Victorians! discussion

39 views
Archived Group Reads 2012 > Tess, Phase the 6th; Ch 45-52

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments The Convert


message 2: by Kelly (new)

Kelly The theological themes in this book are something else.

"Why, you can have the religion of loving-kindness and purity at least, if you can't have—what do you call it—dogma."

"O no! I'm a different sort of fellow from that! If there's nobody to say, 'Do this, and it will be a good thing for you after you are dead; do that, and if will be a bad thing for you,' I can't warm up. Hang it, I am not going to feel responsible for my deeds and passions if there's nobody to be responsible to; and if I were you, my dear, I wouldn't either!"

She tried to argue, and tell him that he had mixed in his dull brain two matters, theology and morals, which in the primitive days of mankind had been quite distinct.


What kind of person admits that he will do bad things unless there's someone to answer to? I think that most people, even if they feel that way, won't come out and say it.


message 3: by Sera (new)

Sera Kelly wrote: "The theological themes in this book are something else.

"Why, you can have the religion of loving-kindness and purity at least, if you can't have—what do you call it—dogma."

"O no! I'm a dif..."


I know! This guy is some piece of work.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Alec really furfills the true meaning of a stalker. I did have to laugh at the chutzpah of Mr Durbeyfield feeling that people ought to contribute to support him because he was of an ancient family. This man certainly had nerve to spare! I can not say I was upset that he passed. He was quite useless and now the family is bereft of a place to live.

As I was thinking about this novel, I realized that Hardy has not presented us with one good male character.


message 5: by Sera (new)

Sera That Durbeyfield was a piece of work. His self-aggrandizement became so absurd that I had to laugh at him. You are right in that there is not a decent man in this story.


message 6: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments In Chapter 47 we get a glimpse of one of the big changes happening in rural English society. Up to this point, all Tess's work has been direct human labor where the workers were self-managing and able to stop for a moment and stretch or take a short break from work, but now we see mechanization coming into the picture, and the relentless machine, which has no understanding of or caring for the needs of the workers, forces the workers to become almost parts of the machine. This was a major change in rural life, and Hardy presents it, I think, masterfully.


message 7: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments The pain of reading this section is as crushing on the reader as the events are on Tess. How all occasions do inform against her! It has only been, what, two or three years since we first met her? And look what has happened to the once happy girl dancing with her friends in the meadow. This is Hardy at his most compelling.


message 8: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Everyman wrote: "In Chapter 47 we get a glimpse of one of the big changes happening in rural English society. Up to this point, all Tess's work has been direct human labor where the workers were self-managing and ..."

I hadn't thought of that, very interesting ...


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Everyman wrote: "In Chapter 47 we get a glimpse of one of the big changes happening in rural English society. Up to this point, all Tess's work has been direct human labor where the workers were self-managing and ..."

Me either.....very interesting and quite telling I think. Yes, Hardy was a master in storytelling and life changes.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Everyman wrote: "The pain of reading this section is as crushing on the reader as the events are on Tess. How all occasions do inform against her! It has only been, what, two or three years since we first met her..."

So sad and emotional draining.....Poor Tess never really had a chance at any kind of real happiness. Such an utter tragedy of a young life! Do you think Hardy wrote this way so that his readers might feel grateful for the life they had, or was there another motive?


message 11: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Everyman wrote: "And look what has happened to the once happy girl dancing with her friends in the meadow."

The way you worded that really brought some emotion to my mind - what a sad outcome for such a young, innocent girl, with her youthful crush on the handsome young man she saw that day. She deserved so much better. Her intelligence and sensitivity, rather than being an ignorant country bumpkin just makes it so much sadder.

I think that Hardy had a very bleak opinion of fate.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) So, Denise, it was more fate than it was a cautionary tale?


message 13: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Yes, I think that Hardy's characters get caught up in a flow of events that they are helpless to stop or escape from. Tess really did nothing wrong that we need to be cautioned against. Everything is a result of events that came before.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Thanks, Denise..I felt the same way too!


message 15: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Rethinking what I wrote, Tess obviously did do some very wrong things later, but I still feel that they were inevitable because they flowed from what had happened so far. It was like getting caught up in a whirlpool that keeps spinning out of control, getting worse all the time.


message 16: by Sera (new)

Sera I agree, Denise. The only thing that may have stopped the snowball effect would have been her moving away somewhere with Angel. He really was the last hope for her to live a happy, quiet life. I think that everything would have turned out differently if they had both moved to Brazil.


message 17: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Marialyce wrote: "So sad and emotional draining.....Poor Tess never really had a chance at any kind of real happiness. Such an utter tragedy of a young life! Do you think Hardy wrote this way so that his readers might feel grateful for the life they had, or was there another motive?
"


I think a lot of it just came from his outlook on life. As Denise noted in the next message, he was a strong believer in fate. Really none of his books, as far as I can recall, is a "happily ever after" story. He writes, as I think I commented before, about the people who live, in Thoreau's words, lives of quiet desperation. And people who have such limited resources, both financial and emotional, that any defeat is virtually insurmountable.


back to top