus the tragedy happens: both of the two children fall to sleep on the way. The mail coach has crashed into their unlighted wagon, and their only horse was killed. That directly caused Tess to accept her parent s recommendation looking for so-called relatives. Old horse was killed appears to be a coincidence, but imply a corollary. Tess had to act against her willing, which eventually led to the tragedy of life. Tess took part in the ball of paddock, falling out with the Queen of spade” on the back way. She had to go along with Alec to return to the paddock. Unfortunately Tess was insulted by Alec the way. This reflects Hardy does not predict the people living in the poor a bright future, which can only be attributed their misfortune to the result of coincidence. The second coincidence is that Tess works love in dairy farm. She intended to have a quiet life but came across the Angel and fell him. Tess always condemned by the conscience. She wrote a letter to tell Angel. She is infidelity, but the fate plays a cruel joke that the letter stuffed below a blanket. Wedding night with Angel, Tess told truth to Angel. He could not forgive Tess, and then went to Brazil. Tess became an abandoned woman. Thirdly, distress of living caused Tess to seek the assistance of Angel s father. On the way, she came across Alec, and the heart hurt again. This paved the way that she was caught again by Alec tentacle. A series of accidents and coincidences combine to hinder Tess s happiness.

27. Why the omens and signs take part in sketching the fate of the characters of the novel?

Hardy s fatalism is presented not only through accidents and coincidences but also revealed by means of many omens and signs. In this novel, Hardy describes many unlucky things with the color of fatalism. It is an inauspicious omen that Angel did not select her when the grasses dance. It isn t a good omen that Tess s chin is stabbed by the rose wom on the chest. According to the custom, marriage must be announced three times ahead. From the day they got married only two weeks, so that marriage can postpone for a week, which is not auspicious. On Tess s wedding day, the cocks crows in the afternoon are regarded as bad omens, and it does indicate that something terrible going to happen. Retty Priddle tries to kill herself. Dairy man finds Betty in a river and Marian drunk in a field, because of their desperate love towards Angel. Therefore Tess feels she has taken all the love, and would tell Angel the truth. But what s more terrible is the misfortune that falls upon Tess that night: Angel bears no love for her after her confession. Except Tess, to other people of Wessex, more or less has the fatalistic thought. Tess s mother Joan, who is uneducated “with her fast perishing lumber of superstitions, folk-lore, dialect and orally transmitted ballads” (Hardy, 2004, p.61) living by her fortune-telling book. She believes in fortune-telling book, but has a “curious fetishistic fear of” it, and thus never allows it to stay in the house all the night; once it is used, it will be brought back to the thatch. She tests Tess s fate in this book and believes it is a good idea to send Tess to claim kin to a rich relation. Tess s family always use a fatalistic tone to speak each other: “This is fate”. Each omen or sign has its significance in the plot of the story. It is either a forecast of what will happen on our heroine or an indication of the misfortune and miserable life our heroine or other main characters will lead. The Wessex people have a deep belief in superstition and fate. Hence, omens and signs are employed to present their belief. Therefore, whatever Tess does, the final result is doomed. The author s main intention is not to publicize the fatalism, but angrily rebuke the dying power of social cruelty, thereby enlighten people to resist.

28. Who is responsible for the distress of Tess? who is responsible for the distress of Tess?

It’s worth remembering that Thomas Hardy was trying to show the degeneration of society in the writing of this novel. That makes your question difficult to answer, as Tess’s problem is generational…. her imagined family talents and assets have dwindled down through the centuries at the hands of various dissolute and unlucky ancestors, or so it would seem. Then, her current family, and the people she meets contribute further to her downfall, so it’s difficult to lay the blame on one person.

29. Hardy rarely questions public morality openly in Tess of the d’Urbervilles Nevertheless, the novel has been taken as a powerful critique of the social principles that were dominant in Tess’s time. How does Hardy achieve this effect? Why might we infer a level of social criticism beneath Tess’s story? 

Tess of the d’Urbervilles implicitly criticizes Hardy’s society owes much to Hardy’s use of a classical tragic plot ending in an undeserved punishment. Tess’s story contains many features of Greek tragedy, as Hardy’s reference at the end of the novel .

Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound reminds us. The classical tragic hero, nording to ans, Is noble and dignified, and is punished on a far greater scale than his small sins warra, with death. Tess too is highborn and honorable, and her momentary submission 10 Mar brings her a for greater suffering than she deserves, ng even Alec comes to realize, in addition, as is usual with the demise of tragic heroes, lesa’s execution feels more skruticom than a mere death-It feels like a great and noblo sacrifice to come higher wwer’s van, But in her case, the higher power is not the gods, but Victorian soal forces, it is thing Victorian cult of aristocratic lineage that drives Tosa to cook the patronage of 18, d’Unverville and meet her seducer Alec. It is the unfair class system that allows a nich nobleman 10 impregnate and abandon a lower-class girl without consequences. It is also the vicinan myth of the pure virginal bride that unfairly keeps Angel from accepting Tea as his wife, despite his own besmirched sexual history. These social injustices bring underved suffering to Tess, as the ancient gods brought undeserved suffering to the tragic hero, It is this the tragic structure of Tess of the d’Urberviles that causes us feel indignation at the unfairness of Victorian society, without the need for any outright denunciations by the author.

30. “Justice” was done, and the President of the Immortals (in heschylean phrase) had ended his sport with Tess. And the d’Urberville knights and dames slept on in their tombs unknowing. The two speechless gazers bent themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer, and remained there a long time, absolutely motionless: the flag continued to wave silently. As soon as they had strength they arose, joined hands again, and went on. – Comment.

This passage is the last paragraph of Chapter LIX at the close of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Its tired and unimpassioned tone suggests the narrator’s weariness with the ways of the world, as if quite familiar with the fact that life always unfolds in this way, Nothing great is achieved by this finale: the two figures of Liza-Lu and Angel “went on” at the end, jux as life itself will go on. Ignorance rules, rather than understanding: the d’Urberville ancestors who cause the tragedy are not even moved from their slumber, blithely unaffected by the agony and death of one of their own line. Tess’s tale has not been a climactic unfolding, but a rather humdrum affair that perhaps happens all the time,

In this sense, there is great irony in Hardy’s reference to the Greek tragedian Aeschylus, since we feel tragedy should be more impassioned, like the Prometheus Bound referred to here. Prometheus dared to steal fire from the gods for the benefit of men, thus improving human life, but he was punished by eternal agony sent by the president of the gods, Aeschylus’s view of that divine justice was ironic-just as Hardy’s justice is placed in ironic quotation marks-since it seemed deeply unjust to punish Prometheus so severely. Our judgment of Prometheus’s crime matters immensely. Yet Tess’s suffering, by contrast, seems simply a game or “sport,” as if nothing important is at stake. It is hard to know whether Tess has brought any benefits to anyone, though Angel’s life has been changed and Liza-Lu may grow up to be like her sister. In any case, Hardy hints that Tess’s life may have a mythical and tragic importance like that of Prometheus, but it is up to us to judge how ironic this justice is, or what her life’s importance might be.

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