'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' - regional writers 3 - Key Extracts

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  • Created on: 06-06-18 14:47
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  • 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' - regional writers 3 - Key Extracts
    • Chapter 1  - opening of the novel
      • Jack Durbeyfield is walking home from market when he encounters Parson Tringham.
        • Why is it important?
          • Parson Tringham's decision to reveal Durbeyfield's noble ancestry to him initiates the chain of events that results in Tess's ruin by Alec
        • What themes does it explore?
          • The 'empty egg-basket' introduces ideas of rural poverty and suggests that this will be a realistic novel that does not idealise agricultural life.
          • The theme of alcoholism is also introduced.
        • How does it work within the narrative?
          • The conversation about the haggler being 'Sir John' elicits interest and the seasonal reference introduces a key theme
        • What language techniques does it employ?
          • Hardy's description of Durbeyfield's at being 'ruffled' and 'worn', and his legs being 'rickety' is suggestive of a man in decline.
    • Chapter 20 - Angel's love for Tess grows
      • Angel and Tess work side by side a the diary.
        • Why is it important?
          • Angel and Tess work together and gradually fall in love, a turning point in the plot.
        • What themes does it explore?
          • The theme of the seasons is prominent as the characters' love develops over the summer.
          • Angel tends to idolise Tess rather than seeing her for who she is.
        • How does it work within the narrative?
          • The pace of this chapter is slow, reflecting the fact that Tess and Angel are 'on the edge of a passion'
          • The allusion to 'Adam and Eve' furthers the motif of the Eden story.
        • What language techniques does it employ?
          • Hardy's allusions to the classical deities of Artemis and Demeter shows how unrealistic Angel's view of Tess is, as he associates  her with goddesses of virginity and the harvest (chasteness and fertility)
    • Chapter 41 - The vignette of the pheasants
      • Tess has spent the night in a wood. On awakening, she finds herself surrounded by dead and wounded pheasants.
        • Why is it important?
          • This episode acts as a microcosm of Tess's world
            • Like the pheasants she is hunted. She is part of the natural world but the environment is indifferent to her pain and Christianity does not comfort her.
        • What themes does  it explore?
          • The final sentence of the chapter continues the theme of Tess having fallen foul of social law but not natural law.
        • How does it work within the narrative?
          • The phrase given the upper class hunters who shot the pheasants, 'strangely accoutred', is also applied to Alec, connecting the plight of the pheasants with Tess's own exploitation.
        • What language techniques does it employ?
          • Hardy's description of the  paradox of Tess killing the birds 'tenderly' foreshadows the murder of Alec and her own death by hanging.
    • Chapter 52 - Tess encounters the ancient tomb of the D'Urbervilles after her homeless family seeks shelter in the church
      • Tess is wandering in the church at Kingsbere where they are camping for the night.
        • Why is it important?
          • Tess has been driven to despair.
          • Her mother and vulnerable younger siblings rely on her to provide for the, and at this point they do not have a roof over their heads.
        • What themes does it explore?
          • Alec's exploitation of her situation in persuading her to become his mistress indicates Hardy's concerns with gender power and social status.
          • The presence of the tomb ironically emphasises the family's desperate situation in the present.
        • How does it work within the narrative?
          • The night-time setting of the interior of a church, by tombs, gives this extract an eerie atmosphere. Alec's position, lying as if he is an effigy on an altar-tomb, terrifies Tess and helps subdue her.
        • What language techniques does it employ?
          • Hardy's description of the D'Urberville tombs being 'defaced and broken' accentuates the uselessness of aristocratic heritage to Tess in her present situation.
            • The simple language of Tess's final words shows her weariness with life.
    • Chapter 55 - Angel and Tess meet again.
      • Angel has taken the train to Sandbourne to find Tess.
        • Why is it important?
          • Angel has realised the true love he has for his wife but it is, in the words of Tess and of Hardy's working title for the novel, 'too late!'
        • What themes does it explore?
          • The theme of Tess's great beauty emerges again - but so does the theme of corrupted innocence:
            • Tess's 'rich' clothing indicates that she is Alec's mistress
        • How does it work within the narrative?
          • Many chapters describe Tess's physical appearance. Here, in an ironic echo of her wedding night, when she wore diamonds, Hardy deploy visual imagery to convey how greatly his heroine has changed.
        • What language techniques does it employ?
          • Angel's possessive pronouns 'mine' and 'my', and his endearment, are full of tragic irony now that he really has lost Tess.
          • The poignant repetition of the phrase 'too late' accentuates the sadness Tess feels.

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