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Write a comparison of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" and French Lieutenants Woman" from the first six chapters in relation to society.

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Introduction

Write a comparison of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" and French Lieutenants Woman" from the first six chapters in relation to society. Thomas Hardy and John Fowles both set their respective books in the late 1800's, the difference is that Fowles wrote his book 100 years after the time period it was set in. Hardy wrote his book in the time he was setting it, however they both share similar qualities when referring to the society. The Victorian society is centred about appearance created by religious views, affecting the acceptance of woman, class and sex. Throughout the introduction in both novels the social morals and guidelines are set down and clearly shown by both authors. Religion plays a key part in Victorian society and is consequently shown in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" when the Pastor announces John D'Urberfield's ancestry. The Parson is a religious figure and therefore should probably not care about whether an individual is from a high class with important ancestry or a poorer class. In "French Lieutenant's Woman" the vicar makes allowances for Mrs Poulteney because of the money she brings to the church: "He did not argue, for incumbents of not notably fat livings do not argue with rich parishioners." ...read more.

Middle

The society is judgemental, the views are mostly religious and rarely any forgiveness takes place. The significant indication with this is that religious judging is centred on appearance. Along with causing problems with judging people, Religion causes many other problems in society; many see religion as false. Both Hardy and Fowles pick up on the irony within religion. For Fowles he shows how Mrs Poulteney as well as wanting to be shown as appearing to be what she is expected she is doing it for wrong reasons. She doesn't view God as a loving, caring, powerful being but as judgemental and less powerful than most: "But God might not be present at the reading of that document" Mrs Poulteney wants God to see her being what the society views as a woman of power and high class, she uses religion to show this. Fowles picks up on the false appearance of religion by creating the comical scene between Mrs Poulteney and the vicar. Although he is not writing in the time period it is set he does appreciate this view, as it is apparent in Hardy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Appearance is the key to this, all through both books appearance is shown as a point of reference. In "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" Alec is the example of this, he uses the D'Urberville name to show his wealth and status. The irony of this is that the name was just taken and not given. When Tess goes to ask for help from Alec we see how he has control over her. This comes from how men had control in Victorian society. Women were seen as second class and were less important than men. Men got their way with women, despite Tess not wanting to walk around the gardens with Alec she feels compelled to because of her status. This is also linked with class, as Alec is of a higher class to Tess she feels less important and controlled by him. Hardy had an understanding of Victorian society that allows him to see this part of society. Despite being male himself he knows the control and boundaries surrounding women of the time and uses this to write his interpretation of society. ?? ?? ?? ?? 935 words English Society comparison ...read more.

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