Chapter 1 Introduction
Tess of the D’urbervilles is an extraordinarily beautiful book, as well as an extraordinarily moving one. Tess Durbeyfield, the daughter of a poor foolish peasant, who believes that he is the descendant of an ancient aristocratic family, first is seduced by Alec, the son of the neighboring family by the name of D’urbervilles. Then Tess encounters Angel Clare, a man of liberal mind and the son of a clergyman, and they fall in love with each other. On the evening of their wedding ceremony, Tess confesses to Angel her seduction by Alec, and then Angel abandons her and leaves for Brazil by himself. Subsequently Angel comes to understand his moral and intellectual arrogance and searches for Tess, only to find that the extreme poverty of her family has driven her back to Alec. So strong is Tess’s love for Angel and so powerful her disgust at Alec when Angel comes back to look for her that she kills Alec. After hiding for a short period of time with Angel, after spending a few days of loving reconciliation with Angel, Tess is arrested, sentenced to death for murder and executed. The gloomily tragic atmosphere embedded in the novel is doubtlessly related to the author, Thomas Hardy’s views of life and world. In addition, it fits in with Hardy’s desire to express the tragedy that the valuable is tortured and tangled by the irresistant force and at last is destroyed. Hardy is a well-known pessimist and abides by the belief of fatalism that “everything in the universe is controlled by the Immanent Will”(Luo 1996: 206), which has no passions, no consciousness and no knowledge of the differences between the good and the evil and “which is present in all parts of the universe and is impartially hostile towards human beings’ desire for joy and happiness”(ibid.). So human beings are doomed to failure when they struggle against the cruel and unintelligible fate, which is predestined by the Immanent Will. So there’s no doubt the prevailing moods in Tess of the D’urbervilles are tragic and gloomy. Tess’s tragic fate moves the readers so directly and profoundly that they only focus on the touching narration about Tess’s tragedy and give applause to the author’s genius on arranging such plot. But another unique characteristic of the novel—the remarkable
Chapter 2 Analysis of the Function of the Landscape Description on the Basis of Six Places There are six places—Marlott, Trantridge, Talbothays, Wellbridge flour-mills, Flintcomb-Ash and Stonehenge—constituting the foundation stone of this novel as well as the pillar of Tess’s sufferings and tragic fate. The landscape descriptions of these six places, connected with each other sequentially, form a river which propels the tragic waves in Tess’s life and winds its way from the beginning to the end of Tess’s life. Every place represents one important period and level of Tess’s life and they unite together, making the development of the plot proceed forward compactly, smoothly and coherently, linking up different episodes of Tess’s life together, defining the basic tone of the setting. They become the symbols that indicate the fate of Tess, symbolize what Tess is feeling and thinking and predict a series of tortures that Tess will suffer from. 2.1 Marlott
2.1.1 Tess’s hometown
Marlott is not only Tess’s hometown where she indeed spends her happy times, more sarcastically, it is also the birth place of Tess’s tragedy. It is a beautiful place and “lay[s] amid the north-eastern undulations of the beautiful Vale of Blackmoor aforesaid, an engirdled and secluded region…” and “this [is a] fertile and sheltered tract of country, in which the fields are never brown and the springs never dry…”(Hardy 1994: 18). Not only does the natural beauty drift in Marlott, but it has historical origins: “the vale was known in former times as the Forest of White Hart, from a curious legend of King Henry”(ibid.). So with its naturally picturesque scenery as well as its historical...
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