Reasons of tragic life of Tess

Academic Writing

学号 09004110407

姓名 朱丹


Reasons of tragic life of Tess

Tess is the heroine of the novel of The Tess of the D’urbervilles, written by Thomas Hardy, a famous critical realistic writer. The novel tells the tragic story of Tess: to help the family, she goes to get contact with the D’urbervilles who are thought to be their relatives. After seduced by Alec the D’urbervillers, she goes to a farm where she meets her husband Angel Clare. Knowing the past of Tess, Angel abandons her. Later, Angel ang Tess see again when Tess is the lover of Alec. Out of true love of Angel, she kills Alec for what he says about Angel. This also leads to her death. The paper focuses on what causes tragic life of Tess. The aims to analysis the reasons of tragic life of Tess. The paper concludes that : family reason is the direct reason; social enviroment is essential and the character of Tess is another one. Through this paper, it’s believed that we will get a better understanding of the 2 society that time.

Key Words: Tess

tragic life of Tess; family reason; social enviroment; the character of

摘 要
苔丝是批判现实主义作家托马斯·哈代的小说《德伯家的苔丝》里的女主人公。小说讲述 了女主人公为帮助家里摆脱困境,去德伯家认亲。不幸的是,苔丝受到了花花公子阿里克的 诱奸。在一个农场,她遇到了安其儿,也是她后来的丈夫。当苔丝把自己的一切告诉安其儿 后,安其儿却抛弃了苔丝。由于环境所迫,苔丝成了阿里克的情人。后来苔丝杀了说安其儿 坏话的阿里克。这也导致了她的死亡。苔丝一生命运悲惨。本文聚焦于是什么引起了其悲惨 命运。本文分析引起苔丝悲惨命运的原因。从而得出结论:家庭因素是直接原因;社会环境 是较重要原因;苔丝的性格是另一个原因。



Introduction Ⅰ. Hardy was the last important novelist of the Victorian Age. In his Wessex novels, he vividly and truthfully described the tragic lives of the tenants.He was pessimistic in his view of life.His philosophy was that everying in the universe is determined by the Immanent Will. Ⅱ. Background of the novel. The story happened in the late time of the Victorian Age in Britain during which the farmers had no landsand were at the bottom of the society. The farmers had never equal rights as the capitalist class who were hyprocisy. The society has a patriarchal social system. It was thought that the first sex of girl was the privilege of her husband. In the family, thwere were 7 children whose father was a drunkard. They were depend on the little payment of the mother.Tess was the oldest child.

⑴.Family Reason At the beginning of the novel, it depicts a scene that will change the fate of Tess in the future. The father of Tess was a lazy and foolish peddler. As a man, in stead of bearing the burden of family, he was a drunkard and looked unfit. In the upheaval of society, in place of facing the reality bravely, he was engrossed in a fancy that he was the descendant of good blood. Tess’s mother was a milker at first.Later, she could only earn a little money by washing clothes for others. But she was in a state of unemployment in later time. She was vulgar, superfical and simpleminded. As the oldest child of the family, Tess had to help to reduce the heavy burden of the family. After leaving school, Tess earned money by working sign that the life of Tess would be full of frustrations. Tess’s father heared the news that ther were the the descendant of a knight family the D’urbervilles. He was too pleased to go on working as usual. Instead, he drinked more. As a result, Tess had no choice butto go to the market on the behalf of her father. Unfortunately, on the way, there was an accident in which the horse Prince was died. Prince was the only means of production that they can rely on. The death of Prince hightened the family’s poverty. Thus, Tess accepted her mother’s suggestion that they should get contact with their relatives—the D’urbervilles. Before leaving, the mother dressed her up.Bother the father ang mother knew what it meant for Tess. They wanted to change the poor condition of the family if Tess could marry with a rich man. Their foolishness to the society deprived therir daughter of her happiness. As the words in the novel〝…when Tess was hurt, no one could protect

her, even the God had slept…〞There was no doubt that the poor condition of the family was the direct and the most begging reason. If not for their poverty ,Tess would not had gone to the market in the night; if not for their poverty ,Tess’s parents would not had compelled Tess to recognise relative relation with the D’urbervilles; if not for their poverty, Tess would not had received so much humilization before the returning oh her husband Angel Clare. Hardy once said that family was part of Tess’s body and life. Not getting rid of family also signed thst Tess could not get away from a tragic life. ⑵. Social Background Family is the smallest unit of society. The upheaval of society unavoidly bring about changes to family. Tess lived in a changing time when England was shifting from agricultural economy to machine production. To some degree, Tess’s life of tragedy was historical inevitability. The death of Prince made the family lose their last base of economy. Tess’s family had to get involved in the proletariant. Out of willing, Tess had no choice but to get contact with the pseud capitalist Alec D’urbervilles to work for them so as to tackle the poor condiction of family. This was Tess’s first step in becoming a proletarian. From this time on, her life became the life of a proletarian from pastoral life. And she became an agricultural worker earning money by selling her labour. During this time, Tess was seduced by Alec and gave birth to a child who died in infancy. The people in her countryside could not accept that kind of thing and contempted Tess. They thought that Tess set a bad example for their children. The countrymen even exil them after the death of Tess’s father. When Tess fed her child, she kept a far distance from other farmers in the field. When Tess asked a clergyman 5 to baptize for her son, the clergyman didn’t agree because her son was illegal. All of those showed people’s hypocrisy. Alec was another example. His actions of helping Tess’s family, teaching Tess to learn whistle, etc, wre based on the desire of possession of Tess. This was not out of true love, but out of Tess’s beauty and his possessive desire. Moreover, Alec was not ashamed of his badness even though he clearly knew the fact. It revealed the capilatists’ hypocrisy and pesud morality. Nay, the society of that time was not just. It was a society of hegemony father right.There was a thought that girls’ first time of sex was the privilege of her husband. On the wedding night ,tess confessed to Angel her seduction by Alec. Though Angel had done the same thing with a woman in France, on hearing her wife’s tale, his old fashioned prejudices overcame him and he abandoned Tess. The break of agricultural economy, the deprivation of farmers’ land and means of production Tess lived in such a changing age. As the represtative of the farmers , Tess’s tragic life was constructed in the development of society. All in all, Tess was the sacrificial victim of the society. ⑶. Tess’s Character Intelligent, striking attractive and distinguished by her deep moral sensitivity and passionate intensity, Tess was in disputably the central character of the novel that bears her name. Tess was obedient and filial which could prooved by the fact that she acceptd her mother’s suggestion. If she had not accepted tha advice, she would have not met with Alec and even seduced by the playboy Alec. If not being so, Angel would not have abandoned her. When she met Alec, she directly spoke out the death

of Prince and her intention. She was uncomplicated and pure. There were dual characters in her character. On one hand, she had the basic things that her peers had. On the other hand, her inward spirit that other girls didn’t have. She was brave. She dared to fight against the partial society and people’s old perceptions. She dared pursue her well-being. Tess was honest and upright. Otherwise, she would not confess to Angel on the wedding night who abandoned her later. After metting with Alec again, she would rather do drudgery than being his lover. She was tough. She was waiting for the returning of Angel with strong belief. She was resolute and firm. Getting married with Alec was not out of her willing. Only in this way, she could help her mother and the other children. It’s thought that Tess had compromised to the society and she was despaired both for the society and for Angel. Seeing Angel again after he returned from Brazil, she did not reproach Angel. Instead, she asked what the life in Brazil waslike. After having experiencing so many things, Tess became tenacious. Her revolt made she did a crazy thing:killing Alec which was the indicative of the end of both her tragic life and her life. Hardy once said “ character is fate”. Just every coin has two sides, the duality of her character also had two results.One was that helped contribute her greatness and personal charming. The other was that lead to her death. Tess’s character was tha inward reason of her tragedy.

Conclusion It can be concluded that the tragedy of Tess, the heroine of The Tess of the D’urbervilles was not accidential. From the tragedy itself, it can be guessed that a6 deep thought about that age should be made. Generally speaking, It is the society and family that cause Tess’s tragedy. Tess is the sacrifical victim both of the society and the family. The darkness of society, the unjust system, the moral hypocrisy and religious belief give rise to Tess’s tragic life. Tess’s tragedy is a tragedy of her character, too. From Tess, it can be seen that under the capitalist system, the personal pursuit of those people who are lower class is an inevitable tragedy. The reasons of Tess’s tragic life include social reason, family reason and character reason. All of these have close relationship with that time’s capitalist society. In the later time of the Victorian Age, the dark and injustice of systems in England mean that the tragedy of Tess is unavoidable in a capitalist society.


《哈佛蓝星双语名著导读》雷芳译〈苔丝〉 天津科技翻译出版公司 2003 年 9 月 《新编英国文学选读》下第三版 罗经国编注 北京大学出版社 1996 年 5 月