Tess is a beautiful, loyal young woman living with her impoverished family in the village of Marlott. Tess has a keen sense of responsibility and is committed to doing the best she can for her family, although her inexperience and lack of wise parenting leave her extremely vulnerable. Read an in-depth analysis of Tess Durbeyfield. He meets Tess when she is a milkmaid at the Talbothays Dairy and quickly falls in love with her.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles, title page of the edition Phase the First: Tess is the oldest child of John and Joan Durbeyfield, uneducated peasants. However, John is given the impression by Parson Tringham that he may have noble blood, as "Durbeyfield" is a corruption of "D'Urberville", the surname of an extinct noble Norman family.
Knowledge of this immediately goes to John's head. That same day, Tess participates in the village May Dancewhere she meets Angel Clare, youngest son of Reverend James Clare, who is on a walking tour with his two brothers. He stops to join the dance and partners several other girls.
Angel notices Tess too late to dance with her, as he is already late for a promised meeting with his brothers. Tess's father gets too drunk to drive to the market that night, so Tess undertakes the journey herself. However, she falls asleep at the reins, and the family's only horse encounters a speeding wagon and is fatally wounded.
Tess feels so guilty over the horse's death and the economic consequences for the family that she agrees, against her better judgement, to visit Mrs d'Urberville, a rich widow who lives in a rural mansion near the town of Trantridge, and "claim kin".
She is unaware that, in reality, Mrs d'Urberville's husband Simon Stoke adopted the surname even though he was unrelated to the real d'Urbervilles. Tess does not succeed in meeting Mrs d'Urberville, but chances to meet her libertine son, Alec, who takes a fancy to Tess and secures her a position as poultry keeper on the estate.
Although Tess tells them about her fear that he might try to seduce her, her parents encourage her to accept the job, secretly hoping that Alec might marry her. Tess dislikes Alec but endures his persistent unwanted attention to earn enough to replace her family's horse.
Despite his often cruel and manipulative behaviour, the threat that Alec presents to Tess's virtue is sometimes obscured for Tess by her inexperience and almost daily commonplace interactions with him. Late one night, walking home from town with some other Trantridge villagers, Tess inadvertently antagonizes Car Darch, Alec's most recently discarded favourite, and finds herself in physical danger.
When Alec rides up and offers to "rescue" her from the situation, she accepts. Instead of taking her home, however, he rides through the fog until they reach an ancient grove in a forest called "The Chase", where he informs her that he is lost and leaves on foot to get his bearings.
Alec returns to find Tess asleep, and it is implied that he rapes her. Maiden No More 12—15 [ edit ] Tess goes home to her father's cottage, where she keeps almost entirely to her room, apparently feeling both traumatized and ashamed of having lost her virginity. The following summer, she gives birth to a sickly boy who lives only a few weeks.
On his last night alive, Tess baptises him herself, because her father would not allow the parson to visit, stating that he did not want the parson to "pry into their affairs".
The child is given the name 'Sorrow', but despite the baptism Tess can only arrange his burial in the "shabby corner" of the churchyard reserved for unbaptised infants. Tess adds a homemade cross to the grave with flowers in an empty marmalade jar.
The Rally 16—24 [ edit ] More than two years after the Trantridge debacle, Tess, now twenty, has found employment outside the village, where her past is not known. She works for Mr. Crick as a milkmaid at Talbothays Dairy.
There, she befriends three of her fellow milkmaids, Izz, Retty, and Marian, and meets again Angel Clare, now an apprentice farmer who has come to Talbothays to learn dairy management. Although the other milkmaids are in love with him, Angel singles out Tess, and the two fall in love.
The Consequence 25—34 [ edit ] "He jumped up from his seat His brothers Felix and Cuthbert, both ordained Church of England ministers, note Angel's coarsened manners, while Angel considers them staid and narrow-minded.
The Clares have long hoped that Angel would marry Mercy Chant, a pious schoolmistress, but Angel argues that a wife who knows farm life would be a more practical choice. He tells his parents about Tess, and they agree to meet her.
His father, the Reverend James Clare, tells Angel about his efforts to convert the local populace, mentioning his failure to tame a young miscreant named Alec d'Urberville. Angel returns to Talbothays Dairy and asks Tess to marry him. This puts Tess in a painful dilemma: Angel obviously thinks her a virgin, and she shrinks from confessing her past.
|Tess of the d'Urbervilles Study Guide from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes||This is Hardy saying that although on the outside, Tess is tainted and ruined:|
|Historical Context||An interactive data visualization of Tess of the d'Urbervilles's plot and themes.|
|Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Wikipedia||She is as likeable as a literary character found in all of English literature.|
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|Character List||Oxford World's Classics Description Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family's fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d'Urbervilles.|
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