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The blaming and shaming of a good girl PDF Print E-mail

After reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles I feel like a changed person. I never knew that a book could affect me so much. The novel tells the story of Tess, a beautiful and loyal young woman who I couldn’t help falling in love with.

The ruined maid

‘O’Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosper-ity?’
‘O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?’ said she.

‘You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright feathers three!’
‘Yes, that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,’ said she.

‘At home in the barton you said ‘thee’ and ‘thou’,
And ‘think oon’, and ‘theas oon’, and ‘t’other’; but now
Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high company!’
‘Some polish is gained with one’s ruin,’ said she.

‘Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak
But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek,
And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!’
‘We never do work when we’re ruined,’ said she.

‘You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you’d sigh, and you’d sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!’
‘True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,’ said she.

‘I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town.’
‘My dear - a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,’ said she.
- Thomas Hardy 1866

Throughout the book I was always on her side. Some of the characters are great too and will really move you.

The novel is based around seven chapters, or phases, as Hardy calls them. These reflect the seven stages of her life. Tess is an uncomplicated girl, not to say that

by Katelin Dolton
the story is. I was always ready for the next event to happen, even if I guessed it wasn’t going to be good news. Hardy foreshadows the ending, but try as I might I couldn’t decide which way he would take it.

If a similar book were to be written in these times, it would be different, utterly different, but I suspect not better. This is one area of permissiveness that is to our advantage. Poor Tess, the Victorian intolerance ruined her life.

The audience of today will sympathise with Tess – how could they not? However it is important to remember that to Victorian readers she was wicked. Hard to believe it – as Tess is such a wonderful person – but morals were very different then.

Extraordinary and gifted

Hardy writes the novel in a way to make sure that the audience always feels sorry or happy for Tess. This must have been a real challenge and a show of courage for Hardy. To me, it shows what an extraordinary and gifted writer he was. This story reveals his true talents.

When I started reading Tess, I confess I expected a rather boring classic. However, after the second chapter I was hooked. I made my friends promise not to tell me what was going to happen next.

I wanted that moment all to myself. The end was worth waiting for.

If you want a good book and are prepared to have your emotions struck as if by lightning then Tess is for you.

The ending of the book, well, I almost cried. With happiness or sadness, I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles - PDF format
Tess of the d'Urbervilles - in EPUB format
Tess of the d'Urbervilles - in MOBI format

Three other great Hardy novels:
Far From the Madding Crowd - mobi
A Pair of Blue Eyes - mobi
Under the Greenwood Tree - mobi

Some online interest:
All about the novel
How does the story end?
The story's ending on Shmoop
Tess's death - YouTube
Wikipedia on the novel
Summary and analysis from GradeSaver
Fun Trivia about Thomas Hardy

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