Thomas hardy employs minor female characters much akin to the way Bob Ross uses background to accentuate the main focus of his paintings. The minor female character of Joan Durbeyfield consistently reveals herself as a somewhat simple-minded and naturally forgiving mother. Her motivation stems from her desire for Tess to succeed in life, even when she and Tess disagree on what success means. Due to her down to earth and simple style, the character of Joan appears very plausible to the reader. By careful examination of her consistency, by discussing her motivation, and by assessing her plausibility, one may learn how the character of Joan Durbeyfield supports Tess in Thomas Hardy?s Tess of the d?Urbervilles.
Joan exemplifies the characteristics of plain spoken earthiness very consistently throughout the novel. Joan?s unschooled mode of speech stands out as a very solid example of this. Although often at odds with one another, Tess?s relationship with her mother does not suffer any significant change throughout the text.
Regardless of her disappointment over Tess? choice not to marry Alec, Joan quickly forgives her this and many other things when Tess becomes her primary means of support. Humanity?s greatest weakness stems from its humanness.
Motivated more by her own desire for success then for her daughter?s, Joan finds herself often at odds with Tess. Desiring more from life then the lot given her, Joan tries to make Tess become what she could not. Throughout the novel Joan tries to get Tess to marry Alec, but with little success. She believes Tess would find herself better off if she married him, however, she relents when she falls on hard times and must seek financial support from Tess. The ties that bind do not always outweigh the desires that drive.