Charles's Reviews > Thomas Hardy: Tess of the D'Urbervilles; The Mayor of Casterbridge; Far from the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy by Thomas Hardy
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Jun 26, 08

bookshelves: classics
Recommended for: anyone needing a good reminder that the sins are not necessarily signs of a sinful person.
Read in June, 2008

One of many books back on my old High School English literature lists that I never read until my later adult years, Tess is the story of one girl and the fate thrust upon her by circumstances and morals she only understands after the events transpire. The challenge in this author (and many others from the same time period) is the use of words and phrases virtually unknown in this day and age (and that it is set in England tends to make it other-worldly for an American like me).

The book is an excellent treatise on morals blurring the line between what was right and what was honorable. Even now, moral standards define our reaction to specific events (without even knowing the true circumstances or causes of those events that may sway our opinion the other direction) and we follow our own guidelines without really understanding the situation and people involved.

I honestly believe that I waited until the right time in my life to start reading many of the classics, because they build on my life's experiences and draw from them to flesh out the real picture. When I read Tom Sawyer ten years after high school, I realized there were other things going on that I didn't understand when I was a child or teenager reading the story. Sometimes I think the "classics" are actually meant for more mature audiences and never for kids to read in high school when they are absorbing events and behaviors they have no true experience with.
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