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1.      Tess
of the D’Urbervilles

      “why it was
that upon this beautiful feminine tissue, sensitive as gossamer, and
practically blank as snow as yet, there should have been traced such a coarse
pattern as it was doomed to receive; why so often the coarse appropriates the
finer thus, the wrong man the women, the wrong woman the man, many thousand
years of analytical philosophy have failed to explain to our sense of order”

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‘Did you say
the stars were worlds, Tess?”


‘All like

‘I don’t know; but I
think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard tree. Most
of them splendid and sound – a few blighted.’

‘Which one do
we live on –
a splendid one or a blighted one?’

‘A blighted


de siècle feminisms edited by Angelique Richardson and Chris Willis

In the last two decades of 19th century, Grant Allen’s The Women Who Did to
Victoria Crosse’s The Women Who Didn’t, gave femininity a new definition.

“the eternal woman”

“revolt of daughters”

“During the course of nineteenth century women
had increasingly challenged their subordinate social and political position.”

Pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) – Vindication of the rights of
woman (1792) – sexual double standard and urged women’s right to education,
employment and full citizenship.





the body of nature edited by Eithne Henson

Chapter 4, page 127 Thomas hardy

Page 188 Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Symbolism on landscape:

atmosphere beneath is languorous … mantling minor hills and dales within the
major. (p12)”

Describing the Blackmore vale as a tourist,
given an outsider visitor’s sight, “the vale is by implication a ‘languorous’
female body, ‘engirdled’ and ‘mantled’, and as yet untainted by (male)
frequentation”, symbolised Tess as a pure untainted maiden

Darwinism – significance of natural selection


Symbolism on landscape – as an instrumental to
the plot; to create a mood


Landscape – “a body of symbolic forms capable
of being involved and reshaped to express meanings and values”

Physical (seasons, weather, buildings) and
mental landscapes

Daniels – Fields of Vision – “the power of landscape
as idiom for representing national identity”

Helsinger – Rural Scenes and National Representation –
“representations of the land, particularly rural land, can naturalise and reify
– rendering all but invisible – a variety of historically specific internal and
external relations, between biological and political history, between rural
places and urban or industrial areas, between bordering state or between
different classes and people.”

Hardy – the return of the native

“Through their narrators and through

Irwin – reading hardy’s landscapes (2000)


Rosendahl et al – Literature: An introduction to theory and analysis – 801


Page 43 – narrative

Page 55 – character

Page 67 – the narrator


Narrative – a type of text; “a mode,
epistemology and method”

Conceptual tools to analyse narrative:  (Handbook
of Narratology, Karin Kukkonen, 2004)



Levine – hardy and Darwin: an enchanting hardy



Penny Boumelha has noted the unusually overt
maleness of the narrative voice in Tess: ‘the narrator’s erotic fantasies of
penetration and engulfment enact a pursuit, violation and persecution of Tess
in parallel with those she suffers at the hands of her two lovers’, and she sum
up a number of critical responses: ‘the phallic imagery of picking, piercing
and penetration which has repeatedly been noted, serves…to satisfy the
narrator’s fascination with the interiority of her sexuality, and his desire to
take possession of her’.

Thomas hardy and women, page 120      

Heroine characteristics



Challenge femininity on concept of the purity
of a woman

Show sympathy to the poor social and political
status of females






Thomas Hardy’s landscape are “intensively
visual” – anthropomorphic (gynomorphic)

Ruined Maid


“O ‘Melia, my dear, this does everything

Who could have supposed I should meet you in

And whence such fair garments, such
prosperi-ty?” — 

“O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?”
said she. 


— “You left us in tatters, without shoes
or socks, 

Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up

And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright
feathers three!” — 

“Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re
ruined,” said she. 


— “At home in the barton you said thee’
and thou,’ 

And thik oon,’ and theäs oon,’ and t’other’;
but now 

Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high
compa-ny!” — 

“Some polish is gained with one’s
ruin,” said she. 


— “Your hands were like paws then, your
face blue and bleak 

But now I’m bewitched by your delicate

And your little gloves fit as on any
la-dy!” — 

“We never do work when we’re
ruined,” said she. 


— “You used to call home-life a
hag-ridden dream, 

And you’d sigh, and you’d sock; but at present
you seem 

To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!”

“True. One’s pretty lively when
ruined,” said she. 


— “I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping

And a delicate face, and could strut about
Town!” — 

“My dear — a raw country girl, such as
you be, 

Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t
ruined,” said she. 



“Hardy’s point is that in a culture that
commodifies virginity as his did, the market value of virginity depends on the
price it can fetch.”

Married Women’s Property Act

“Married woman to be capable of holding property and of
contracting as a feme sole.”

“The execution of a general power by will by a married
woman shall have the effect of making the property appointed liable for her
debts and other liabilities in the same manner as her separate estate is made
liable under this Act.”

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