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Analyse Hardy's intentions in the way he presents the themes of innocence and rural life in 'Phase One - The Maiden' of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles".

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Introduction

Wednesday 11th March 2003 Analyse Hardy's intentions in the way he presents the themes of innocence and rural life in 'Phase One - The Maiden' of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles". In the first two chapters of the novel, "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", Thomas Hardy introduces several of the themes that will be important throughout the course of the story including the themes of innocence and rural life, which are essential to the plot. Indeed, these two themes have a recurring pattern of appearing throughout Thomas Hardy's literary work, both the fictitious novels and his poetry. His intentions in the way he which he presents these themes are interwoven with his views as well as society's on social class; the comparison of both the behaviour of different classes and the way in which they were treated during his lifetime, predominantly during the Victorian era. His views upon the issue of social class stemmed from his own personal experiences; having risen from a member of the working class to a much higher class as the result of his novels, he found that he no longer felt any connection with others, from either of the classes; he relates this in the titular character of the novel, Tess Durbeyfield. She moves between two different worlds, of the upper and lower classes. Having made the transgression to a higher class, Hardy no longer suffered from the problems that ailed the working class, such as lack of money or even food ...read more.

Middle

However, despite this innocence and essential purity Tess is not merely a meek, accepting young girl; she defends her father when she confronts the other girls in the procession who disparage him; 'I won't walk another inch with you, if you say any jokes about him'. Her innocence is further confirmed with the appearance of a young man named Angel Clare, who joins in with the dancing in the field. She finds herself strangely hurt that he did not dance with her, though she cannot fully understand why, and finds herself dwelling on him, comparing him to her other dance partners; 'they did not speak so nicely as the strange young man had done'. Though she does not fully realise it, she is attracted to Angel, her inexperience preventing her from recognising what she feels. Hardy's own religious experiences can thus be seen in the Angel, who resists the conservative religious beliefs of his parents to take a more religious and secular view of philosophy. Again, like Angel Clare, Thomas Hardy found himself torn between different social spheres with which he could not fully align himself; the character represents many of Hardy's views and his own circumstances. Hardy was largely influenced by the Oxford movement, a spiritual movement involving extremely devout thinking and actions. Hardy's family members were primarily orthodox Christians and Hardy himself considered entering the clergy, as did many of his relatives. ...read more.

Conclusion

Car provides a stark contrast to Tess: she is a vulgar, brassy woman who is combative and lewd, in comparison to the more demure Tess, who had the misfortune to insult her, instigating a speech that 'brought down a torrent of vituperation from other quarters upon fair Tess's unlucky head'. If the previous chapters emphasized that Tess is not a member of the upper orders, this chapter disputes the idea that she is one of the lower class. Though having contested several times that Hardy kept his personal values and opinions out of his fiction, it is difficult when faced with the evidence to accept that this was true. When studying the circumstances that take place through 'Phase One - The Maiden', several events or passages are particularly relevant to Hardy himself; his social problems as well as his opinions. Tess ascends the social ladder in 'Phase One', and readers are shown the difficulty that comes with this; one of Hardy's main experiences. His intentions in the way he presented the themes of innocence and rural life were to educate his readers primarily about the lower class; about the lives they lead and their naivety with regards to the harsher reality. Using a combination of fate, symbolism, imagery and language, he depicts the themes of innocence and rural life in a way that reflects his own values, upbringing and experience of life during the Victorian age. ...read more.

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