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Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Chapter 35

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Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Chapter 35 1. Explain Angel's reaction to the confession. 2. Outline the methods used by Hardy to describe the change in the relationship between Tess and Angel. 3. How does Angel's behaviour reflect contemporary attitudes and conflict with the reader's original impression of him? 1. When Tess first tells Angel of her confession, he does not seem to comprehend what she has just said. He gets up and stirs the fire; "Clare performed the irrelevant act of stirring the fire; the intelligence had not even yet got to the bottom of him." The confession seems so utterly unbelievable to him that he cannot take it in and seems to be in shock, although he just told Tess a revelation of the same sort about himself. This is the first clue that Angel had an idealised version in his head of Tess. When he first speaks he says "O you cannot be out of your mind! You ought to be! Yet you are not..." This shows that he would have, or would rather have, believed that she was mad other than what she had just told him was true. This also shows his disbelief of how she could have done that. ...read more.


Before he had an idealised image of Tess, and now he has adopted an image of Tess that she is evil. 2. In chapter XXV Hardy uses different techniques to describe the change in relationship between Tess and Angel. One of the first things he uses is personification of the surroundings in the room, to help explain how the surroundings reflect the change in Angel's attitude towards Tess; "But the complexion even of external things seemed to suffer transmutation as her announcement progressed." This is talking about how the atmosphere in the room has changed, but also how this reflects the change that Angel has gone through. What before was a happy room is now portrayed has being changed for the worse. In the chapter previous the fire was described as having a 'red-coaled glow'. However now it is described as; "The fire in the grate looked impish - demonically funny, as if it did not care about her strait. The fender grinned idly, as if it too did not care." Here the fire is described as being somehow evil, like an imp or a demon. ...read more.


This goes back to how he had an idealised image of what Tess was. In those days, it was much more socially unacceptable for a woman to have sex out of wedlock than it was for a man - a woman was seen as being the property of the man. Tess also shows this opinion, as she says to Angel; "I don't belong to you any more, then". This shows the point that men were seen as the superior and therefore in charge of the women. Another change in Angel's behaviour is his view on class. Before, he wanted to marry Tess, even though she was of a lower social class than he was. He even tried to convince his father that a farming woman would be of better aid to him in the running of a farm. However, he is now judging Tess because of her class, as he says; "You almost make me say you are an unapprehending peasant woman". Here Angel is being demeaning towards Tess because of her class, which never mattered to him before. This is reflective of contemporary social attitudes at the time, but this shows how changed Angel is because he is now showing beliefs typical of men in that era, whereas before he prided himself on being more open-minded. ...read more.

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