Colour Symbolism in Tess

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  • Symbolism in Tess of the D'Urbervilles
    • Hardy builds up a constant opposition of red and white as the narrative progresses
      • Tess where a "white frock" at the May Day dance but unlike the other girls also wears a "red ribbon in her hair"
      • A03: Could symbolise Tess' dual nature or to reinforce or sense of Tess' destiny or fate
      • Following Prince's death Tess constantly encounters the colour red
        • "Rich crimson" of Alec's house
        • [Alec] "The blood-red ray in the spectrum of her young life"
        • "scarlet blot" of blood on the white ceiling after the murder
    • "red-tyrant machine" = becomes an image of hell, suggesting evil and danger
    • Tess wears a "white frock" when we first see her
      • "White muslin dress" just before she is seduced suggests and reinforces her purity and innocence


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