The first comparison of the 2 novels can be found in the title where there is a mention of the female protagonist in both novels, Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Sarah woodruff in French Lieutenants Woman. Both titles show that these women are treat like possessions and they belong to someone better. Tess belongs to the D'Urbervilles and Sarah belongs to the French Lieutenant.
Both of the novels are set in the south coast, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is set in the vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor in a village called Merlott. And French Lieutenants Woman is set in Lyme bay.
Another comparison is that the 1st chapter of both novels spends a lot of time setting the scene and gives the reader a very detailed description of where they are so they can picture it. Both descriptions introduce the female protagonist in the 1st chapter and coincidently both do it on page 11. They both don't give the name of the females in the first chapter the just simply mention them and don't really give us much information on them.
The novels however differ in the way they set the tone of the 1st chapter. The first chapter of French Lieutenants Woman is very gloomy and dark the womans clothes are black representing sorrow and she is described as a living memorial to the drowned'. Whereas in Tess of the D'Urbervilles it is quite humorous to picture a man on rickety legs not being able to walk in a straight line as he is drunk!
Another difference is the fact that Fowles does not name the couple walking along not the woman staring out to sea. We don't yet know who these people are he does not give us any hint as to what the plot could be. Hardy however gives us the name of Tess' father in the first chapter and jumps into the plot by telling us of the Durbeyfields ancestry. Hardy is making fun at humans who are hear information as what they want to hear and act far too...