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[[ Download Epub ]] ñ Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented Ù Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780141439594.When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her cousin Alec proves to be her downfall A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. I need to start by venting all the despair I felt reading Thomas Hardy s Tess of the D Ubervilles This tale is certainly not Pride or Prejudice or even Jane Eyre where the heroines have the prospect or the hope of happiness What could a woman of Tess s time and situation hope for Contentment But not even that was in store for our poor heroine Tess sweet, loving nature is invariably abused by men, specifically the two central male characters of Alec D Urberville and Angel Clare The road that these two men lead her down becomes increasingly terrible and depressing But what makes it worst is that Tess herself felt she deserved her fate Yes, I found the story compelling but too sad and disheartening, and if it were not for Thomas Hardy superb writing, I would find myself not enjoying it at all Yes, it almost makes me feel angry with Hardy, for Tess seems to make decisions that regularly could not be the worst choice She seems never to catch a break So, our heroine resigns herself to a bleak future at best, having learned to consider herself through the brutal prism of social convention Never in her life she could swear it from the bottom of her soul had she ever intended to do wrong, yet these hard judgments had come Whatever her sins, they were not sins of intention, but of inadvertence, and why should she have been punished so persistently What insensibility the rigid morals that applied to women in Victorian England Hardy demonstrates it superbly, even if by doing it he made me weep But that was the reality of the times Morals and attitudes shaped women as inferior and subservient to men Aren t there traces of those views even nowadays In fact, there was no escape for Tess And Hardy goes beyond, portraying majestically the peril unhealthy relationships hold He does not need to idolize anything all is there plain to see She might have seen that what had bowed her head so profoundly the thought of the world s concern at her situation was founded on illusion She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself To all humankind besides, Tess was only a passing thought May Hardy have gone too far I question myself Tess carries her sufferings and guilt through her entire life, but I found myself wanting for a reprieve Hardy hits you over and over again with Tess s misery that reading his story I sometimes wanted to abandon her Wuthering Heights is full of darkness, but at least the mystery, atmosphere and stronger than life characters appealed to me While for Tess there is only disillusionment, adversity and despair and I found myself wanting a reprieve Hardy hits you over and over again with such misery that reading it sometimes I was urged to forget her That did not happen when I was reading Wuthering Heights What I feel is that there are shades of darkness, and I prefer Emily Bront s gloom Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book However, I certainly will not revisit it, knowing ultimately of Tess s cruel destiny For my pleasure reads, I will stick with the happily ever after of Lizzy Bennet, or the brooding of Heathcliff that seems stronger than death But meanwhile, I have to appreciate Hardy s talent and perseverance in writing such a bleak story, for it is a reality that dreadful things happen to nice people. HEADLINE A bad guy who is fabulously talented in bed and a good guy who fumbles sex can complicate life for a girl.I ought to have my head examined for undertaking a review of Tess of the d Ubervilles, the next to the last of Thomas Hardy s novels My purpose in considering the idea was that I might perhaps persuade one other person to read this novel who might not otherwise I am all about service to my fellow man However, there are strange aspects of this novel that when discussed in remove from the novel itself can make it sound off putting I will mention a few of those without emphasizing them They involve weird twists in the plot handed us through the vehicle of some strange scenes On the other hand I do not wish simply to offer diamond like passages from this novel, although that is tempting But let us take a shot here.Tess is the eldest daughter in a poor family in 19th century England The novel follows events in her life from the time she is sixteen until she is approximately 21, let us say There are a multitude of detailed plot outlines of this novel to be found elsewhere on line The only valuable supplement to those that I can offer is to say bluntly what those plot outlines say in such a roundabout way that it loses impact or can be missed entirely Tess is one hot looking sixteen year old female human being It is out of the fact that Tess is one hot looking sixteen year old that all the action of this novel arises At the time of her first seduction, or rape, she is described as one who has a coarse pattern laid over her beautiful feminine tissue So in picturing her, we must picture her as something much than simply a pretty young girl, although she is certainly that She is a pretty young girl with that look about her that drives men wild that look about her being something rarely encountered in a girl so young.Some part of that look about her derives from her unity with nature or should we say Nature with a capital N since we are after all talking about a Thomas Hardy novel I would rather put it this way She is earthy When Hardy writes about her when she is in relatively unspoiled natural surroundings, it is apparent that she herself is very much at home in and a natural part of those surroundings.Hardy places our hot looking sixteen year old girl in an environment with some problems It is an environment wherein the Victorian morals of society are so completely at odds with the nature of men and women generally, and particularly in the realm of sex.Second, she inhabits a rural area of England where the quality of life is slowly deteriorating Hardy does not impose upon us with some heavy handed social commentary at all Rather, this social commentary is portrayed seamlessly along with the characters and the action As an example, there is a great contrast between the portrayal of Tess s life as a milkmaid early in the novel, which is idyllic and almost lyrically described, and her life later in hard labor on a farm, the slave of a threshing machine You must notice stuff like this if you are going to do big time literature.But let me get back to the sex because I know that is what probably piqued your interest For women heterosexual sex requires men, as much as women may at times regret this Hardy supplies the men here in the form of two male knotheads named Alec and Angel She is raped by the wealthy Alec who drugged her with a delicious strawberry, and has his child, which immediately dies She falls in love with the decent Angel who lacks wits but is under the mistaken impression that he has them in spades She marries Angel, only to be abandoned by him when he finds out about her past She becomes Alec s mistress Alec now, ala Roman Polanski, regrets the strawberry drugging and the rape partly for economic reasons A girl s gotta eat The other part of her reasons are addressed below A repentant Angel flies back to her, a tad late to the dance as usual, only after she has just murdered Alec The two of them end up at Stonehenge of all places, where she is apprehended after the police let her complete a nap There are a lot of puzzling sleep episodes in this novel Again, you must notice stuff like that if you are going to do big time literature I think that we can safely conclude that Alec, the bad guy, is sexually skillful in the sack He knows what he is doing with a woman and likes to do it a lot The good guy, Angel, fumbles in this area I mean, the good guy, Angel, chooses to sleep on the couch during his wedding night rather than have sex with one of the hottest young women in the country Why Because he finds out that she has had sex before Whew This is the kind of thing that can complicate life for a girl, I understand And now, thanks to this novel, I do understand I wanted to kick both of those guys asses at one point or another, but of course I was feeling a little paternal about this poor hot looking sixteen year old girl I refer to them as knotheads, but both do evolve and develop during the course of the novel in what we could simplistically call a favorable direction The problem and it is this problem that gives us our story is that neither of them evolves and develops quickly enough to remedy the horrendous impact their earlier conduct has had on poor Tess and save her Angel finally comes to the realization that it does not make any difference if she has previously had sex with both the football team and the marching band She is nonetheless a quality human being whom that nitwit should feel undeservedly blessed to have as a wife.I say poor Tess, but Tess is not passive She is a girl of action and decision She makes choices She acts on those choices We readers like Tess immensely It is just that we as readers are continually frustrated with the choices she makes She is not very old So this is natural However, part of the great entertainment afforded by this novel for the reader is contemplating what her alternative choices were and whether those might have resulted in any better an outcome for her After great thought, insofar as I do great thought, I have concluded that none of those other choices would have My personal view is that she was doomed from the outset by the mere fact that she was one hot looking sixteen year old female human being in a society where that made for nothing but trouble The tragedy is that in 21st Century America, this could have made her queen of the hop I might be wrong You will have fun coming to your own conclusions.I had given a spoiler alert at the beginning, but the facts of the plot that I set out above are not really spoilers It is not at all that unusual a 19th Century plot, other than the conclusion is grim than usual and the sex is prominently on display in that Alec and Tess actually do have a lot of sex, as in intercourse and all the accompanying accoutrements presumably At least Alec was no Bill Clinton The great pleasure in reading this story is Hardy s manner of telling it even if you know what is going to happen Anyone who knows anything about Hardy will know that Tess is not going to come to a good end anyway.There you go That is the best I can do I urge you not to miss out on this novel And please do not respond by telling me that you saw the PBS production Give me a break This is a great novel, to be enjoyed as a novel. Tess of the d Urbervilles is not a feel good book, which sharply sets it apart from the other 19th century novels about young women think Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, for instance No, it s sad and depressing to the point where it almost makes me angry Because poor Tess, prone to making choice that are invariably the worst for her, just cannot catch a break Because it s like she has majorly pissed off some higher power s that be and they are taking revenge, giving her the most rotten luck Because Tess seems to have resigned herself to a future with few silver linings, having learned to view herself through the cruel prism of social conventions Because it lacks any happiness and warm fuzzies that would make you want to reread this book while curled up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate on a cold rainy day This lack of any feel good warm fuzzies and Hardy s relentless destruction of anything that can make Tess life tolerable and, of course, combined with the fact that this book apparently is on the required reading list for many high schoolers and we all know how intolerable the books we have been coerced to read as teens can appear may be at least partially responsible for why so many of my GR friends dislike it the same people who apparently have enjoyed other 19th century novels about young women And yet I liked it Maybe because I read it without anyone s coercion, without being forced to see the symbolism or make analyses of the themes and all that bullshit that high school students have to put up with during the endless hours of English classes Never in her life she could swear it from the bottom of her soul had she ever intended to do wrong yet these hard judgments had come Whatever her sins, they were not sins of intention, but of inadvertence, and why should she have been punished so persistently Because, all symbolism aside blah blah, Tess Nature destroyed by civilization and all that , Hardy seems to be doing a pretty good job showing the stupidity of rigid morals applied to women in Victorian England the morals and attitudes that made women inferior and subservient to men Because quite a few things are wrong when a rapist offering to marry his victim is considered a good resolution to the situation as he must be her real husband because he was the first to claim her vagina with his penis, regardless of whether she wanted him then or wants him now Because something is wrong when a woman becomes damaged goods in the eyes of the society because of someone else s action actually, when, regardless of the action, her worth is based on the state of intactness of her hymen That attitude did not die with Victorian era, of course It is still perpetuated and fed to the young members of the society Think, for instance, of all the young adult heroines that are pure by the virtue of their virginity while there always or almost always appears to be an evil side character a slut who dares to be sexually experienced Guess who is invariably preferred by all the romantic interests That s right Sluts are put in their place pretty quickly Ugh.Hardy does a great job portraying unhealthy relationships in this book without attempting to convince the reader that those are actually normal I will not go into details about the unhealthiness of Tess relationship with her rapist that s self evident But her doomed relationship with Angel Clare is also painted as unhealthy and dangerous and not alluringly dangerous, like many books are prone to depict such situations Tess feelings for him are blinding and obsessive and the danger of those are clearly shown, as she is ready to lose herself in him and even die for his sake Angel s feelings are treated equally harshly as instead of respecting and admiring Tess for the person she is he idolizes what he thinks she is, he creates an idea of her being who he wants her to be and in that remains completely blind to who she actually is Hardy s portrayal of that ill fated relationship definitely does not glamorize the unhealthy aspects of it, and I applaud him for it..I did enjoy reading a book about a 19th century young woman who does not belong to the privileged class, and whose ideas of poverty are not simply living in a smaller cottage and not being able to attend fancy balls I liked the idea of a woman who is capable of work and does not shy away from it I loved how much Hardy tried to emphasize that the stereotypes of peasants as faceless mass of idiots were not true, and how he stayed away from glamorizing money and pedigree Tess supposed noble descent brings her nothing but pain, after all She might have seen that what had bowed her head so profoundly the thought of the world s concern at her situation was founded on illusion She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself To all humankind besides, Tess was only a passing thought Overall I enjoyed this book, but I m not sure I will ever reread it, knowing now the turn the events in Tess life take For my pleasure reads I will stick with the happily ever after of Lizzy Bennet, thank you very much But meanwhile I ll be appreciating that Hardy had the perseverance to write a non feel good story of bad things happening to good people, with lessons we can learn from it even now 3.75 stars rounding up to 4. there will probably be spoilers here i will possibly rant if you don t know what happens in tess, it is better not to read this review, although, frankly, to my way of thinking, hardy has so many superior novels, stories, poems, that you would be better served just avoiding this one and going on to one of the great ones like jude or mayor of casterbridge instead but there is something sneaking up in me a bubblingly vague feeling of well wishing for poor doomed tess, that makes me think i might convince myself of this novel s adequacy, if not greatness, by the end of the review.there that should serve as enough blathering to hide any actual spoilers from the feed.who knew when i woke up this morning that i would be writing a review of my least favorite thomas hardy novels no one.but i find myself thinking of this book a lot, lately having just come off another retail christmas at the book factory, and having had my readers advisory skills put to the test in such a major way once , i feel like i should say something about this book because i am so conflicted about it, and every time i am called upon to suggest a classic or a sad book, i find myself automatically drawn to hardy, and i always say the same thing, except for tess i never suggest tess.and it is infuriating because i know for a fact that tess was hardy s favorite female character and i love hardy i trust him but, lordWHAT DOES HE SEE IN HER tess is loyal, and passionate, but utterly hopeless she makes all the wrong decisions, but she just keeps barreling along, blithely well, not blithely like trudging along determinedly hardy s whole philosophy, in his books, is that you make a mistake and you never ever stop paying for it but it is hard to see, in this book, just which mistake is the origin of the misery.if anything, the mistake is not tess own, but her father s, in getting too drunk to drive, putting tess in the position of accidentally killing their horse as she takes the reins ooh, a pun this is of course, shades of mayor of casterbridge drinking causes all sorts of accidents.is the accident that of overreaching one s situation in life can t be, because the fake d urberville s are doing just fine with their purchased title, while the real ones are living in poverty.is the mistake getting raped probably not that it s her fault, obviously, but damn, girl learn to recognize those wolves but no obviously someone in tess position is not going to recognize a risk when she sees one sweet dummy sweet beloved by her creator dummy i can only assume that in this book, that is meant to be the origin because everything that happens after that is just one kick in the balls.a ruined reputation, a dead child, falling for a man named angel freaking clare i mean, honestly this should really have been another signal no man named angel clare is ever going to be open minded, even if he has his own secrets, hypocritical bastard ugh, and then the rest of it oh, god that damned rug what a terrible way to communicate sensitive information, tess that is vintage hardy, though, and that plot development i am totally okay with in fact, i think it is genius but then oh god redemption for an unsavory character and illness and death and forgiveness TOO LATE and murder and then THE WORST ENDING OF ALL TIME seriously stonehenge you can t think of a subtler location than that for your situation oh, hardy, you failed me there.and the ending is what ruins the book for me, at the end of the day because i am going through this bit by bit now, in writing this review, and that is pretty much my biggest gripe tess as a character is fine she wouldn t be my favorite in all of literature, but she makes sense, as someone in her position she s no bathsheba everdene, who is obviously hardy s most interesting and complicated female character, but she means well, and she is definitely a survivor, but of the limping variety than the warrior kind.and the series of misfortunes is also fine unlikely, and depressing, but fine nowhere near as perfectly intricate as mayor, with its amaaaazing resolution, but it is tidy and appropriate, all told.yup now that i have actually sat down with this, it is simply the presence of stonehenge that so grates upon me fuck stonehenge and your sacrificial maidens it clangs, as an ending it is like someone letting loose a wombat during a funeral thomas hardy isn t supposed to be silly, and this ending it unarguably silly so, there it is, mes amis tess redeemed through the power of review writing.but no amount of review writing will ever get me to accept stonehenge stupid stonehenge.come to my blog