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Tess of the d’Urbervilles Essay

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Thomas Hardy sometimes uses the landscape to reflect mood of his characters. Choose two brief extracts (about two pages each) where he does this; one when Tess is happy and another when she is not. How does Hardy reflect Tess’s mood through landscape in these extracts? How does Lawrence use setting and place in ‘Tickets Please’? How do these two writers manage to convey a sense of the time at which these stories are written? The first extract I have chosen to analyse in Tess of the D’Urbervilles when Tess is happy is In the Rally XVI on page 132-134.

This melts in to the happy mood of Tess as she has set out from home for the second time to the Talbothays dairy, where she meets Angel. In employing the Nature motif into Hardy’s work, he has been able to use it to describe the character feelings. The second extract in which nature echo’s Tess’s not so happy mood is ‘The Maiden No More’ XVI, pages 109-110. Hardy has used the language in the Rally XVI extract to show what state of

mind Tess is in. Firstly he uses adverbs that help to set the mood, and give the landscape a more vivid description.

Examples of some of the adverbs Hardy uses are, ‘luxuriantly’, ‘intensely’, ‘wonderfully’, ‘profusely’, ‘continually’. These words are all associated with happiness and cheeriness and do not give the text a sense of gloom, and are generally enthusiastic words. Tess also describes the landscape as being, ‘more cheering’ in the Rally, and this definitely imitates her happier mood. However, in ‘The Maiden No more’ Hardy has not used many adverbs to describe the landscape to give it a sense of gloom. Instead Hardy has used many more adjectives and other grammatical tools.

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Examples of adjectives Hardy has used are, ‘denser’, ‘vigour’, ‘goldern-haired’, ‘beaming’, ‘ruddy’, ‘curious’, ‘narrow’, rickety’ and ‘hazy’. These adjectives all give a sense of relaxed, slow and sad feelings within Tess because she has a child, and in the latter part of the chapter actually dies. This begins to set the scene for this tragic event. The chapter Rally XVI opens with a dull and almost slow pace when Hardy says: “It was a hazy sunrise in August. The denser nocturnal vapours… where they waited till they should be dried away to nothing. ”

This is Hardy’s description of mist or fog in an early summer’s morning. He points out that the mist is quite ‘dense’ and this almost weighs it down and is not described as being a light mist, but a dense, oppressing mist. This may relate to Tess having an unclear vision of what is going on and her mental composition. Hardy also uses adjectives in the Rally extract to give the landscape a sense of happiness such as, ‘beautiful’, ‘clear, bracing’, ‘slow’, ‘soft’, ‘silent’, ‘scents’ and ‘larger’. He uses positive words that make the text seem delightful and this in turn shows us how Tess is feeling.

Hardy also uses colours such as ‘blue’ and ‘green’ to describe nouns and these colours can be associated with spring, a new start and happiness. Another type of grammar Hardy uses is verbs, which have been very well chosen for the mood he wants to paint. For example in the ‘Maiden No More’ extract he uses verbs like ‘attacked, shrinking, demanding, feel, prevailed, gazing, brimming, smeared, intensified, dipped in liquid fire and ticking’ to give a sense of unhappiness, and are quite emotive. They are all very intense verbs, which are quite coarse and harsh.

Likewise in ‘The Rally XVI’ extract, intriguing verbs have also been used by Hardy such as,’ cheering, prattled, lacked, speckled, dazzling, nourished and fluctuating. ‘ All of these verbs have a sense of cheeriness and happiness, and give the sense of Tess being in a happy mood. An example is on page 134 when Hardy says, “She heard a pleasant voice in every, and in every bird’s note seemed to lurk a joy. ” By using adjectives like ‘pleasant’ and ‘joy’ there is immediately a perception of happiness.

A quote which portrays Tess to be in a happy mood, is when Hardy says, “It lacked the intensely blue atmosphere of the rival vale, and its heavy soil and scents; the new air was clear, bracing, ethereal. ” This quote makes Tess’s condition seem refreshing and happier as Hardy uses confident words like ‘ethereal’ and ‘bracing’, and is again making a comparison between the new and old scenery, as Hardy describe the past scene as the ‘rival vale’. On page 133, Hardy says, “The world was drawn to a larger pattern here. ”

This quotation extends Tess’s thinking into a broader field, making her feel more open and making the world beyond her looking cheerful. Another indicator of Tess’s happiness on page 133 is when Hardy says, “Either the change in the quality of the air from heavy to light, or the sense of being amid new scenes where there were no invidious eyes upon her, sent up her spirits wonderfully. ” This quote directly informs the reader that the new scenery and atmosphere around Tess have ‘sent up her spirits wonderful’, or basically made her feel much happier.

A pattern of Hardy’s language is emerging here, as he has yet again used a comparison between the old and the new environment. Firstly he comments on the air quality going from heavy to light, as he does about the soil earlier on, and then the scenery itself. Hardy has concentrated on the wind and natural environment a lot, in the section echoing Tess’s poised time. On page 134, Hardy says: “Her hopes mingled with the sunshine in an ideal photosphere which surrounded her as she bounded along against the soft south wind.

This is also a good quote to refer to Tess in a happy, yet anticipating mood. Hardy describes Tess as being a part of nature as her hopes are mingled with the sunshine, the sun also being a god-like feature in the Maiden No More extract, but also as the wind is described as ‘soft and southerly’ there is a sense of warmth and happiness. The south wind is referred to in the same paragraph when Hardy says: ” It was her best face physically that was now set against the south wind. ”

This directly informs the reader that Tess is probably smiling and happy, and reference to the south wind, is made again in the quotation. The short story that I am going to be analysing is ‘Tickets Please’ by D H Lawrence, written in the 20th century, the protagonists being Annie and John Thomas, which is set in the First World War in the Midlands. It is easy to identify that this text has been set in the First World War, because the narrator mentions “since we are in war-time”, and the tram was entirely conducted by girls something common for that time, as men were out fighting in the war.

Other indicators of it being the First World War are ‘Statutes Fair’, ‘Co-operative Wholesale Society’, ‘Hat pins that John Thomas won for Annie’, ‘quoits-he threw on the table’ and ‘the colliers’. DH Lawrence was born in Nottinghamshire, and his father was a coal-miner. References to his background are reflected in the text, as he says ‘black colliery garden’ and the description of this particular part of the Midlands is a very close interpretation of Nottinghamshire at that time. D H Lawrence also wrote about Thomas Hardy, and therefore may have been influenced to signify the importance of the setting as Hardy has done in many of his books.

Alike Thomas Hardy, DH Lawrence also uses the language to set a mood for the location he describes. Tickets Please starts off in the Midlands in the ‘rural, black industrial countryside’ and we are then taken through the ‘reckless swoops downhill’ and end up in the ‘sordid streets of the great town. ‘ The beginning of the short story is where most of the scene has been set, and is written as a turbulent journey. Lawrence uses far more adjectives and adverbs than Hardy does to describe his location, and therefore makes the place more vividly refined and imaginable.

The beginning of the short story is a journey, in which the places change yet appear to characterise a similar type of mood. D H Lawrence uses many descriptive words and phrases, particularly using grammatical tools like adjectives to create a vivid picture of area. Examples of these are, ‘cold, gloomy ugly, wild, stark, black, little, industrial, sordid and grimy’. All of these adjectives are dull and depressing, setting a grim and gloomy atmosphere. Lawrence also uses many more interesting verbs to describe the Tram than Hardy does to describe his landscapes.

Examples of interesting and exciting verbs are ‘plunges’, ‘perched’, bouncing’, slithering’, and ‘halts’. These verbs make the tram sound exciting and almost scary to be on, by using such hard-impacting verbs. This is re-enforced when the narrator refers to the journey as being an adventure more than once. DH Lawrence and Hardy both use personification in their text to describe the settings. Lawrence uses personification to give the place a more life-like description when he says, “The last ugly place of industry, the cold, little town that shivers on the edge of the wild gloomy country beyond.

The town is described to be ‘shivering’, which is a human characteristic. During the journey the place seems to cheer up as it say; “There the green and creamy coloured tram-cars seen to pause and purr with curious satisfaction. ” The use of words such as satisfaction, purr, and green stand out in the text, because the place is formerly described as being cold, dark, and smoggy. Both of these examples are places where anthropomorphism has been used, because the town has been described to be ‘shivering’ and the cars ‘purring’, a characteristic of cats.

Hardy also uses anthropomorphism quite subtly when he says in the ‘Maiden No More’, ” the arms of the mechanical reaper revolving slowly… the last few yards of upright wheat fell also under the teeth of the unerring reaper. ” Here Hardy describes the reaper as having arms and teeth, consequently being given human characteristics, or anthropomorphic. The journey returns to its gloom when Lawrence says, “Reckless swoops downhill… again the breathless slithering around the precipitators drop under the church. ” By using words like ‘slithering’ and ‘reckless’ the scary scene is re-set.

In comparison to Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy has also used personification in the ‘Maiden No More-XIV’ but not in the ‘Rally’, like Lawrence to describe the settings. Hardy says, “The sun, had a curious sentient, personal look, demanding the masculine pronoun for its adequate expression. His present aspect coupled with the lack of all human forms in the scene… ” Here Hardy refers to the sun as a person, by saying ‘his’ and ‘had a personal look’, when really we know that the sun does not have a look and does not have human mannerisms.

Hardy then goes on to say: “The luminary was a goldern-haired, beaming, mild-eyed, God-like creature, gazing down in the vigour and intentness of youth apon an earth that was brimming with interest for him. ” Here Hardy clearly describes the sun as having human characteristics and appearance, such as being, ‘goldern-haired’ and mild-eyed’. Philosophically, Hardy has referred to the gods and the heavenly bodies more than once in this quote, and this is probably to show how Tess feels about the situation of her alone with her child, and the mishaps she has recently faced.

It is honourable that people turn to a higher force than beings, like God, for help and guidance through turbulent periods of their lives and this has been illustrated by personifying the sun to be a ‘god-like creature’ and ‘luminary’. By using personification, both writers can achieve a sense of creativeness and make it easier for the reader to relate to, therefore making the settings more distinct. Lawrence does not use personification after the beginning of the story, and similarly Hardy does not use personification in the ‘Rally XVI’ to describe the cheerful settings, instead Hardy uses comparisons.

In the Rally XVI, Hardy compares many features of the new part of England Tess is visiting, to her childhood’s natural environment. For example on page 133 he says, “The river itself, which nourished the grass and cows of these renowned dairies, flowed not like the streams in Blackmoor. Those were slow, silent, often turbid… The Froom waters were clear as the pure River of life… ” By making a correlation between the clear Froom waters and the turbid, muddy waters of Blackmoor, Hardy is able to show that Tess is comparing her past and present state of mind, as she is her past and present landscape.

The landscape here shows that Tess is a happy mood, as the landscape around her is being described in a positive manner and as being ‘pure’. Thomas Hardy uses purity of the soul and mind a lot in this text, and in the midst of the book depicts this when Angel tells Tess he loves her for her virtue and purity. Hardy also contrasts the scenery to pictures by Van Asloot (1570-1626) or Anthonis Sallaert (1590-1657), Flemish painters of landscapes and large scenes of everyday. Hardy says: ” The green lea speckled as thickly with them (cows) as a canvas by Van Alsloot or Sallaert with burghers”.

This is a simile used by Hardy, comparing the expansive land ahead of Tess with of the artist’s paintings. This helps to show the intensity of cows in the vale, and Hardy elaborates on all of the minor features to make them all sound important. Both writers use similes in their writing to inform the readers of the setting. In Tickets Please, Lawrence says, “… green cars as a jaunty sprig of parsley out of a black colliery garden. ” He describes the cars as being like green parsley out of a black colliery garden, which he actually means to be the town.

This usage of simile compares our knowledge to the settings and makes the place seem more vivid, however it is quite ironic to contrast a piece of vegetable from a ‘black colliery garden’ to a car. In relation to Lawrence, Hardy also uses similes in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. In the ‘Maiden No More’ on page 109, Tess is describing the sun, as a person and ‘his’ actions in the early morning, “His light, a little latter, broke through chinks of cottage shutters, throwing stripes like red hot pokers upon cupboards… ” And then again on page 110, “Presently there arose from within a ticking like the love-making of grasshopper.

The machine had begun… ” Both of these quotes show the usage of similes when Tess is in a sad state of mind. The comparisons are of light and sound, and this impersonates the environment around Tess rather than the scenery. The first quote is a forceful and intense, as he uses two adjective, ‘red’ and ‘hot’ to describe the rays of sunlight. The second quote makes the noise of the machine sound very distinct and clear to hear. Both of the writers try to achieve a very clear and distinct picture of what they feel, and do this using the simile.

These similes in Tess of the D’Urbervilles are quite figurative, as they make reference to her past experience. However similes have also been used in a positive way in Tess, when she is describing the waters of the river Froom in the Rally XVI, on page 133, “The Froom waters were clear as the pure River of Life shown to Evangelist, rapid as the shadow of a cloud… ” In this quote the waters were described to be ‘as clear as the pure River of Life’ and this indicates the fresh start that Tess intends to make by going to the Talbothays Dairy.

The second simile in this quote is the speed of the river being ‘as rapid as the shadow of a cloud,’ which is quite ironic considering clouds can often move quite slowly and sometimes not very fast at all. In ‘Tickets Please’ there is often reference to other places, when it is night and darkness. Darkness sets a scary atmosphere; building up to a climax or twist in the story and this is noticeable by the usage of adjectives and adverbs by Lawrence. The narrator says, “The nights are howlingly cold, black and windswept… ” And then also says, “He sat with her on a stile in the black, drizzling darkness.

This use of adjectives and adverbs to make the location frightening is re-establish when Lawrence says, “… and walk across the dark, damp field. ” Later on in the story, we come to the fairground where Annie bumps into John Thomas. Here the atmosphere of the location is very different to that of the tram journey at the beginning of the text. The fairground is made to sound lively and exciting, yet frightening, which also a technique used to gear up the reader to the main turning point of the story. For example, “… roundabouts veering around and grinding out their music. ”

The fairground has been described using enticing verbs like ‘veering’ and ‘grinding’, and the roundabout switchbacks are described by the adjective ‘grim-toothed’, making the fairground seem exciting and scary in some senses. The fairground is also represented to be an antique place when Lawrence says, “… caring in a rickety fashion” This quote uses the adjective ‘rickety’ to describe the ride, which means weak or unstable, also implying it is old. Hardy seems to make the ‘Maiden No More’ echo an unhappy atmosphere when he talks of the killing of the animals in the fields, whilst harvesting.

He says: “Rabbits, hares, snakes, rats, mice retreated inwards… huddled together, friends and foes, till the last few yards of upright wheat fell also under the teeth of the unerring reaper, and they were every one put to death by the sticks and stones of the harvesters. ” Metaphorically, this is probably how Tess feels, as if she is being drawn into the depths of life, as the animals are of shelter of wheat, cascading down into a hurricane of dread, and that she too will be faced with death eventually.

Hardy has also used a section of the folk-phrase proverb, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,’ at the end of this quote. This could be to show as Tess being strong and trying to get through her struggling time. Thomas Hardy was considered a fatalist. Fatalism is a view of life, which insists that all action everywhere be controlled by nature of things, or by power superior to things, as illustrated in the example of heavenly bodies. Another reference in the text that indicates that Tess is unhappy is on page 109, ” … imparted to them a look of having been dipped in liquid fire. ”

This quotation may refer to hell as Hardy uses the word ‘liquid fire’ that could refer to hell and sadness. Hardy is best known for his beautiful but often oppressive portrayal of the countryside. This is likely to be a reflection of his background. Thomas Hardy’s entire childhood was spent close to the soil, growing up in the countryside of a small village of Egdon village; he could carefully observe the regularity of natural change. As a 21st Century reader there are many indications that reveal that Tess of the D’Urbervilles was written in the late 1800’s because of reference to the social and agricultural changes he describes.

There is mention of the agricultural revolution in one of the extract I have chosen to analyse, in the ‘Maiden No More’, when Hardy says, “formed the revolving Maltese cross of the reaping-machine… the arms of the mechanical reaper. ” The word ‘machine’ and ‘mechanical’ have come up twice here, indicating that changes were being made to the agriculture with the usage of non-manual forms of harvesting. Both Hardy and Lawrence have different styles of writing, but this is because they were written in during different period of time.

This can be identified in ‘Tickets Please’ when Lawrence uses listing, as a way of describing the depot room. The last place described in Tickets Please is when we reach the climax of the story and the girls beat up John Thomas. The waiting room is described as being ‘very cosy and warm’ and ‘away from the darkness and lawlessness of wartime. ‘ These phrases make this part of the story sound exciting and are a build-up to the fight. Lawrence says: “It was quite rough, but cosy, with a fire and an oven and a mirror, and a table and wooden chairs. ”

The room is not described in a lot of detail here, but is in a simple listed order, making it not very striking, compared to the former journey, at the beginning of the story, using many adjective, adverbs, intriguing verbs and similes. Both writers have used the settings to set their characters moods. Hardy has distinctly done this making it quite obvious for a reader to pick out grammatical and philosophical elements. Lawrence has used the setting to determine what will happen to the characters and what sort of climax or twist that he wants to build into the story.

This is evident in the beginning of Tickets Please when a gloomy atmosphere is set, making one of the protagonist’s Annie, feeling dull and not aroused. Then Lawrence uses the exciting funfair to set the mood of love and passion, and then finally the climax of the fight, fortified by description of the room. In conclusion both writers have similar ways of expressing the scenery through usage of grammatical tools, but different ways of displaying this, and have variations in their style of writing and the intensity of the language.

About the author

The following sample is written by Matthew who studies English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. All the content of this paper is his own research and point of view on Tess of the d’Urbervilles and can be used only as an alternative perspective.

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