A cursory account on a few years of life in the peach groves of Samarcand area of the Sandhills of North Carolina. It reads like a running log of formA cursory account on a few years of life in the peach groves of Samarcand area of the Sandhills of North Carolina. It reads like a running log of formative events and situations. In the end, the excitement of owning a farm quickly dwindles. The most interesting parts are their struggles which were unemotional and barely described. It reads like a list of events one after the other with no emotional depth. The author just tells the reader rather than shows them. Great title and interesting enough....more
I thought it dense. Hardy flushes out the social good and bad of his Victorian society through Tess and her supporting characters. However, the bad ouI thought it dense. Hardy flushes out the social good and bad of his Victorian society through Tess and her supporting characters. However, the bad outweighs the good; both in events and in continuity. I find Tess to be a weak character for the leading role, and perhaps she did not turn out as illuminated as Hardy hoped her to be. She is made as impatient, self-reproachful, lonely, impulsive, helpless, repressed, reserved, and of an enslaved mind. It's as if Hardy tried imagining himself as a woman in order to conjure Tess. His feminine imaginings were not as deep nor creatively complex as his technique in writing, unfortunately. He supports women by making his main character female and trying to work out her conflicts on the page. Yet, he denies her full strength to evolve. It just hits us in the end strangely because drama sells, I guess. The topics of social law and challenging theolatry overtake the fulfillment we seek in the lacking character development. Hardy was on to something though.
Getting to the finale was long, strange, dense, and over-done. Maybe not for his time period, but for today's audiences that have forgotten much of Victorian England, is definitely not interesting and rather insubstantial. Hardy writes a lot and writes well to explain particular concepts, but then falls short when it comes to developing Tess. The men were developed more realistically and believably, but Tess was not as strong as she could have been. Let's rewrite the narrative for current events, shall we? That would be a great project for someone. Now I'm really thinking.
Some great lines....
"It was always beautiful from here (atop an incline at Trantridge); it was terribly beautiful to Tess to-day, for since her eyes last fell upon it she had learnt that the serpent hisses where the sweet bird sing, and her views of life had been totally changed for her by the lesson." Page 60
"Early association with country solitudes had bred in [Angela Clare] an unconquerable and almost unreasonable aversion to modern town life, and...farming...that was a vocation which would probably afford an independence without the sacrifice of what he valued even more than competency - intellectual liberty." Page 93
"Only a solitary cracked-voiced reed-sparrow greeted her from the bushes by the river, in a sad, machine-made tone, resembling that of a past friend whose friendship she had outworn." Page 107
"...endeavour to keep as much as possible in touch with moral ideals. Farming, of course, means roughing it externally, but high thinking may go with plain living, nevertheless." Page 128
"I do hate the aristocratic principle of blood before everything, and do think that as reasoners the only pedigrees we ought to respect are those spiritual ones of the wise and virtuous,..." Page 151
"Moreover, when two people are once parted - have abandoned a common domicile and a common environment - new growths insensibly bud upward to fill each vacated place; unforeseen accidents hinder intentions, and old plans are forgotten." Page 198
"She was ashamed of herself for her gloom of the night, based on nothing more tangible than a sense of condemnation under an arbitrary law of society which had no foundation in nature." Page 224...more