A Book Review on Tess of d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Brief analysis on the characterisation, imagery, use of language, themes etc.

Essay by vlad5017High School, 10th grade August 2004

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Tess of D'Urbervilles is written by Thomas Hardy and is first published in 1891. The story is set back in Victorian England when sexual and social hypocrisy could be found in the society. The book was very controversial at that time because of the critiques towards the strict Victorian moral code. The novel centers around a young woman, Tess, who struggles to find her place in society. She is sent to a noble household, d'Urbervilles to claim kin with them. Instead, she comes back with shame and humiliation. The story continues with how Tess deals with her disappointments in life, struggling against her past and finally defeated by fate.

Tess of D'Urbervilles is a romantic novel. Ironically, hate plays a more important role than love. Although hope and happiness are also present in some places in the book, they are overshadowed by the sorrows. Before starting the novel, readers should realize this is a sobering read.

Though it is beautifully written, some content are quite troubling. In short, it is a dark romance.

As a novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is organized into seven phases, each reflecting a period of Tess's life: The first phase, "The Maiden," begins with Tess as an innocent girl of sixteen, who is totally unaware of the dangers of the world. At the end of the phase, she is no longer a maiden, for Alec has stolen her purity. The second phase, "Maiden No More," has Tess returning to her parents' home from Trantridge, filled with guilt and self-hatred. In the third phase, "The Rally," Tess matures into a beautiful girl who strikes out on her own. She becomes a milkmaid at Talbothay's Dairy, and Angel enters her life. The fourth phase, "The Consequence," shows Angel's courtship of Tess and her great efforts to reveal...