Tess of the d'Urberville: Text and Analysis Phase 1: The Maiden Dr. SarwetRasul
Summary of Previous Session We covered the following: • Introduction to Thomas Hardy- The author of Tess of d’Urbervilles • His birth and Early Education • His Career • His Works • His Influence • Introduction to the Novel • Genre of the novel • Setting of the novel • Times and Religion with reference to Hardy and his novel • Themes of the novel • Important characters in the novel
Today’s Session • We will start Phase 1 • We will cover chapters 1-11 and finish phase 1. • In doing so we will cover the following aspects: • Will explore the text of these chapters • Will explore related themes • Will discuss the development of characters • Will critically analyze the selected parts of text
Phase 1, Chapter1 • John Durbeyfield is a middle-aged peddler living in a village. • On his way home to the village of Marlott he encounters an old parson who surprises him by addressing him as “Sir John.” • When Durbeyfield asks the parson why he greets him in this manner, the old man, Parson Tringham, claims to be a student of history; and he answers that he recently learned that he is from the d'Urberville lineage, descended from Sir Pagan d'Urberville who fought with William the Conqueror. • He tells Durbeyfield that if knighthood were hereditary, he would be Sir John. The d'Urberville family is now extinct, and the parson thinks of this only as demonstrating how great people face a fall. But Durbeyfield becomes quite self-important following the discovery. • He is so much happy and feels himself so important that he sends for a horse and carriage to carry him home.
Opening Text Chapter 1 On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore, or Blackmoor. The pair of legs that carried him were rickety, and there was a bias in his gait which inclined him somewhat to the left of a straight line. He occasionally gave a smart nod, as if in confirmation of some opinion, though he was not thinking of anything in particular. An empty egg-basket was slung upon his arm, the nap of his hat was ruffled, a patch being quite worn away at its brim where his thumb came in taking it off. Presently he was met by an elderly parson astride on a gray mare, who, as he rode, hummed a wandering tune. ‘Good night t’ee,’ said the man with the basket. ‘Good night, Sir John,’ said the parson. The pedestrian, after another pace or two, halted, and turned round. ‘Now, sir, begging your pardon; we met last market-day on this road about this time, and I said ‘Good night,’ and you made reply ‘Good night, Sir John,’ as now.’
Text continues ‘I did,’ said the parson. ‘And once before that—near a month ago.’ ‘I may have.’ ‘Then what might your meaning be in calling me ‘Sir John’ these different times, when I be plain Jack Durbey haggler?’ The parson rode a step or two nearer. ‘It was only my whim,’ he said; and, after a moment’s hesitation: ‘It was on account of a discovery I made some little time ago, whilst I was hunting up pedigrees for the new county history. I am Parson Tringham, the antiquary, of Stagfoot Lane. Don’t you really know, Durbeyfield, that you are the lineal representative of the ancient and knightly family of the d’Urbervilles, who derive their descent from Sir Pagan d’Urberville, that renowned knight who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror, as appears by Battle Abbey Roll?’ ‘Never heard it before, sir!’ ‘Well it’s true. Throw up your chin a moment, so that I may catch the profile of your face better. Yes, that’s the d’Urberville nose and chin—a little debased. Your ancestor was one of the twelve knights who assisted the Lord of Estremavilla in Normandy in his conquest of Glamorganshire.
Phase 1, Chapter1:Discussion Points • Opening of the text introduces: • rural background • Characters from real life • Poor circumstances • Themes • At the outset Thomas Hardy introduces several themes. These themes will be important throughout the course of the novel. • Theme of unpredictability of fate: • This chapter centers on the unpredictability of fate: the d'Urberville legacy demonstrates how the mighty have fallen through mere bad fortune and missed opportunities. • Discovery of Durbeyfield’s ancestors by Parson Tringham's is just by chance. • Even meeting with the narrator of this story is a chance. Then sharing this information with Durbeyfiled is yet another chance. Actually it is only a sly comment of the parson that leads towards Durbeyfield’s knowledge of all this. Theme of Social Class System: • The second important theme of the novel is the importance of social class within English society. • John Durbeyfield believes himself changed by the idea that he may be the descendant of the noble Pagan d'Urberville, even though there is nothing intrinsically different about him. • The idea of Social Class is going to play a dry important role in the novel.
Phase 1, Chapter 2 • In this chapter we are introduced to the female protagonist of the novel: Tess Durbeyfield. • While the father is being pleased and feels self-important because of the information or discovery that he has made, at the same moment, Durbeyfield’s daughter Tess enjoys the May Day festivities with the other women from her village. • Actually to celebrate the May Day dance the younger women of Marlott walked in procession in white gowns, holding willow wands and white flowers. • We are told about Tess that she is no more handsome than the other girls, but has large, innocent eyes. • Durbeyfield rides by in the carriage. She sees her father riding and singing that he has a great family vault in Kingsbere and knighted forefathers. • Though Tess is embarrassed at the spectacle, she defends her father from the mockery of the other girls; and reprimands her friends for mocking her father • The group goes to the village green for dancing, where they meet three highborn brothers. • Tess notices one of the brothers in particular. He is a young man named Angel Clare. While his two brothers want to keep traveling, Angel cannot skip the opportunity to dance with these young women. • The girls ask him to choose his partner, and he chooses a girl other than Tess. They dance for a short time, and then Angel leaves realizing that he is getting late and that he must catch up with his brothers. • As he leaves, he look back and notices Tess and regrets his decision to dance with someone else.
Text from Chapter 2 • It was an interesting event to the younger inhabitants of Marlott, though its real interest was not observed by the participators in the ceremony. Its singularity lay less in the retention of a custom of walking in procession and dancing on each anniversary than in the members being solely women. In men’s clubs such celebrations were, though expiring, less uncommon; but either the natural shyness of the softer sex, or a sarcastic attitude on the part of male relatives, had denuded such women’s clubs as remained (if any other did) or this their glory and consummation. The club of Marlott alone lived to uphold the local Cerealia. It had walked for hundreds of years, if not as benefit-club, as votive sisterhood of some sort; and it walked still. The banded ones were all dressed in white gowns—a gay survival from Old Style days, when cheerfulness and May-time were synonyms—days before the habit of taking long views had reduced emotions to a monotonous average. Their first exhibition of themselves was in a processional march of two and two round the parish. Ideal and real clashed slightly as the sun lit up their figures against the green hedges and creeper-laced house-fronts; for, though the whole troop wore white garments, no two whites were alike among them. Some approached pure blanching; some had a bluish pallor; some worn by the older characters (which had possibly lain by folded for many a year) inclined to a cadaverous tint, and to a Georgian style. In addition to the distinction of a white frock, every woman and girl carried in her right hand a peeled willow wand, and in her left a bunch of white flowers. The peeling of the former, and the selection of the latter, had been an operation of personal care .…………………………………….
Some More Text • The young girls formed, indeed, the majority of the band, and their heads of luxuriant hair reflected in the sunshine every tone of gold, and black, and brown. Some had beautiful eyes, others a beautiful nose, others a beautiful mouth and figure: few, if any, had all. A difficulty of arranging their lips in this crude exposure to public scrutiny, an inability to balance their heads, and to dissociate self-consciousness from their features, was apparent in them, and showed that they were genuine country girls, unaccustomed to many eyes.
Text: We see Tess for the first time A young member of the band turned her head at the exclamation. She was a fine and handsome girl—not handsomer than some others, possibly—but her mobile peony mouth and large innocent eyes added eloquence to colour and shape. She wore a red ribbon in her hair, and was the only one of the white company who could boast of such a pronounced adornment. As she looked round Durbeyfield was seen moving along the road in a chaise belonging to The Pure Drop, driven by a frizzle-headed brawny damsel with her gown-sleeves rolled above her elbows. This was the cheerful servant of that establishment, who, in her part of factotum, turned groom and ostler at times. Durbeyfield, leaning back, and with his eyes closed luxuriously, was waving his hand above his head, and singing in a slow recitative— ‘I’ve-got-a-gr’t-family-vault-at-Kingsbere—and knighted-forefathers-in-lead-coffins-there!’ The clubbists tittered, except the girl called Tess—in whom a slow heat seemed to rise at the sense that her father was making himself foolish in their eyes. ‘He’s tired, that’s all,’ she said hastily, ‘and he has got a lift home, because our own horse has to rest to-day.’ ‘Bless thy simplicity, Tess,’ said her companions. ‘He’s got his market-nitch. Haw-haw!’ ‘Look here; I won’t walk another inch with you, if you say any jokes about him!’ Tess cried, and the colour upon her cheeks spread over her face and neck. In a moment her eyes grew moist, and her glance drooped to the ground. Perceiving that they had really pained her they said no more, and order again prevailed. Tess’s pride would not allow her to turn her head again, to learn what her father’s meaning was, if he had any; and thus she moved on with the whole body to the enclosure where there was to be dancing on the green. By the time the spot was reached she has recovered her equanimity, and tapped her neighbour with her wand and talked as usual.
Text: Innocence of Tess • …………you could sometimes see her twelfth year in her cheeks, or her ninth sparkling from her eyes; and even her fifth would flit over the curves of her mouth now and then. • Yet few knew, and still fewer considered this. A small minority, mainly strangers, would look long at her in casually passing by, and grow momentarily fascinated by her freshness, and wonder if they would ever see her again: but to almost everybody she was a fine and picturesque country girl, and no more.
Text: First Meeting of Tess with Angel • On account of his long delay he started in a flying-run down the lane westward, and had soon passed the hollow and mounted the next rise. He had not yet overtaken his brothers, but he paused to get breath, and looked back. He could see the white figures of the girls in the green enclosure whirling about as they had whirled when he was among them. They seemed to have quite forgotten him already. All of them, except, perhaps, one. This white shape stood apart by the hedge alone. From her position he knew it to be the pretty maiden with whom he had not danced. Trifling as the matter was, he yet instinctively felt that she was hurt by his oversight. He wished that he had asked her; he wished that he had inquired her name. She was so modest, so expressive, she had looked so soft in her thin white gown that he felt he had acted stupidly. However, it could not be helped, and turning, and bending himself to a rapid walk, he dismissed the subject from his mind.
Phase 1, Chapter 2, Discussion Points • We are told about Tess: • She is the titular character of the novel. • She is introduced as an innocent, malleable and pure young girl. • As a member of the May Day procession, adorned in white, we can notice her purity. • Her white dress also symbolizes her virginity that reaffirms the title of Phase 1: The Maiden • Her physical characteristics equally suggest her innocence. • Hardy’s art: Foreshadowing • By depicting her purity and innocence Hardy suggests that this purity comes from lack of experience. He also foreshadows her later development as a person and a character once she is exposed to different and more dangerous forces. • Angel is an equal symbol of purity and goodness, as shown by his name and his demeanor. He immediately realizes that Tess is special because of her innocence.
Phase 1, Chapter 3 • Tess remains with her friends dancing and enjoying until dusk, thinking of the young man, Angel. • As she arrives home, she hears her mother singing as she rocks her youngest child to sleep. • Her mother, Joan, Mrs. Durbeyfield still has some of the freshness of youth, but it is faint. • She speaks in the local dialect, • She tells Tess that her father told her that he comes from noble lineage. • She also informed Tess that he has been diagnosed with a serious heart condition. He has fat around his heart which is dangerous and can cause his death anytime. • Mrs. Durbeyfield has consulted the Compleat Fortune-Teller, a large, old book, for guidance. Actually she is a firm believer in astrology and she keeps the book hidden in the outhouse out of an irrational fear of keeping it indoors. • Mr. Durbeyfield is not home. • Tess comes to know that he is at Rolliver’s, the local inn and drinking establishment. • Tess and the family are not surprised to hear of his whereabouts because he is usually found there. • Tess’s mother goes to fetch her husband from the inn but does not return. • We are told that when she does not return, Tess becomes worried and asks her little brother Abraham to go to Rolliver’s and see why their parents have not yet returned. • After waiting for sometime, when still no one has returned home, Tess goes after them herself.
Text: Impact of Meeting Angel • As for Tess Durbeyfield, she did not so easily dislodge the incident from her consideration. She had no spirit to dance again for a long time, though she might have had plenty of partners; but ah! they did not speak so nicely as the strange young man had done. It was not till the rays of the sun had absorbed the young stranger’s retreating figure on the hill that she shook off her temporary sadness and answered her would-be partner in the affirmative. • She remained with her comrades till dusk, and participated with a certain zest in the dancing………….
Text: Back to the reality of her life The interior, in spite of the melody, struck upon the girl’s senses with an unspeakable dreariness. From the holiday gaieties of the field—the white gowns, the nosegays, the willow-wands, the whirling movements on the green, the flash of gentle sentiment towards the stranger—to the yellow melancholy of this one-candled spectacle, what a step! Besides the jar of contrast there came to her a chill self-reproach that she had not returned sooner, to help her mother in these domesticities, instead of indulging herself out-of-doors. There stood her mother amid the group of children, as Tess had left her, hanging over the Monday washing-tub, which had now, as always, lingered on to the end of the week. Out of that tub had come the day before—Tess felt it with a dreadful sting of remorse—the very white frock upon her back which she had so carelessly greened about the skirt on the damping grass—which had been wrung up and ironed by her mother’s own hands. As usual, MrsDurbeyfield was balanced on one foot beside the tub, the other being engaged in the aforesaid business of rocking her youngest child. The cradle-rockers had done hard duty for so many years, under the weight of so many children, on that flagstone floor, that they were worn nearly flat, in consequence of which a huge jerk accompanied each swing of the cot, flinging the baby from side to side like a weaver’s shuttle, as MrsDurbeyfield, excited by her song, trod the rocker with all the spring that was left in her after a long day’s seething in the suds.
Some More Text ‘Where is father now?’ asked Tess suddenly. Her mother gave irrelevant information by way of answer: ‘He called to see the doctor to-day in Shaston. It is not consumption at all, it seems. It is fat round his heart, ‘a says. There, it is like this.’ Joan Durbeyfield, as she spoke, curved a sodden thumb and forefinger to the shape of the letter C, and used the other forefinger as a pointer. ‘‘At the present moment,’ he says to your father, ‘your heart is enclosed all round there, and all round there; this space is still open,’ ‘a says. ‘As soon as it do meet, so,’’—MrsDurbeyfield closed her fingers into a circle complete—‘‘off you will go like a shadder, MrDurbeyfield,’ ‘a says. ‘You mid last ten years; you mid go off in ten months, or ten days.’’ Tess looked alarmed. Her father possibly to go behind the eternal cloud so soon, notwithstanding this sudden greatness! ‘But where IS father?’ she asked again. Her mother put on a deprecating look. ‘Now don’t you be bursting out angry! The poor man—he felt so rafted after his uplifting by the pa’son’s news—that he went up to Rolliver’s half an hour ago. He do want to get up his strength for his journey to-morrow with that load of beehives, which must be delivered, family or no. He’ll have to start shortly after twelve to-night, as the distance is so long.’ ‘Get up his strength!’ said Tess impetuously, the tears welling to her eyes. ‘O my God! Go to a public-house to get up his strength! And you as well agreed as he, mother!’ Her rebuke and her mood seemed to fill the whole room, and to impart a cowed look to the furniture, and candle, and children playing about, and to her mother’s face. ‘No,’ said the latter touchily, ‘I be not agreed. I have been waiting for ‘ee to bide and keep house while I go fetch him.’ ‘I’ll go.’
Phase 1, Chapter 3: Discussion Points • Theme of Responsibility: This chapter serves to illustrate the Durbeyfield home life. • Joan Durbeyfield has little respite from her routine work and little help from the rest of her family. • Durbeyfield himself spends as much free time as possible at the local bar. • In fact, one of the few chances for enjoyment that Joan Durbeyfield has is the opportunity to fetch her husband from Rolliver's and assume a position of authority over John. • In all this context we notice that either they do not take responsibility or they are unhappy about it. • For example Joan Durbeyfield proves herself to be as irresponsible as her husband, remaining at the bar when she means to take him away from it. • We notice that it is only Tess who remains committed and responsible. • She alone has the sense of responsibility to know that her family must come home. Theme of Superstitions: Mrs. Durbeyfield’s belief in superstitions and her trust in her fortune-telling book also demonstrate a strong, perhaps irrational hope in what the future holds. She believes that something good is meant to happen to her and her family and that it is only a matter of time until it does.
So far! • So far a few things are confirmed about the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Setting: • It begins with a rich, lavish description of the landscape that provides the setting of the novel. • This description helps establish the context and feel of the story that is to follow. • The novel is set in Wessex, a rustic and historical part of southwestern England that relies heavily on farming. This area, as we see it, has its own distinct customs, rituals, beliefs, and culture, and its inhabitants speak with a noticeable rural accent. • Hardy became well known for the richly detailed description in his novels, which serves an important function: as Hardy documents and includes many realistic details to present the area more fully, he enables us to enter into the story ourselves in a more concrete and richly imagined way. Local Rituals and customs • We first meet Tess at an event that marks a holiday from her everyday life. At the May Day dance, all the young women dress in white, carry white willow branches and white flowers, and dance with each other. • This local custom is, at its root, a symbolic ritual of purity and springtime. Local setup of social stature • Acceptance from a handsome man from a higher social class would mean a lot to them. Like Mr. Durbeyfield, these young local women yearn to escape poverty and the low social stature that their rural setting has brought to them.
Phase 1, Chapter 4 • At the inn, Tess’s young brother Abraham overhears Mr. and Mrs. Durbeyfield discussing their plans for Tess to take the news of her ancestry to the wealthy Mrs. d’Urberville in the hopes that she will make Tess’s fortune. • When Tess arrives, she realizes her father will probably be too tired and drunk to take his load of beehives to the market in a few hours. • So, she decides to go herself for this task with her younger brother Abraham. • On the way, Abraham tells Tess of their parents’ plans. • Then the topic changes and they start talking about astronomy. Knowing that stars contain clusters of worlds like their own, Abraham asks Tess if those worlds are better or worse than the world in which they live. • Tess replies that other stars are better and that their star is a “blighted one.” She blames the stars for her and her family’s misfortunes. • Abraham falls asleep, leaving Tess to contemplate. She also finally falls asleep. • (Before we move forward let us read some text.)
Text ‘Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘All like ours?’ ‘I don’t know; but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound—a few blighted.’ ‘Which do we live on—a splendid one or a blighted one?’ ‘A blighted one.’ ‘‘Tis very unlucky that we didn’t pitch on a sound one, when there were so many more of ‘em!’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is it like that REALLY, Tess?’ said Abraham, turning to her much impressed, on reconsideration of this rare information. ‘How would it have been if we had pitched on a sound one?’ ‘Well, father wouldn’t have coughed and creeped about as he does, and wouldn’t have got too tipsy to go on this journey; and mother wouldn’t have been always washing, and never getting finished.’
Cont… Chapter 4 • Suddenly, Tess and Abraham are awakened by a calamity. • They come to know that their carriage has collided with the local mail cart, and the collision has killed Prince, their old horse. • The carriage is hitched up to the wagon of a local farmer, who helps them bring the beehives toward the market in Casterbridge. • Now Tess feels very guilty at this carelessness and the resultant loss. • Whereas Tess blames herself, Abraham blames it for living on a blighted star. Tess does not know how to break the news to her family, realizing that the loss of their horse will be economically devastating for her family. • However, John Durbeyfield takes the news stoically. • Mr. Durbeyfield refuses to sell the dead horse; and he labors harder than he has in an entire month to bury his beloved horse.
Text Tess stood and waited. The atmosphere turned pale, the birds shook themselves in the hedges, arose, and twittered; the lane showed all its white features, and Tess showed hers, still whiter. The huge pool of blood in front of her was already assuming the iridescence of coagulation; and when the sun rose a hundred prismatic hues were reflected from it. Prince lay alongside, still and stark; his eyes half open, the hole in his chest looking scarcely large enough to have let out all that had animated him. ‘‘Tis all my doing—all mine!’ the girl cried, gazing at the spectacle. ‘No excuse for me—none. What will mother and father live on now? Aby, Aby!’ She shook the child, who had slept soundly through the whole disaster. ‘We can’t go on with our load—Prince is killed!’ When Abraham realized all, the furrows of fifty years were extemporized on his young face. ‘Why, I danced and laughed only yesterday!’ she went on to herself. ‘To think that I was such a fool!’ ‘‘Tis because we be on a blighted star, and not a sound one, isn’t it, Tess?’ murmured Abraham through his tears.
Phase 1, Chapter 4: Discussion Points Role of Tess: • Movement from Passive to Active • Agent of change • Victim of the sense of irresponsibility • key to her father's design to regain the family fortune Theme of Cruelty of Fate: Hardy returns to the idea of the cruelty of fate in this chapter. Discussion between Tess and Abraham concerning the stars shows it. The Accident • Tess's reaction to the accident is ironic, for Tess believes herself responsible for an event for which she had no control. She tried to be of some help but it turned out to be a disaster.
Phase 1, Chapter 5 • Joan Durbeyfield tells Tess about Mrs. d'Urberville living on the outskirts of The Chase, and tells Tess that she must go and claim kinship and ask for help. As Tess feels guilty over the death of their horse, she agrees with her mother’s plan to send her to Mrs. d’Urberville. • When she arrives, to her surprise she does not find the crumbling old mansion she expects, but rather a new and fashionable home. • She meets Mrs. d’Urberville’s son Alec, who is attracted by Tess’s beauty. • He agrees to try to help her. • However, he says that his mother is unwell; and he does not allow Tess to see his mother. • Alec also shows her the estate, and he promises that his mother will find a berth for her. He tells her not to bother with the Durbeyfield name, but she says she wishes for no better.
Phase 1, Chapter 5: Discussion Points • The death of Prince, the Durbeyfield's horse, leads Tess to surrendert to the will of her parents to go d'Urbervilles and beg them for financial help. • However, the main purpose of her mother is to send her there to find a suitable husband. • Her mother wants her to marry a gentleman who will provide for the Durbeyfields. • It is this aspect of the visit to the d'Urbervilles that disturbs Tess most and indicates her innocence. This introduces the theme of sexuality and innocence that will continue throughout the novel; at this point in the novel Tess represents. She is unaware of her own attraction and thus cannot perceive the danger that meeting with Alec can pose to her.
Phase 1, Chapter 6 • When Tess leaves Trantridge Cross to return home, her fellow travelers in the van remark about the roses that beautify her. Now for the first time she is aware of her own attraction. • Anyhow, when she returns home, she finds a letter. It is from Mrs. d’Urberville, offering her a job. Mrs. d'Urberville stated that Tess's services would be useful to her in the management of their poultry farm. • Tess does not want to go there, so she looks for other jobs closer to home, but she cannot find anything. • Later, Alec d'Urberville visits the Durbeyfields to see whether Tess was coming to their place or not. • Mother of Tess, Joan Durbeyfield thinks highly of Alec. She thinks of him as a handsome man; and assumes that Alec will marry Tess, but Tess tells her father that she does not like Alec. • Hoping to earn enough money to buy a new horse for her family, Tess accepts the d’Urbervilles’ job and decides to go back to Trantridge. On the other hand her mother wants her to go, assuming that she will marry, for she has been discovering matches for her daughter since she was born.
Phase 1, Chapter 6: Discussion Points • Tess is a pawn of others. She is just a puppet and the strings are moved by others. • For instance her mother, Joan Durbeyfield, uses her daughter specifically to make romantic matches in hopes of raising her own status. • She forces her to go to Alec’s place as she wants to find a gentleman for her. • It also indicates the social setup and norms. • Joan Durbeyfield is manipulative in a way, but it also indicates the lowly state in which Tess' mother lives. The only hope and possibility for her to raise her status is through the marriage of her daughter.
Chapter 7: Opening Text • On the morning appointed for her departure Tess was awake before dawn—at the marginal minute of the dark when the grove is still mute, save for one prophetic bird who sings with a clear-voiced conviction that he at least knows the correct time of day, the rest preserving silence as if equally convinced that he is mistaken. She remained upstairs packing till breakfast-time, and then came down in her ordinary week-day clothes, her Sunday apparel being carefully folded in her box. Her mother expostulated. ‘You will never set out to see your folks without dressing up more the dand than that?’ ‘But I am going to work!’ said Tess. ‘Well, yes,’ said MrsDurbeyfield; and in a private tone, ‘at first there mid be a little pretence o’t ... But I think it will be wiser of ‘ee to put your best side outward,’ she added. ‘Very well; I suppose you know best,’ replied Tess with calm abandonment. And to please her parent the girl put herself quite in Joan’s hands, saying serenely—‘Do what you like with me, mother.’ MrsDurbeyfield was only too delighted at this tractability. First she fetched a great basin, and washed Tess’s hair with such thoroughness that when dried and brushed it looked twice as much as at other times. She tied it with a broader pink ribbon than usual. Then she put upon her the white frock that Tess had worn at the club-walking. ………………………………
Phase 1, Chapter 7 • On the day Tess is scheduled to leave for the d’Urbervilles’ home, Mrs. Durbeyfield makes her wear her best clothes. • She dresses Tess up and is pleased by her own efforts. • On the other hand Mr. Durbeyfield is happy to think that he would be able to sell their family title. He even begins to speculate about a price at which he will sell their family title. • When Alec arrives to take Tess along, the family becomes uncertain that she is doing the right thing or not. The children cry, as does Mrs. Durbeyfield, who worries that Alec might try to take advantage of her daughter.
Phase 1, Chapter 7: Discussion Points Theme of Manipulation vs. Helplessness • Joan Durbeyfield consciously dresses her daughter for attracting men, and not for her labor of taking care of Mrs. d'Urberville's chickens. • Her remark that Tess's trump card' is her face is the most explicit declaration that Joan is sending her daughter to find a husband and not to work in a job. • Tess resists the idea that she is a sexual object sent for a commercial transaction that will save her family's financial situation. • However, Joan shows her first signs of guilt and self-awareness regarding what she does to her daughter. • Impeding danger can be sensed by the readers.
Use of Symbols So far! Tess of the d’Urbervilles is rich in symbolism. Various important symbols are: • Supposed noble heritage • White Dress of Tess • Prince • Dream (As Tess drives the wagon in Chapter IV she has a dream about a man of nobility who stands laughing at her and looking down on her plight. Tess wakes up to realize that she has killed her Prince)
Plot and Structure • As far as plot construction is concerned, Tess of the d’Urbervilles follows a simple but carefully constructed pattern. • Basic plot mechanisms are established but within the main structure we can see the construction of sub-structures. • The novel is divided into seven phases, each of which tells a concise and particular story within the larger story of Tess’s life. • Each phase is a stage showing a certain part of the movement of Tess from her simple country life to her tragic circumstances at the end of her life.
Phase 1,Chapter 8 • On the way to the d’Urberville estate, Alec drives recklessly, and Tess pleads with him to stop. • He continues at a fast pace and tells her to hold on to his waist. Out of fear of falling she does so. • While traveling down the next steep hill, he asks her to do so again but she refuses and requests him to slow down. • He agrees to drive more slowly, but makes some advances. Resistence of Tess makes angry. • They argue. She says that she thought that he would be kind to her as her kinsman. He calls her rather sensitive for a cottage girl, and calls her an artful hussy. • Anyhow, Tess finishes the journey on foot.
Phase 1, Chapter 8: Discussion Points Theme of Social Status: • Alec's reprimand of Tess as "rather sensitive for a cottage girl" serves to shatter the idea that Tess may marry a gentleman. As Alec observes, despite her distant family connections with him, Tess is of such lowly birth that she may consent to be the mistress of a gentleman but not his wife.
Phase 1, Chapter 9 • The next morning Tess meets Mrs. d’Urberville for the first time and discovers that the old woman is blind. Tess is surprised by Mrs. d’Urberville’s lack of appreciation for Tess’s coming to work for her. Mrs. d’Urberville asks Tess to place each of the fowls on her lap so she can examine and pet them. • Thus, Tess begins to care for the birds in Mrs. d'Urberville's poultry house. • She tells Tess to whistle to her bullfinches every morning. Tess agrees but later on she is unable to blow any whistles. • Alec agrees to help her remember how to do so. • Alec gives Tess a lesson to perform this job. Repeated interaction with Alec d'Urberville removes Tess's original shyness toward him. • One day, when Tess is whistling to the bullfinches in Mrs. d'Urberville's room while she is absent, Tess hears a rustling behind the bed. Alec has been hiding behind the curtains.
Phase 1, Chapter 9: Discussion Points Theme of Social Status continues: • Tess's first meeting with Mrs. d'Urberville further affirms the place of Tess back to her original place in the social order. • Mrs. d'Urberville is impersonal and she treats Tess as a mere rural servant girl and not as a relative. Actually she does not even know that Tess is a distant relation. • This means that Elec has not told his mother about their relation with Tess. This also indicates his future intensions.
Phase 1, Chapter 10 • The village of Trantridge demonstrates a particular levity. People indulge in the pleause of drinking rather they drink hard. • It is customary to visit Chaseborough, a decaying market town several miles away to drink and have fun. • Tess did not join in these weekly visits. • However, after several weeks at the d’Urbervilles’, she goes to the market. • Tess realizes that she likes it and plans to make future returns to this place. • Several months later, she goes to the market and discovers that Alec too is there. • There she finds a barn where the residents are dancing. Tess does not abhor dancing, but she did not want to do so, for the movement of the dancers grew more passionate. • That evening, she waits for some friends to walk her home and declines Alec’s offer to take her home. • When her friends are ready to leave, Tess finds that some of them are drunk, and that state they express their anger over Tess winning all of Alec’s attention. • This leads to an unpleasant situation. • Suddenly Alec appears on his horse, and to avoid further unpleasant happenings Tess finally agrees to let him carry her away.
Phase1, Chapter 10: Discussion Points Issue of Social Class: • Throughout this chapter, Hardy places Tess d'Urberville as an outsider among the working class laborers. • With them she is out of place. • Her status is evident even to Car Darch (with whom she had an unpleasant situation), who immediately notices when Tess laughs and ignores the others. • While Tess is simple and innocent when she is confronted by Car, she appears as strikingly out of place among the others. Car provides a stark contrast to Tess as she is a vulgar woman who is ready to quarrel. • If the previous chapters emphasized that Tess is not a member of the upper orders, this chapter disputes the idea that she is one of the lower class.
Phase1, Chapter11 • Tess admits to Alec that she is much obliged to him. • Alec lets the horse wander off the path and deep into the woods, where he tries to convince Tess to take him as a lover. • Alec continuously makes advances that are refused by Tess. • She finds that Alec has prolonged the ride home, and they are now in The Chase, the oldest wood in England. Tess calls him treacherous, and asks him to let her down so she may walk home. He agrees to let her walk home only after he finds a nearby house and ascertains their distance from Trantridge. • He gives Tess his coat and goes to look for a landmark. Still trying to win her favor as a lover, he tells Tess that he has bought her father a new horse. When he returns, Tess is asleep, and Alec uses the opportunity to take advantage of her. Finally Alec is succesful in seducing Tess.
Structure of Phase 1: Role of Chance • Structurally, the main plot follows a linear progression, depicting the direct progress of Tess’s life from the time her father learns of their noble heritage to her falling prey to Alec d’Urberville’s advances. • This event is truly a catastrophe for her, because in Victorian England such encounter would bring bad name to a woman. • Thus, Tess’s fall can be seen as a direct result of her father’s discovery of their noble descent. Tess is sent to take advantage of the familial connection, but instead, Alec takes advantage of her. • The plot is built around many unfortunate coincidences and chances. • Through this hardy conveys his philosophy that the universe itself in the guise of fate, opposes Tess and brings about her tragedy.
Use of Symbols • The imagery of mist and shadows mirrors Tess’s inner landscape, reflecting her own confusion and insecurity. • This setting also reflects the mystery within which Hardy cloaks what actually happens to Tess that night. Hardy never reveals the specific details that would enable us to decide for ourselves whether Tess is a willing participant or a victim.
As far as References of Materials Used are concerned at the end of the novel the whole list of references would be given in the last session of the novel.
Summary of the Session • We started Phase 1 • We covered chapters 1-11 and finish phase 1. • In doing so we covered the following aspects: • Explored the text of these chapters • Explored related themes • Discussed the development of characters • Critically analyzed the selected parts of text
As far as References of Materials Used are concerned at the end of the novel the whole list of references would be given in the last session of the novel.