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Grace Notes And Tess of the D´Urbervilles - Contrasting Similarity - Society’s Effect on Single Mothers

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Introduction

Grace Notes And Tess of the D�Urbervilles Contrasting Similarity Society's Effect on Single Mothers The two novels proceed as follows, Tess of the D�Urbervilles was subtitled A Pure Woman and published in 1891. It is one of Hardy�s saddest tales of rural troubles. Tess is the daughter of the poor John Durbeyfield who learns from the village parson that his family is related to ancient nobility, being the last in the line of D�Urberville. In trying to make use of this connection, Joan - John's wife - suggests that Tess pursue the son of the local family of D�Urberville. As it turns out the D�Urbervilles have merely taken the name for convenience but, nonetheless, Tess becomes involved with her son Alec who although giving her employment, takes advantage of her and in unpleasant circumstances seduces her. They have a child together who dies early and cannot be baptised because he is illegitimate. The second stage of the novel concerns the family of the Reverend Mr Clare and his son Angel. Angel and Tess marry but when she admits the incident with Alec their relationship is torn apart leading to Angel's departure for South America and Alec's second attempt to ensnare Tess. This leads to murder, escape and superficial impurity on the part of Tess who is finally brought to "Justice". This is an exceptionally bleak novel that offers little relapse from the persistent cruelty of fate (or as the novel would have it the President of the Immortals) against Tess. At the time the novel was considered pessimistic and immoral. Henry James thought it thoroughly poorly conceived, which reminds us of a certain conversation between a pot and a black kettle. ...read more.

Middle

But it's not a simple gift; there's a lot of pain and awfulness around it, and I wanted to get this across. Like MacLaverty, Catherine is a lapsed Catholic who finds in her artistic vocation a way of fulfilling a spiritual need. The grace notes of the title are the notes between the notes, decoration becoming substance, but MacLaverty also plays on the religious connotations of grace- both unearned assistance from God to man and thanksgiving. In seeking as Stephen Dedalus had done before her to transmute, in Joyce's words, "the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of ever living life," Catherine has the example of such composers as Vivaldi ("a priest who never bothered to say mass") and Jan�cek (who wrote a mass while denying that he was a believer). An even more powerful influence is the Russian composer Anatoli Melnichuck. As a student, she had wondered at the spiritual quality of this music by someone who lived in the Ukraine, "a country which had long ago dispensed with religion and the spirit." When she visits Melnichuck in Kiev, however, she discovers a living faith that was too powerful to be stamped out by government decree. Music, he tells her, is "the grace of God," "a way of praying." Though Catherine does not recover her faith in the course of the novel, she channels her religious impulses into her composition. She, too, is working on a mass, and she calls her symphonic piece "Vernicle" after the medals that pilgrims wore to show where they had been. The end of art and the end of religion are really the same, she decides- communication, and communion, between people. ...read more.

Conclusion

Catherine and her mother, however, after the initial coldness between them, seem to bury their hatchet to as much of an extent as can be expected, taking into account their differing opinions. She realized that in today's society, it matters very little if a baby is born out of wedlock, being a far more accepted common occurrence rather than an ostracised sinful deed. MacLaverty does this to show that single mother's these days can survive, as long as they have support from their families. "Grace Notes" also ends happily in the fact that Catherine is finally content with herself, "And Catherine knew that it didn't matter whether her friend liked it or not. As long as she liked her ". On the contrary, Tess, as well as ruining her short-term life as he rapes her, Alec is also the reason for her ultimate demise, as she is hanged for his murder. In conclusion, coming from different eras, one might not expect Hardy and MacLaverty's main moral messages to be the same. Most are however, and the two writers are in agreement as they say that both mother could have and would have survived with a baby in their worlds, had it not been for the attitudes of the people close to them. Indeed, Catherine does survive, with Anna becoming "a fine thread being drawn through a garment, mending tears." as it is so aptly put by Doherty in "Dear Nobody", another book of very similar style to Tess and Grace Notes. Hardy also makes it clear that Tess would have had a wonderful new life with Angel, had his timing been different. So, although both pointing out the sometimes terrible consequences of having a baby without a husband, neither writer condemns it. Rather they condemn society for exacerbating the inevitable struggle of being a single mother. ?? ?? ?? ?? Freddie Naish 26th September 2002 1 ...read more.

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