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Archived Group Reads 2012 > Tess, Phase the 4th; Ch 25-34

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message 1: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments The Consequence


message 2: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I was very surprised that Retty tried to drown herself after Tess and Angel left to be married. I know all the milk maids had a crush on him, but they never seemed to harbor any ill will towards Tess or seem so distraught as to take such extreme actions. Marian's response seemed more understandable ... go out and get drunk.


message 3: by Nina (new)

Nina (ninarg) | 106 comments That surprised me too. But I think to Tess it was another ill omen, like the crowing - she tried to be kind to the milkmaids by telling Angel to kiss them before they left, but the kiss "had obviously done harm by awakening feelings they were trying to subdue". Poor Tess means kindly but it leads to bad results.

Also, Tess' going back and forth between wanting to marry or nor got on my nerves in the end. I can understand how her past is troubling her and she doesn't think she deserves the happiness that Angel promises but...I don't know.. I wished she would make her mind up and decide sooner what to do and then stick to it. And I can't help thinking if maybe Tess is making too much of her past? It's not like she fell in love with Alec and became his mistress. She was raped but she seems to be blaming herself for that?


message 4: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Nina wrote: "That surprised me too. But I think to Tess it was another ill omen, like the crowing - she tried to be kind to the milkmaids by telling Angel to kiss them before they left, but the kiss "had obviou..."

Yes, this book is nothing if not filled with bad omens!

Tess' back and forth over whether she was going to marry Angel, then whether she was going to tell him about her past drove me a bit batty too. Everytime I felt that way, though, I took a deep breath, clenched my fists and kept repeating to myself over and over that she is still so young. I was able to get past it because of that, and because of the strength she has in other situations.


message 5: by Sera (new)

Sera Although Tess' inner struggle to tell or not to tell did drag on some, I understood the hesitancy. Rape or no rape, she was no longer pure so her lack of chasteness would have been off-putting to men at that time.

I also think that her inability to call it rape led her to be confused as to whether she was to blame somehow. I believe that it is common for rape victims to feel guilt and blame for what happened to them even though they understand that it wasn't their fault.


message 6: by Sera (new)

Sera I think that Tess' mother telling her to stay mum about what happened and later not providing any further advice on the issue didn't help Tess' situation either.


message 7: by Nina (new)

Nina (ninarg) | 106 comments Sera wrote: "I also think that her inability to call it rape led her to be confused as to whether she was to blame somehow. I believe that it is common for rape victims to feel guilt and blame for what happened to them even though they understand that it wasn't their fault."

Good point, Sera!


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Not quite done with this section yet, but yes, we did get a bit bogged down by the back and forthing or Tess's mind set. I think you got it right, Sera, she does carry a pretty big amount of guilt around as if she is to blame for the attack. Society has always seemed to blame the woman pretty much in rape cases. I think it is just in the present where a woman's voice was and is being heard in rape cases.


message 9: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Tess did think earlier that it might make a difference to Angel, so she wrote her note. When he didn't make any comment on it (because he never saw it), she thought he was ok with her past. When she realized he didn't know about it, it must have caused her much confusion as to what to do next. It was too late to warn him in time, so it was much more difficult for her to come to the decision to tell him, after all.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I did finish this section and find I am inclined to think while Tess thought little of Angel's indiscretion, hers will not be taken in the same manner.


message 11: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 497 comments I also think that what troubled Tess what HER sense of guilt: I don't think that with Alec was only a matter of one time - if I've understtod it right! And that's what is troubling her now, with the inner feeling that she didn't even love Alec in the end. It woould have been better to follow her mother advice!


message 12: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments LauraT wrote: "I also think that what troubled Tess what HER sense of guilt: I don't think that with Alec was only a matter of one time - if I've understtod it right! And that's what is troubling her now, with th..."

I think it was one time - Tess left and went home right after the rape.


message 13: by Sera (new)

Sera Denise wrote: "LauraT wrote: "I also think that what troubled Tess what HER sense of guilt: I don't think that with Alec was only a matter of one time - if I've understtod it right! And that's what is troubling h..."

I agree and then she had no further contact with him.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Sera wrote: "Denise wrote: "LauraT wrote: "I also think that what troubled Tess what HER sense of guilt: I don't think that with Alec was only a matter of one time - if I've understtod it right! And that's what..."

I do keep thinking he will crop up. I thought for sure he would have somehow stumbled onto the wedding, but thank goodness, he didn't.


message 15: by Sera (new)

Sera Marialyce wrote: "Sera wrote: "Denise wrote: "LauraT wrote: "I also think that what troubled Tess what HER sense of guilt: I don't think that with Alec was only a matter of one time - if I've understtod it right! An..."

Oh my - that would have been horrible! But very dramatic.


message 16: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Can't you just imagine it, though? At the part where they ask if anybody knows of any reason they can't be married, speak now or forever hold their peace, and Alec dramatically appears to object! I was a little afraid of that happening, too!


message 17: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Nina wrote: "Also, Tess' going back and forth between wanting to marry or nor got on my nerves in the end. I can understand how her past is troubling her and she doesn't think she deserves the happiness that Angel promises but...I don't know.. I wished she would make her mind up and decide sooner what to do and then stick to it."

I agree that it was annoying, but OTOH I think it was an accurate reflection of the character that Hardy has developed for Tess. She has broken such a rule of society, is she entitled to be happy? Can she consider herself a pure woman (which, I note, is the subtitle of the book)? I think her dithering was very much in character, even while it also made me want to shake her and tell her to get on with it, decide one way or the other, but just get on with it!


message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Denise wrote: "I think it was one time - Tess left and went home right after the rape.
"


Well, not immediately. In Chapter 12 as she leaves we read "It was a Sunday morning in late October, about four months after Tess Durbeyfield's arrival at Trantridge, and some few weeks subsequent to the night ride in The Chase." So it was at least a few weeks she stayed there after the event.

And then we read "She had no fear of him now, and in the cause of her confidence her sorrow lay." That sort of suggests to me that she had let him make love to her again, otherwise wouldn't she still have fear that he would assail her against her will again? (If the first time really was against her will?)

And then, "If I had gone for love o' you, if I had ever sincerely loved you, if I loved you still, I should not so loathe and hate myself for my weakness as I do now! ... My eyes were dazed by you for a little, and that was all." That dazed -- isn't it a subtle hint (has to be subtle for Victorian literature!) that for a little while she let him be her lover?

That's how I was reading it, but of course I could be wrong -- what do others think?


message 19: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments I had always read the 'dazed' comment to be referring to the time prior to the incident in the Chase, when she was conflicted by her reluctance to be involved with him and her desire to be grateful to him for the help for her and her family. She was starting to think that she might be willing to accept him, after all (such as when she allowed him to put his arm around her), and then he raped her and her eyes were opened.

Sorry about the mistake on the timing - I am doing this from memory, and I thought that she immediately packed up and left.


message 20: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Denise wrote: "Sorry about the mistake on the timing - I am doing this from memory, and I thought that she immediately packed up and left. "

Not a problem! Hope my post didn't sound like criticism.


message 21: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments No, it's good that you corrected me when I messed up. I usually don't discuss books from memory, but in the case of the Brontes last month, and the two novels this month, I decided to give it a try, because I don't have the time or the inclination to reread them at this particular time, and yet felt comfortable enough with them to think that I could manage it. I think this is the first mistake I have made!


message 22: by Ruthbie (new)

Ruthbie | 4 comments That's really interesting cause I had alway assumed that Tess had left straight away so glad you pointed it out cause I had missed that!


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