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Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Chapter 35 Essay

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1. When Tess first tells Angel of her confession, he does not seem to comprehend what she has just said. He gets up and stirs the fire; “Clare performed the irrelevant act of stirring the fire; the intelligence had not even yet got to the bottom of him.” The confession seems so utterly unbelievable to him that he cannot take it in and seems to be in shock, although he just told Tess a revelation of the same sort about himself. This is the first clue that Angel had an idealised version in his head of Tess. When he first speaks he says “O you cannot be out of your mind! You ought to be! Yet you are not…” This shows that he would have, or would rather have, believed that she was mad other than what she had just told him was true. This also shows his disbelief of how she could have done that. He seems to be severely changed after she tells him; “His face had withered.” His face has physically changed, described as withered as opposed with the reader’s previous view that he was handsome. This could also indicate that he is not going to act as he was before as he has changed.This is true as the chapter carries on. Tess tells him she has forgiven him, for what is the same or possibly a worse act than what she has done, and when she asks him if he has forgive her, he says: “O Tess, forgiveness does not apply to the case! You were one person; now you are another. My God – how can forgiveness meet such a grotesque – prestidigitation as that!” Although he accepts that she has forgiven him for the same thing, he does not forgive her. He believes that what she has done is a lot worse than what she has done. When he says she is a different person, this shows that he thinks that the person he believed was Tess would not have done this, so he says that she must be a different person. He believed too much in his idealised version of Tess that this revelation is too much of a shock to him. Later he repeats; “The woman I have been loving is not you”. Here it is clear that he was only in love with the Tess in his mind, not for her actual self as she loves him.When she starts crying, he is relieved at it. This implies that because she wasn’t crying, instead of her being strong as she was, it makes her seem less innocent and vulnerable, but as she does he is glad that she is showing some sense of emotion at the event. He does not know what to do now, which shows he is still in shock. However, it is obvious that he has changed, as he is sarcastic o her, and also starts denoting her because of her class, again showing how he does not believe she is still the woman he loved. He also begins to class her as her D’Urberville roots were; “Decrepit families imply decrepit wills, decrepit conduct.” He is labelling her into all the things he does not like, although he loved everything about her only a few hours ago. He now sees her as something entirely different and changed. At the end of the chapter when she goes to her room, he almost goes in there to speak to her, but he catches a glance at an old portrait of a lady from the D’Urberville family. He sees this and immediately compares it to Tess, as if this must be how she is; “Sinister design lurked in the woman’s features, a concentrated purpose of revenge on the other sex.” Before he had an idealised image of Tess, and now he has adopted an image of Tess that she is evil.2. In chapter XXV Hardy uses different techniques to describe the change in relationship between Tess and Angel. One of the first things he uses is personification of the surroundings in the room, to help explain how the surroundings reflect the change in Angel’s attitude towards Tess; “But the complexion even of external things seemed to suffer transmutation as her announcement progressed.” This is talking about how the atmosphere in the room has changed, but also how this reflects the change that Angel has gone through. What before was a happy room is now portrayed has being changed for the worse. In the chapter previous the fire was described as having a ‘red-coaled glow’. However now it is described as; “The fire in the grate looked impish – demonically funny, as if it did not care about her strait. The fender grinned idly, as if it too did not care.” Here the fire is described as being somehow evil, like an imp or a demon. This is reflecting how Tess and Angel’s relationship has changed for the worse, but may also be reflecting how angel now views Tess – as evil. This is reiterated later when Tess’s eyes are said to ‘make his [Angel’s] flesh creep’, and again at the end of the chapter when Angel compares Tess to one of the ancient D’Urberville women – “Sinister design lurked in the woman’s features”.Another feature that seems to have change is that the structure of the text seems to have changed – up to now Hardy has been quite descriptive in his writhing, but in this chapter, especially at the beginning, it seems to be more like a dialogue. For example; “Clare performed the irrelevant act of stirring the fire”. This does not describe him getting up or moving around the room. For most of the chapter, it is just dialogue between Tess and Angel. This shows how the atmosphere seems to have changed and also to reflect the drama of what is going on.Both of the descriptions of Tess and Angel have changed – Angels face has become ‘withered’, and Tess’s lips have become pale. This could reflect how Hardy wants the characters to be viewed – Angel as not being as virtuous as the reader had first thought, and Tess is portrayed as more innocent because her lips are no longer red. This is also repeated when her mouth is described as ‘a round little hole’. This is significant because one of the things that Angel commented on liking about her was her mouth.Right at the end of the chapter Hardy talks about the light. Before in the book he has talked about the light, especially in the morning when Tess has been looking out over the countryside, which always seemed to imply hope for the future, but now Hardy says; “The night came in, and took up its place there, unconcerned and indifferent”. This seems to be implying that this is the end of the happiest period of Tess’s life, which started with Angel and is now ending with Angel.3. Previously in the book, Angel was seen as being different from his brothers and other men at the time by being open minded and not conforming to contemporary attitudes. However, his reaction to Tess’s confession is contradictory to his earlier behaviour, although it is typical of attitudes of Victorian men at the time.After Angel tells Tess of his admission of being with another woman out of wedlock, Tess is relieved because what she did was the same, or even not as bad, as what he did. However, he goes into shock at the reality that she is not ‘so pure, so sweet, so virginal’ as what he thought she was. This goes back to how he had an idealised image of what Tess was. In those days, it was much more socially unacceptable for a woman to have sex out of wedlock than it was for a man – a woman was seen as being the property of the man. Tess also shows this opinion, as she says to Angel; “I don’t belong to you any more, then”. This shows the point that men were seen as the superior and therefore in charge of the women. Another change in Angel’s behaviour is his view on class.Before, he wanted to marry Tess, even though she was of a lower social class than he was. He even tried to convince his father that a farming woman would be of better aid to him in the running of a farm. However, he is now judging Tess because of her class, as he says; “You almost make me say you are an unapprehending peasant woman”. Here Angel is being demeaning towards Tess because of her class, which never mattered to him before. This is reflective of contemporary social attitudes at the time, but this shows how changed Angel is because he is now showing beliefs typical of men in that era, whereas before he prided himself on being more open-minded.

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