To What extent do Hardy and Walker depict Tess and Celie as victims of fate and unable to change?

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Name: Abdul-Azeez Alaya                                                                             Candidate Number: 6001

To What extent do Hardy and Walker depict Tess and Celie as victims of fate and unable to change?

Argued to be one of Hardy’s most controversial novels, published in 1891 during an era when the underprivileged classes of society, were submissive to superstitious beliefs in particular those such as luck spiritual beings and ultimately fate which were the foundations of lower class civilisation, Tess of the D’Urbervilles presents a story of Fate toying  with the life of the Heroine Tess.  Fate is an influential part of the plot because it is what dictates her life. Events in the beginning of the novel begin a domino effect that cannot be reverse, thus Her fate is already chosen and all she can do is live through the events that happen to her. Whilst Walkers Colour purple is written during an era of gender social and racial inequalities narrated through Celie whose life consisting of an abundance of obstacles refuses to give into the Fate which determined the lives of poor uneducated black females during the 1930s.

What exactly is Fate?, is it in our personalities, actions and character or are our lives controlled by a supposed force or power which predetermines events in our life’s, meaning regardless of what we do we are unable to change our destiny. This theme is explored thoroughly by Thomas Hardy through his heroine Tess who is portrayed as a victim of fate throughout the novel, chance and coincidence bring about disasters in the novel that we can claim occur due to fate, it appears the main characters are subject to forces beyond their control. The author employs a very fatalistic plot throughout the novel making Tess endure whatever is thrown at her .

In the first chapter of the book the horse Prince dies, this is seen as Tess’ fault as she falls as sleep due to being exhausted, this happens at night when the weather is very depressed. Hardy uses pathetic fallacy by claiming the ‘atmosphere’ was pale, this makes the reader feel tension and also an expectation of tragedy . This scene is similar to that of the one at the chase when Alec finds Tess unconscious and may have raped her which is ultimately up to speculation. It is clear that Hardy uses the death of prince to create a sense of foreboding as this episode and the one at the chase are extremely similar, on both occasions Tess has fallen asleep due to tiredness and also the weather is used as an indication for what is to follow. From this we can question whether these events are down to fate and also ask if Hardy pre-determines Tess’ fate and future through her early actions thus her future is unalterable so there is nothing she can do to change.This has lead to the critic The Irvine Howe has writing: ‘May we see her purely as a victim, like the white horse, the pheasants, the animals who are killed at harvest time? Hers is a poor wounded name’ This supports The interpretation that Tess’ life was controlled by Fate the just like the events in the novel such as the horses death and the death of the pheasants which all acted as a sense of foreboding and events which pre determine Tess death.

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Towards the latter stages of the novel during chapter 46, Hardy again emphasises the significant role Fate has played in Tess’ life and misfortunes. Firstly at the bottom of page 320 Tess states...”How can I pray for you?...When I am forbidden to believe that the great power who moves the world would alter his plans on my account?”  Tess is telling Alec that she has lost her belief in God as her prayers do not move him. Therefore she is indicating this is happening because God already has his plans made and what she wants makes no difference because she ...

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