The Importance of Home in Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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Consider the significance of home in Tess of the D’Urbervilles Hardy uses setting in Tess of the D’urbervilles to mirror the characters in the novel. At the beginning of Tess’s journey she is in rural Marlott, a place where community thrives and although flaws are shown through the characterisation of John and Joan Durbeyfield, it is Tess’s home and the only place that seems to truly accept her, this is shown by the many returns she makes back to her homestead after retreating from it in search of bettering herself. Although The Slopes may look as though it boasts lineage and formality and could be a home for Tess, it is contrived and artificial; it is a new house where she expected to find an old home. Considering the turbulences she goes through at The Slopes, the house is now tainted with the memory of corruption seen by Alec D’Urberville, the rape forces Tess back to Marlott in shame. Tess couldv’e stayed with Alec D’Urberville and made her home at the Slopes, but her burgeoning guilt forbids this. This is the first potential home Tess runs from. Tess returns home husbandless against the great expectations of her family. Tess left Marlott as a maiden, but returns alone and with child. The symbolism in this show that Tess can rely on no one in a patriarchal society and her family and home where she seeks most approval are shamed by her. Although John Durbeyfield expresses great shame and embarrassment for Tess, the family still take her and her unborn baby in. Indeed Tess must still work, it is interesting to consider that although she has come back alone and pregnant, her father and by extension Hardy, still let her back. In a wider sense, this shows Hardy’s affection for his female protagonist, as a Victorian writer, it was appropriate at the time to shun fallen women and to give them only drama and tragedy in literature, however Hardy relents- if only for fleeting moments-on Tess. At Talbothay’s Dairy, Tess feels at home and arguably, this is the happiest...
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