• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Hardy highlight the conflict between social convention and natural humanity in his novel, Tess of the dUrbervilles?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lucy Anderson How does Hardy highlight the conflict between social convention and natural humanity in his novel, Tess of the d?Urbervilles? Tess of the d?Urbervilles is a classic nineteenth century novel that explores the conflict between social convention and natural humanity. Social conventions are the unwritten rules, regulations and expectations of society; whereas natural humanity is about taking each individual situation separately and acting humanely with compassion and sympathy. Social convention may encourage one to look disapprovingly on a guest who is inappropriately dressed at a wedding, whereas natural humanity would look at the individual?s circumstances, perhaps recognise that her or she is unable to afford expensive clothes and would just be glad that the guest came. In this essay I will be exploring the conflict between social convention and natural humanity in Hardy?s novel Tess of the D?Urbervilles, focusing specifically on Hardy?s protest against the industrialisation of England at the time. Hardy?s contemporaries found the novel and its messages shocking and it was banned at first. Hardy then published an ?apology? as a preface to the novel which was ?sent out in all sincerity of purpose? so as not to offend the reader, but to tell them of the need for the book and of the importance of the issues he addresses. This is why Hardy could not be more explicit when writing Tess of the d?Urbervilles, particularly the sexual scene with Alec in the forest. ...read more.

Middle

Hardy is suggesting that Tess? lesser state is still one of immense beauty and that beauty can be found in the simplest people and environment. The day break elevates her era further as there are not many people who are still beautiful when the revel light hits them. Although it is not directly stated in this extract, it is clear from the description that at this point in the novel Tess is at her happiest. Her feelings for her husband-to-be, Angel Clare, are surfacing and she is falling in love while surrounded by other dairy workers who thrive in the natural setting. Her marriage to Angel looks like it is to be perfect and eternal, Tess? previous encounter with Alec, however, comes back to haunt her. The landscape here is very fragile and could be destroyed very easily, like Tess? happiness and the environment of England. In contrast, the second extract I have chosen describes life at Flintcomb Ash, an industrialised farm where nature has no foothold to be able to assert itself. The very name of the farm, connoting hard, abrasive flint and the dirty, burned ash of a furnace, evokes a harsh and unsympathetic environment. Society?s idea of ?progress? is shown here through the malignant environment, battling against and conquering nature. Throughout the whole extract everything is described as being rushed and unsustainable by humans. ...read more.

Conclusion

obviously than anywhere else in the novel as it is what he truly feels about industrialisation and the removal of traditional methods. Significantly, Flintcomb Ash, which represents industrialisation, is where Tess suffers the most in the novel. She is rejected by her true love, Angel, and continually pursued by Alec, for whom she has no feelings other than dread. Hardy?s intentions when writing this novel were to protest about the impact of social conventions at the expense of natural humanity. Hardy made the point that man-made, industrialised forces were imposing on God?s perfect, natural land and everything linked with nature. He also made people aware, especially his upper class readership, that they had no right to treat people of lower classes with disrespect and prejudice. Hardy uses the example of Tess being overpowered by Alec and then condemned by society to make this point. Hardy makes these protests less directly than a modern reader might expect to reduce the offence and anger it would inevitably cause to the upper classes, his very readers. Through the analysis of these two extracts, it is obvious that Hardy was shocked and angered by the ever more threatening industrialisation of farming and the ruination of the beautiful, natural and calm landscape in which he lived. He shows this through the contrast between the pain and suffering that is felt by both Tess and the natural environment when she is at Flintcomb Ash, and her happiness and fulfilment whilst at Talbothay?s Dairy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Tess of the d'Urbervilles section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Tess of the d'Urbervilles essays

  1. Contrast the descriptions of Flint comb - Ash and Talbothays, showing How Hardy uses ...

    Hardy never clearly mentioned that Tess had been raped. But it was clear to the reader that she had as she later falls pregnant. So at this point in the novel Tess's innocence had been lost. After this sexual violation, Tess feels home. Returning to work in the field, Tess witnesses the rabbits being forced to shelter as the

  2. Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) by Thomas Hardy.

    Tess is arrested and sent to jail. Angel and Liza-Lu watch as a black flag is raised over the prison, signaling Tess's execution. Tess Durbeyfield - The novel's protagonist. Tess is a beautiful, loyal young woman living with her impoverished family in the village of Marlott. Tess has a keen sense of responsibility and is committed to

  1. Examine how Hardy uses setting to explore related themes and issues.

    In the novel, the past and the future are merely points on the cycle which nature designs. Hardy writes with a clear pessimism, which Tess seems to feel too, a very anti-Christian view that our lives are so insignificant and minute compared to all that has passed before us, and all that is yet to happen.

  2. Contrast the descriptions of Flintcomb Ash and Tolbothays, showing how Hardy uses the atmosphere ...

    there is hardly even any trees - "there are few trees or none". It seems Hardy has used Tess' surroundings to reflect her feelings. Tess' state of mind has been reflected in some birds from the North Pole because of their strange appearance after rain and dry frost have left

  1. Tess of the D'urbervilles.

    Angel in turn worships Tess for her innocence. He has put her on a pedestal and goes so far as to liken her to Artemis and Demeter. When he discovers that she is not as 'pure' as he thought her to be, she has fallen (in his eyes)

  2. Tess od The D'urbervilles

    d'Urberville, 'Mrs. d'Urberville's handwriting seemed rather masculine' suggesting that it is Alec who wants her there and has written the letter himself. Tess' guilt about the horse make her feel in honour bound to take the job working for the d'Urbervilles.

  1. Tess of the Durbervilles

    Society at the time viewed Tess badly, and would not accept Tess as a pure woman, as the book's subtitle suggests she is. People she knew looked down upon her for this, whereas is modern day she would have more attention and love for being a victim of Alec D'urberville.

  2. Hardy's skill in creating mood through the use of nature in his novel 'Tess ...

    In spite of his critics, Hardy knew that to recognise the bad side of life as well as the good was to provide a fairly comprehensive picture of the whole. Hardy first wrote poetry instead of novels, but realised early on that he could not make a living from writing poetry alone, so embarked on writing novels.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work