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Tess of the d'urbervilles

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Introduction

Liv Gell GCSE Prose Study: "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" Hardy's provocative subtitle for "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is probably more acceptable to a modern reader than it was to his fellow Victorians, even though he worked hard to convince them of her purity. To what extent, if at all would you as a modern reader agree with this view of the novel? 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' was a highly controversial novel when it was first written by Thomas Hardy- who, after much effort and exertion, finally had it published in 1891. It has proven to be one of Hardy's most distressing tales of rural troubles, spoiled only slightly by the debate it caused in the Victorian era; over its blunt treatment of sex and its cynical view of life. ...read more.

Middle

However, it is presently acknowledged that Mrs D'Urberville has simply taken the name for convenience. Whilst working for the family, Tess becomes involved with Alec D'Urberville (the elderly woman's son) though he later takes advantage of her and in unpleasant circumstances seduces her. After this inexcusable incident, Tess departs from the D'Urberville's grand home and returns to her underprivileged family. Tess gives birth to Alec's child, christened Sorrow, but the baby dies early and is denied a baptism because he is illegitimate. After this unhappy chain of events Tess seeks employment outside the village, where her past is not known, and secures a job as a milkmaid in a valley some miles off. ...read more.

Conclusion

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, and Henry James though it thoroughly poorly conceived which reminds us of a certain conversation between a pot and a black kettle. Help: http://www.aug.edu/fenglish/choice_voice/essays/tess.htm ...read more.

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