Special Sub-Topic: Tess - Hardy's Favorite Heroine
|The title of the book is "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", followed by which words?|
A Pure Woman. Hardy had a special love for the character of Tess, and tried to show his readers that despite her flaws, she was innocent in the trials that ravaged her life. Victorian society, at the time, was very sensitive to talk of sex and sexuality, and even though Tess is clearly the victim in the story, many people who read the book (including women) declared that it was Tess's own fault.
|Tess is often compared to an animal that in general is chased by hunters. What is this animal?|
A deer. Tess is compared to the White Hart, who lived in the Vale forest, and was slain by a certain Thomas de la Lynd, one of King Henry III's subjects. The man was given a heavy fine for murdering a pure and innocent animal that the King had spared.
|After the death of the family horse - Prince - who was the only source of family income, Tess blames herself, and "regards herself in the light of a murderess". Hardy makes use of a writing technique, which describes Nature as reflecting the emotions of the antagonist. What is this literary method called?|
Pathetic fallacy. Hardy uses this technique in many of his novels. Referring to the above scenario, he writes, "The atmosphere turned pale, the birds shook themselves in the hedges, arose and twittered; the lane showed all its white features, and Tess showed hers, still whiter."
|At their first meeting, what action taken by Alec d'Urberville precedes his future violation of Tess?|
Feeding her strawberries. On her first visit to her rich relative, Tess is overawed by the wealth of Alec d'Urberville's estate. The latter is extremely attracted to her beauty and physical development, and charms her with his smooth talk and male attention. At one point, he plucks a ripe strawberry and holds it to her lips. Tess is flustered and insists she can take one herself, but Alec insists on feeding it to her, so " in a slight distress she parted her lips and took it in."
|After her rape, Tess makes a decision. What does she do? |
Stays as Alec's lover. Yes, after her rape, Tess is afraid and confused, and unwilling to go back empty-handed to her family. She continues to work as a maid at the d'Urberville mansion, and Hardy implies that during this period, Alec had his way with her whenever he wanted. Later on, Tess says that she was his (possession) once and she will not be that again.
|At Dairyman Crick's farm, a funny anecdote is recited to the farm workers, which casts a shadow on Tess's past life (her rape, the death of her new-born son, public humiliation), and makes her extremely depressed and withdrawn, while the others laugh. What was the joke about?|
The man who got a young girl pregnant and then ran away to avoid marrying her. The story was about Jack Dollop who hid in a butterchurn to avoid his lover's mother. The mother had found out that he had had sexual relations with her daughter, and had gotten her pregnant. She was looking for him so that he would do right by the girl, and marry her. She spied the butterchurn and started turning it, so that Jack, who was inside, yelled in terror and jumped out. Confronted, he agreed to marry the girl. Tess often believed that she was guilty for her misfortune, because she had 'partaken' of the sexual act (even though she was forced) without being married. Her physical union was not accompanied by a legal one, and that shamed her.
|Angel professes his love for Tess, and believes his commitment to her is 100% true. However, this is later contradicted by what? |
All of the above (His hypocrisy in denying her forgiveness for her past trouble, despite having begged and received her forgiveness for a sexual encounter he had had with an older woman, His practicality, which claims reign over his emotions for Tess, His inherent conservatism, which he never acknowledges, preferring to be thought of as more tolerant and forgiving than his stoically-religious family.). After Tess tells Angel of her rape, he shuns her immediately. He states that he cannot forgive her actions, and they sleep apart on their wedding night. "Dead, dead, dead." His perception of her as a pure and virginal woman has been tainted, and he believes that the man who had her body should be her husband. He argues - how could he stay with her if her dead child's father was still alive? He takes Tess back to her village, and departs.
|Tess's time at Flintcomb Ash is completely the opposite of her cheerful and comfortable life at Dairyman Crick's. Here, the onset of new inventions in the farming business to make work easier is thriving. What is the machine used, which Hardy compares to Tess, in that she is an element of Nature completely bullied and overpowered by the onset of the Industrial Revolution?|
The Thresher. Tess had to stand atop the thresher all day, and feed the grain into the machine. The machine jerked violently and made loud sounds all day, exhausting Tess who could barely feed the grain in as fast as the machine sorted it out. Hardy laments the innocence of Nature and a simpler life being railroaded by the onset of machinery and industry.
|Alec d'Urberville makes a reappearance in Tess's life, after her separation from Angel. He is now a religious preacher, but on meeting Tess again he renounces his new faith. To what does Hardy credit this turn-around of Alec's?|
All of the above (His physical attraction to Tess, His shallow faith in a newly-introduced form of Christianity, His wish to be Master of her again). On seeing Tess again, Alec remembers just how beautiful and desirable she is, and he wants to conquer her body and soul and make it his again. Also, his newfound conversion is a passing fancy, with not much substance or knowledge attached to it, so it is easy to forsake it.
|On Jack Durbyfield's death, the Durbyfield family is evicted from their home. They are without shelter, but find refuge from the storm in a place that, ironically, belongs to the ancient d'Urberville family, from whom Tess inherited her family name. What was this place? |
A family tomb. After being told that the inn room they had booked at Kingsbere was no longer available, Tess and her family (now evicted) take shelter in a d'Urberville tomb. Tess, however, is unaware that her dead ancestors are lying so close to her. This is yet another of Hardy's coincidences, showing how the d'Urberville name initiates Tess's downfall, and continues to haunt her throughout her life.
|In the meantime, Angel has gone to Brazil to forget Tess. What is it that brings him back to England two years later?
His fever and subsequent ill health. Angel catches a strong fever in Brazil, from which he takes much time to recover. He then returns to England, to his parents' house - weak and frail. It is only at his parents' house that he receives the letter from the dairymaids urging him to go to Tess's aid.
|Tess becomes Alec's "kept woman" again. Why did she agree to his requests? |
Alec promises her a better life for her family. Throughout the story, Tess is driven by a powerful guilt towards her siblings and parents. After the death of Prince, she feels responsible for losing the family income, and is therefore more susceptible to her mother's constant entreaties that she go and "claim kin" with Alec d'Urberville and his aging mother. Her guilt after her pregnancy and the scandal it brings to her family makes it imperative that she move away from them. Her 'reputation' is instrumental in getting her family evicted from their home after her father's death. All this pushes Tess further into Alec's web of promises of better things for her family.
|Angel tracks Tess down with great difficulty, to a "fashionable watering place". What real place is this supposed to be? |
Brighton. Alec takes Tess with him to stay at a boarding house in Brighton. By now, Tess is his possession, as Alec has provided for her family. He has given Tess beautiful clothes, shelter and food, and return, gratifies his lust for her. Angel goes to Tess's native village and from there to Alec's house, finally tracing Tess to Brighton.
|Once Tess and Angel are reunited, where do they go?|
An abandoned house. Once Tess has murdered Alec, they cannot go anywhere where they will be recognized. To stay off the beaten track, Angel and Tess take refuge in an old house, which has been kept closed for the season. Hardy also implies that this is the first time the couple is sexually intimate.
|Tess's capture at Stonehenge is compared by Hardy to what?|
A sacrificial victim at the altar. It is fitting that Tess's capture is at Stonehenge, where she is cornered while sleeping on a slab of rock. Hardy compares her to a sacrificial lamb that is placed to appease the gods, and this is interesting because Stonehenge was indeed an altar for ancient pagan rituals celebrating gods of Nature. It seems that Tess, a child of Nature herself, had gravitated to this pure and raw symbol of the natural world.
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