Joe Taeffner 10/21 Tess of the Derbervilles Causal Analyses SUMMARY

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Joe Taeffner 10/21 Tess of the Derbervilles Causal Analyses SUMMARY Tess of the Derbervilles is an English novel of the 1890's. In it, the main character, Tess, is part of an impoverished family of English peasants. Her father learns that they are descended from a very old, landed, gentile family that has since died out. When the family horse dies, Tess is sent to claim kinship with what they think are distant relatives. IN actuality, they have merely annexed the name, but do not let this be known to Tess. Tess takes a job as a servant girl for the family, and catches the eye of the young man of the family, Alec. They casually flirt for some weeks, and Tess is very happy. But then, all is ruined. Alec rapes Tess, and she bears his child, which dies less than a month after birth.

After some weeks, Tess sets off for to work in a dairy, which, it turns out, is actually on the ancestral lands of the Derbervilles.

Here, she meets a young man of the gentile class learning to be a farmer named Angel. He takes a liking to Tess, and they eventually get married, However, because of the prevailing thought patterns of the time, Tess is an unfit women for marriage. She has been de-flowered, and upon hearing this, Angel sends her packing. After a year or more of not seeing Angel, Tess runs into Alec, who has since become a preacher, and eventually comes to live with him. When Angel seeks Tess out and wishes for her to return to him, h e finds that she has married, and she has to send him away. When she tells Alec that she feels she still loves him, they get into an argument and he tells Tess that they are not related in any way and that he merely annexed the name Derberville. This sends Tess into a rage and she kills him. She finds Angel and they beat a hasty escape. Tess is captured some days later, tried for murder and hanged.

ANALYSES Throughout the story, one misfortune begets more misfortune for Tess, and whenever it seems that she may have found happiness, her past comes back to haunt her.

However, merely all of her misfortunes can be traced back to one event in the beginning of the story. In the opening scene, Tess and a group of her friends are attending a spring dance in a meadow, which Angel and his brother happen upon while walking through the countryside. He dances with one of the other girls, simply because he does not see Tess. ' Had he danced with her then instead of four years later, they may have fallen in love then, and of Tess's unpleasantness may have been avoided. It all begins, however, when the family horse dies. Tess's father has to deliver some beehives to a storeowner.

Unfortunately, he gets very drunk, and cannot make the journey. Being the oldest child, Tess and two of her brothers make the journey. On route, their cart is hit by a mail carriage, and their horse, Prince, is killed. This is why Tess must go and claim kinship with the Derbervilles, to ask for some financial assistance. If her father had no been such a drinker, she might have never met Alec Derberville.

When Tess meets Alec, there is an obvious attraction on his part. While Tess does not pursue him, she does not rebuff his advances. She merely leads him on, and this eventually leads to her rape by Alec. This is the reason why Angel leaves her, even though his love for her is deep. But again, had he merely noticed her at the spring dance some years before, all of this might have been avoided. This piece has a very strong cause and effect relationship, with one misfortune leading to another.