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Compare and contrast the ways in which Hardy and Fowles present Victorian morals and values.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the ways in which Hardy and Fowles present Victorian morals and values. One of the most prominent Victorian values present in both novels is the issue of purity in a woman. Both novels contain a 'fallen' women as a protagonist, however, Charles in 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' seems to be drawn to this flaw where Angel in 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' finds Tess' impurity unforgiveable for one part of the text. "You were one person, and now you are another" portrays how Angel treats Tess "as though associated with a crime" after her finds out she is "a young woman whose history will bear investigation". Hardy is highlighting the injustice of Victorian double standards on purity. ...read more.

Middle

This part of the plot is echoed in Chapter 47 of 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' where Charles "forced a virgin". However, the distinct contrast between these two plots is that Charles thought Sarah wasn't chaste, but Alec knew that Tess was. These differences could be to do with the perspective of the time of writing, where Hardy knew some Victorian men were that cruel, but Fowles makes the double standards slightly less rigid in his novel, probably due to the influence of modern society. The Clare family in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" are portrayed as kind and charitable due to their religion. Hardy depicts Tess as "a fairly choice sort of lost person for their love". This contrasts with Alec's religious endeavour in the same chapter: "his face blackening with something that was not Christianity". ...read more.

Conclusion

This is an effective way of making the readers consider their own morals through their attachment to the character of Tess and then leaving on such a flat note after her tragic death. Hardy wants the reader to have faith in the fallen woman and to be more caring towards those who do not meet the expectations of Victorian standards. Fowles gives the reader a choice of three endings, illustrating how Charles and Sarah's story ends however you decide to change it, portraying the human decisions made in life and how they can effects other people so greatly. If Charles had not been influenced by society then he wouldn't have got engaged to Ernestina, and she wouldn't then have become tainted because of his betrayal. Fowles, unlike Hardy, is not writing for a change in society's morals, he is writing to comment on Victorian morals. ...read more.

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