'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' - regional writers 2 - Themes

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 06-06-18 13:54
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  • 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' - regional writers 2 - Themes
    • Fate
      • Hardy presents it as a cruel fate that 'the man to love rarely coincides with the hour for loving'
      • Tess sees the irony that Angel saw her 'when I - was sixteen; living with my little sisters and brothers' and would not dance with her
      • Hardy describes rural people as being fatalistic and accepting of what happens - the phrase 'was to be' is repeated
      • The final paragraph of the novel suggests that mankind is the 'sport' of the immortals and is without freewill
    • The seasons
      • A large number of chapters begin with reference to a specific month, so that we can trace Tess's story chronologically
      • Seasonal references accord with Tess's happiness:
        • Phases 1 and 3 open in May, a time of new life and hope, signifying Tess's optimism
      • Hardy employs parallelism:
        • Chapter 12, when Tess leaves Alec, and Chapter 41, when Angel has deserted  Tess
          • Both open in October
      • In the dairy,the progress of the summer mirrors the burgeoning love between Tess and Angel - they separate in the winter
    • Sexual hypocrisy
      • Angel declares he 'hated impurity, as I do now' when revealing that he spent two days in 'dissipation', highlighting his hypocrisy over sexual matters
      • The principle concern of Angel's evangelical Christian parents is whether Tess is 'pure and virtuous'
      • Although Tess suffers social degradation after her liason with Alec, he, as the instigator of this, is able to recover his social position, even in evangelical Christian circles
      • Tess is despised by  'people of scrupulous character' for having had a child out of wedlock and her family is evicted partly in consequence
    • Modernity versus Nature
      • The mail-cart, a symbol of the modern world, symbolically pierces the 'slow' horse Prince
      • The reaping machine kills wildlife and requires just one man to run it, in place of many workers with scythes
      • The train running near Talbothays Dairy allows urban citizens who, in a post-industrial society, may have 'never seen a cow' to access fresh milk easily
      • Hardy presents a vanishing way of life, with old customs and routine being superseded by new technologies
    • Ignorance and superstition
      • Mrs Durbeyfield owns a book called the 'Complete Fortune Teller' which, ironically, she will not keep in the house in case it brings bad luck
      • Mrs Durbeyfield tries to read Tess's future in the book, and believes she will marry a 'noble gentleman', not foreseeing Alec will precede Angel
      • Tess percieves Angel's original failure to dance with her as an 'ill-omen'
      • As the newly married Tess and Angel leave the dairy, a **** crows unexpectedly. Other characters see this as bringing bad luck.


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