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How isTess seen to suffer inTess of the D'urbervilles'?

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Introduction

How is Tess seen to suffer in Tess of the D'urbervilles'? Tess undergoes immense suffering, throughout the whole novel. This is very well displayed by Thomas Hardy's excellent usage of language. He expertly describes Tess's actions and language. Hardy also vividly describes what Tess feels and other people's behaviour towards her. The very first case of suffering starts when Tess had to get up extremely early in the morning to take the hives to market. Tess had to light the lantern on the cart and drive to market. Tess was exhausted. This is the first example of physical suffering that Tess undergoes in the novel. Tess was so tired that she actually fell asleep whilst driving the cart. Tess was woken by a sudden jerk. She realized that she had been asleep for some time and she had travelled a fair way down the road. Tess found that the cart was on the wrong side of the road, and that the cart had stopped. There was a low groaning sound coming from her horse, Prince. He had been wounded very badly and as a result of this, he later died. This is where Tess's emotional suffering began. Tess felt very upset and felt she was entirely to blame. Her face was described as being 'dry and pale' and her little bother asked 'is he gone to heaven?' ...read more.

Middle

Tess then began to feel rather uneasy at Alec D'urbervilles reckless driving. Tess shows her nervousness by asking Alec questions, such as 'You will slow down, sir, I suppose?' It is here that Alec starts teasing Tess by saying things like, 'why I always go down at full gallop' and 'there's nothing like it for raising your spirits.' Alec seemed to take great pleasure in making Tess feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. Alec liked to tease and frighten Tess. They continued on their journey and the faster the cart bumped along, the more scared Tess became. Tess grabbed on to Alec, as she was scared that she might fall out of the cart. When the cart had eventually slowed down and Alec mentioned to Tess that she was still holding his arm, she removed her hand immediately and felt very embarrassed. She then refused to hold onto him again. As the cart went faster, her hat blew off. Tess went to fetch her hat. She felt uneasy, and Alec was not kind to her as he found this highly amusing. Tess then refused to remount the cart and sit beside him. She told him 'no; I shall walk.' Alec replied 'tis 5 or 6 miles yet to Trantridge,' to which Tess replied 'I don't care if 'tis dozens.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This displays the suffering well. Hardy also tells how the women 'serve' the machine. The word 'serve' implies that the machine somehow has control over them. Hardy tells of how the machine keeps up a 'despotic demand upon the endurance of their muscles.' This displays great physical suffering and the reader can almost picture the scene in their head. Further on, there is also an example of the poor working conditions and the long hours which Tess had to work. This is helped by the description of a 'hasty lunch.' It emphasises the hurrying and the urgency and rush of work. It also shows that they had to eat in the dirty surroundings of the machinery. They worked in awful conditions. Another example of awful working conditions is shown, by describing how workers were stood 'near the revolving wire cage.' This is very dangerous and there were no safety guards on any of the machines. Tess was exhausted at the end of every working day and Hardy shows this by using good descriptive phrases such as, 'for Tess there was no respite.' Hardy also uses strong adjectives in his sentences, for example, when he described Tess as being 'too utterly exhausted to speak louder.' As you can see, this novel is full of both physical and emotional suffering, throughout Tess's whole life and these were only a few examples. I think that Hardy successfully and vividly describes Tess's life with great emotion. ...read more.

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