Tess of the Dubervilles

Topics: Fiction, Novel, Character Pages: 2 (564 words) Published: April 16, 2014
Aceson San Nicolas
ENG 480
Professor Soliday
Context Essay
The quote I have chosen comes from the 12th chapter of Tess of the D’Ubervilles. This part of text unfolds around Tess’ conversation with her mother regarding her mother’s failure to prepare her for the dark deeds of men. However instead of relating Hardy’s quote to an earlier piece, I have chosen to compare El Jame’s reference to Hardy in the novel Fifty Shades of Grey. In chapter 12 of Hardy’s work, Tess states “Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that warn them of these tricks.” (81) Hardy writes this in order to point out that many novels in the past have eluded to the atrocities of men and ironically that he himself is doing that very thing with his own novel. Interestingly enough the novel Fifty Shades of Grey makes reference to this very same quote as a use of for shadowing what is to follow.

Hardy’s quote derives from Tess’s outburst towards her mother for not warning her of the evil possibilities that lurk inside of men. Tess faults her mother for not teaching her these hard lessons, which would have saved her from the rape. In Hardy’s case perhaps this passage is partly a defense against those contemporary critics who accused Tess of the D’Ubervilles of being immoral. Hardy seems to suggest that reading novels with sex parts is important to women, because too much ignorance can be dangerous like it was for Tess. In a way this is Hardy’s way of justifying his work by constructing and including an ideal in which his novel is necessary to prevent future crimes against women.

The reference to Hardy’s quote comes in the form of a gift from the male protagonist Mr. Grey to the female protagonist Ana. Ana is studying Tess of the D’Ubervilles in college and Mr. Grey leaves a basket on her doorstep with all three volumes and a note that reads, “Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that warn them of these tricks”. The relationship between...
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