went into this with a Dandelion Wine mentality. I expected another story about a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood and childhood. This story wa...more went into this with a Dandelion Wine mentality. I expected another story about a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood and childhood. This story was that and much more. The story focuses around Robert. A twelve-year-old boy living on a farm in Vermont. He acquires a pig, which he loves because it is his, and well, his father butchers pigs for a living.
This book was just a little over 100 pages, and it is classified as a "children's book", but this book packs an awful powerful punch to be children's book. So many questions come to mind while reading that book. Religion, familial relationships, politics. I found the story very touching, and my eyes even misted over because of a scene or two. I don't know if Peck meant for the book to be this way, but it is.
In relating to Banned Books Week, I could see why some of the subject matter would get someone a little upset. I didn't so much care about the word "bitch", which wasn't used in a derogatory nature. There was a very graphic scene dealing with pigs mating. I mean, I wouldn't demand that schools stop reading this. Even in the "rape" of the pig, there's something to be learned. You can't just shield kids from things like this. Hell, they've probably heard/seen/read a lot worse than a graphic scene involving two pigs. (less)
Tess's father, Mr. Durbeyfield, is jokingly told by a minister that his family is the direct lineage of an old, noble family that was once thought to...moreTess's father, Mr. Durbeyfield, is jokingly told by a minister that his family is the direct lineage of an old, noble family that was once thought to be completely gone. There's nothing left of the family's land and fortune, except the family name (d'Urberville).
However, Mr. Durbeyfield and his wife see this as a chance to move up on the social ladder. They devise a plan to send their daughter to become acquainted with a rich woman who's last name is d'Urberville. From then on, Tess is left to try to maintain her dignity and honor and to pick up the pieces of her broken life that resulted from her parents' need to be important.
This was my first time reading anything by Thomas Hardy. I was warned that he was cynical man, and I'll agree that Hardy's prose is cynical, yet heartrending. I couldn't help feeling bad for Tess through all her troubles. This is not a happy novel. For a moment, you think that things will get better for Tess, but the fates seem to be against her.
The landscape of the novel changes with the mood of what's happening. The land itself almost seems to be a living person that he described. He uses vivid, beautifully described imagery to describe people and places in his novels. There are themes of theology (Hardy had internal conflicts with believing in God), virtue, the boundaries of love. He employs everything from Greek mythology to modern (or what was modern in his day) poetry.
There are no illusions of a happily-ever-after in this story. This was simply a beautiful novel, a novel that portrays its female heroine as the strong woman she was. She could put more modern women heroines to shame.(less)