Tess of the D’Urbervilles--Character Response Paper
In literature, vampires are everywhere. No, I’m not talking about the recent fad prompted by Stephenie Meyer. There is always a character that preys on another, kind of like Meyer’s sparkling creations or Count Chocula. Thomas Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor, goes to say that literary vampirism is inextricably linked to sex. The men of Tess of the D’Urbervilles can almost all be seen as vampires(in one sense or another), but the fullest embodiment of this role is Alec D’Urberville. Everything about Alec portrays him as a vampire. His dark hair and fair skin; his constant showing up unexpectedly; his obsession with Tess; he is definitely akin to Dracula. Aside from the most obvious way that he preys on Tess, by raping her, he does so emotionally. Even though Alec vanishes after that fateful night in the woods, Tess is left with his baby. When Sorrow dies, sorrow is not gone. Tess is left with nothing, a grave reminder of the life that Alec stole from her. When Angel runs off to Brazil, and Tess is again in Alec’s arms, he still preys on her emotions by making her believe that Clare will never return. When Tess kills Alec, she does it appropriately for any vampire: a steak(knife) through the heart. Although Alec is a perfect example of a literary vampire, he is not the only in the novel. Angel is very easily classified as a predator, as he he makes Alec’s indiscretion Tess’s fault, even though he consented with London prostitute. Tess is left with yet another broken heart because of a man’s actions. Jack Durbeyfield is also a nocturnal blood-sucker. When Tess killed the family’s only horse, he seemed all too willing to give up his daughter for the promise of not ever working again.
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