How does Hardy present the character of Tess in the first three chapters?
Tess is presented as a member of a poor agricultural family. Despite her modest background, Tess is portrayed as anything but ‘simple’. Instead, Hardy presents her as a young, hugely diverse women through a series of paradoxical contradictions. The tragic trajectory of the novel is evident from the introduction of Tess as a victim of her social circumstances and gender.
Hardy portrays Tess’s character as pure and innocent but also on the verge of women-hood. Through the use of colour imagery, hardy presents Tess’s darker persona,’ red ribbon’. The connotations of the colour red suggest, love and lust, portraying Tess as a voluptuous character. The author also uses colour imagery again that express a contrasting side to Tess.’ white company’. the connotations of the colour white represent, innocence and purity, painting Tess as a young girl. Furthermore, Hardy’s chapter title, ‘The maiden’ reinforces Hardy’s message of Tess being young and pure. Hardy does this to illustrate to the reader the diversities of Tess’s character and to highlight the underlying notion that Tess is vulnerable. This also reinforces the mixture of elements to her character and may foreshadow her future vulnerability when she encounters men.
Thomas Hardy also alleges Tess’s character, primarily innocence, through the description of the landscape. The symbolism used, highlights Tess’s innocent state and purity,’ secluded region’. This is symbolic of Tess’s vulnerability and innocence and also to suggest that Tess is on her own. The euphemism ‘untrodden’ suggests Tess’s purity and virginity. Hardy gives the impression that Tess is a vulnerable character, he does this to foreshadow coming events. It is Tess’s vulnerability that puts her in unfortunate circumstances later in the novel. Hardy portrays Tess as a victim on all fronts. She is exposed as a young girl who is growing up quickly, almost too quickly...
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