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Explore the ways in which Thomas Hardy uses setting to help portray Tess feelings.

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Introduction

'Explore the ways in which Thomas Hardy uses setting to help portray Tess' feelings.' "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" is a tragedy novel by Thomas Hardy set in the 19th Century in the south of England. It focuses on Tess Durbeyfield, living in the rural county of Dorchester, an innocent young girl in the lower class of a very religious society. Tess is the eldest child of her family, which includes her mother, father and her four younger siblings. The novel narrates the protagonist's, Tess, life and Hardy uses many techniques to portray her feelings in certain events in her life for example, he uses metaphors, similes, personification and pathetic fallacy. The book tries to convey how hard Tess' life is and how society was at that time to show the readers Hardy's own feelings and opinions at that time of the society. The main theme of this novel is fate, however other themes are also incorporated for example, family, hate and love. Chapter 14 begins with Tess binding in the field during harvest time in August. This is after she leaves the d'Uberville house following being raped by Alec and giving birth to his child. Hardy displays Tess' current state in life in the first paragraph by giving a rich description of the season and the type of day it is; 'It was a hazy sunrise in August. The denser nocturnal vapours, attacked by the warm beams, were dividing and shrinking into isolated fleeces within hollows and coverts, where they waited till they should be dried away to nothing.' ...read more.

Middle

This is effective as the readers can instantly recognise that this is a new beginning for Tess but that perhaps she can never leave her past fully behind. Also, Hardy tries to show the more optimistic future for Tess in Talbothays by using many techniques in his language for the audience to detect a more positive atmosphere in Tess' future. For example, he describes the valley in which Talbothays lies to be 'luxuriantly beautiful'. These adjectives make the valley sound appealing and thus this may describe the future for Tess to be appealing. Furthermore, the adjectives 'clear, bracing, ethereal" portrays the valley to be heavenly and peaceful; a fate that Tess has probably been longing for. This concept is extended as Hardy also uses the adjectives to describe the river to be 'slow, soft' and 'often turbid' which also showed the valley to be tranquil and a place to be desired which is underlined by the use of alliteration. Moreover, Hardy uses the phrase; 'The Froom waters were clear as the pure River of Life shown to the Evangelist'. This signifies how positive Tess is feeling as before, in her past, she had been considered to sin against her religion thus religion was seen as being unfair to her. Here, however, the valley is conceived to be a quite a holy and pure place which shows that religion is on her side; the adjectives, 'clear' and 'pure' suggest this, and the concept of religion is shown by the noun 'Evangelist'. This has an encouraging effect on Tess as further on in the Chapter, she begins to chant; "O ye Sun and Moon . . . O ye Stars . . ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Hardy may feel that what happens to Tess is unfair, he shows his belief in fate. For example, Hardy makes it that Tess has no control over certain events in her life but when she tries to grasp hold of her own life and kills Alec, she is hanged. This may ultimately infer that Hardy believed in fate as this shows that Tess has no control over her life and that when she does, things do not go as she plans. I feel that the readers in the past may have seen this novel to be quite controversial in the messages put across as Hardy may have been seen to be blaming religion for Tess' state. Furthermore, Hardy may have also tried to emphasise how society is unfair to Tess as she is almost shunned to such an extent for being an unmarried mother. This is not her fault as Alec rapes her but as she is a lower class woman and Alec is of a higher class, he felt that he could do what he wanted with her. This signifies the injustice on Tess' part as the class system in the past meant that she is blamed for her own state and shows that Hardy felt this is wrong. Readers in the past may have felt that what happened to Tess was quite normal and not as surprising. However, I think that people nowadays can empathise more with Tess as the events which occur don't happen as much nowadays and because society has changed dramatically. Overall, I feel that Hardy wrote this novel to expose the wrong that happened in society in his views. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kirandeep Dhillon 10L ...read more.

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