Tess of the d’Ubervilles

As a connoisseur of classic books, I knew I had to read Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, seeing as it’s quite a popular classic. I delved into it, disliking the beginning and feeling as if the story would go no where, so I put it down for a bit and rented some other books from the library. The books from the library sucked big time! I was then forced to finish the one remaining book I hadn’t read yet that I had at my disposal during lunch break at work. I’m quite glad circumstances worked out that way, because I highly enjoyed the experience of reading such a strange and yet very profound story.

One of the things I love most about this book is Hardy’s very passionate and deep writing. He writes in a way that enables us to see the scene right in front of our eyes or feel the emotions of the characters. It’s not often that I come upon books today that match the style of Hardy’s detailed and brilliant prose. We have certainly lost that beauty of language where large, descriptive, vivid words are used. Today, it’s more about simplicity. But I love the depth and the journey the older generation of authors took us on when they wrote their stories. They cause you to have to think a lot more and journey into your emotions, asking yourself questions along the way. As an example of the beauty of Hardy’s writing in this book, take this passage for instance: “Her affection for him was now the breath and life of Tess’s being; it enveloped her as a photosphere, irradiated her into forgetfulness of her past sorrows, keeping back the gloomy spectres that would persist in their attempts to touch her- doubt, fear, moodiness, care, shame. She knew that they were waiting like wolves just outside the circumscribing light, but she had longs spells of power to keep them in hungry subjection there.” Isn’t that just beautiful wording? I thought so at least. Anyway, enough rambling…

The story is about Tess, a young and innocent girl whose life is changed one dreadful night when she is forced to have sex with a young man (I never really got if it was rape or if she was coaxed into it). This leads to a whole domino effect of anguish and tragedy that chases her throughout her entire life, never leaving her alone again. It affects her entire existence and leads to a conclusion I was not expecting at all. It’s a story of forbidden love, passion, hatred, anger, bitterness, and a whole slew of other abstract emotions. I really don’t want to give much away. You just have to read what happens to this young girl and follow her on her journey as she struggles with the cruelty of life.

Citation: Hardy, Thomas, and Linda M. Shires. Tess of the D’Ubervilles. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Print.


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