Tess Of The D’urbervillesTess of the d’Urbervilles
Oral: Structure, point of view and narrative techniques in Tess of the d’Ubervilles.
Ok well this isn’t really an essay as such it’s a an oral that I had to give on Tess, but still it took ages and I guess I could be kind of helpful. -veronica
– Chance and coincidence, symbolises the forces working against Tess. Coincidence as a means to an end
– Irony- social laws brought into account with the natural law. Ironies are also paralleled by separate ironies throughout he novel. Irony is enforced by omens
– Technical words, jargon to add authenticity (local farming terms, musical, artistic or architectural)
– Classical allusions.
– Folk-law and folk magic.
– Seasonal background as an accompaniment to emotions
– Uses the microcosmic (Tess) to demonstrate the general
– Tess shown in relation to the work she does, Tess is a natural women compared to Mercy.
– Relies on change of place and the idea of pilgrimage
– Insight into character
– Sharply drawn visual and sensory descriptions
– Exploits contrast and comparison of place and character
– Title, division into phases
– Coherence and real life timing in regard to the length of the phases
– Realism is not impaired by the controlled structure because of the coherent but however not entirely coinciding events, such as her successive journeys home
– Final chapter as demonstration of Hardy’s complete control
– No sub-plots
– Hardy’s fluctuating fatalistic and determinism.
– Double meanings
– Symbolism, Tess as an animal
Point of View
– Written in third person
– Omniscient narrator.
– Different stand points of narration,
Narrative: distinguished from descriptions of qualities, states or situations and also from dramatic enactment of events. Narrative technique is the method of telling stories.
Narrative technique is a broad term to describe anything Thomas Hardy does to communicate his message and ideas. Under this umbrella of narrative technique also fall such things as structure, style, point of view, imagery and so on. To understand many of the narrative techniques Hardy adopts we must have some understanding of his background, the audience and the times he was writing in and why he would have wanted to broach such controversial issues.
Hardy was a poet, he intensely read and studied poetry and literature from his early twenties. Prose fiction was his temporary profession out of economic necessity. This serves to explain the symbolic, metaphoric, poetic nature of his writing and also the many references to Shakespeare, other literature and the bible.
In order for Hardy to convey his ideas he had to not only consider the needs of his current audience but also pursing his greater literary and personal obligations. To do this he had to include his insights indirectly and evasively, adopting symbolic meanings that reached beyond the superficial social actions of the time.
It is also important to note how the novel was released and the ?censoring? that was in place to control controversial or ?inappropriate? morals, values and issues. The serialized format of realize also contributed in a large way, somewhat dictating the story line and affecting the general lay out. This is evident when you notice that there are several series of rising action, climax and denouement, generally towards the end of phases.
Examine the explanatory note to the first edition
– ?form a true sequence of thing?, talks of the Victorian expectations of a true story. Possibly why Hardy paid such attention to the surroundings and the use of local terminology.
– ?Piece the trunks and the limbs of the novel together? The effect of the serialization and censoring had on the novel. It is not in its true form until can be read completely and together.
– Artistic form?in respect of the book’s opinions and sentiments? Hardy struggling to be true to his greater literary and personal values and morals. He had to entertain his current audience but his language was used in such a way that the general story lines transcends the ages, and elevates it beyond the story. The quote he reflects on is obviously appropriate and intended to the orthodox Victorian expectations, ?If an offence come out of the truth, better is that the offence come than that the truth be concealed? St Jerome’s.
– They provide a different insight into the characters:
– Altered level of narrative
– Different character voices come through
– Direct insight
Page 440 we see a letter to Angel from Tess, this hasty scrawl written in a brief moment of pure passion and confusion gives us greater insight into Tess’s character. This is a far more graceful way of expressing Tess’s character than when Hardy himself feels compelled to interject and justify Tess’s actions at times. The letter states, ?You know I did not intend to wrong you?It is all injustice I have received at your hands!?
Letters are also used to create irony and hence suspense, on page 416 Tess writes to Angel, but he doesn’t find it. ?I think I must die if you do not come soon?I became another woman, filled full of new life from you?. Creates irony and suspense 277 dairymaids write to Angel 450
Tess in relation to the work she does ? Angel only relates to her as the dairy ? maid, doesn’t recognize her in her new surroundings. Social status ? he expects her to be a servant. Natural setting. Dairymaid ? correlates with our impression of her as a natural being and an animal. Tess eventually conforms to this- letter
Chance and coincidence ? whole theme of fate is largely communicated through this. This narrative technique highlights the inevitability of her fate and her tragedy. Such as the cock crowing thrice on the wedding night.
Irony ? title and subtitle. Narrative is ironic ? especially last chapter.
The development and interest of the plot relies heavily on the irony in Tess of the D’Urbervilles . The title and sub-title are just the beginning of the irony in the narrative. The fact that Hardy refers to Tess as being part of the D’Urbervilles rather than Durbeyfield is ironic we find out because she is actually more of a D’Urberville than Alec is. The sub-title ?A pure women? is ironic because it leads us to question whether she actually is a ?pure? woman in terms of convention. Unwittingly through Hardy’s irony we are questioning aspects of the plot that through his clever use of technique and language we are noticing and questioning the greater social questions that Hardy so cunningly disguised.
Uses the microcosmic to demonstrate the general
Tess is on numerous occasions directly representative of not only the women of the time, but also of the pastoral community as a whole. Hardy does this by way of graphic imagery and significant symbolism. For example where Tess and Izz are returning to work at Flintcome-Ash Farm, Hardy cleverly portrays them all as being of the same kind. ?Tess, with the other women workers, in their whitey-brown pinners?? By presenting them as a ?concourse? all attired alike they represent an entire league of women, all the women of the era. In this passage a man, an ?indistinct figure: this one black?, represents the enemy, the devil, and the evil of industrialization. His appearance described as a creature of ?Trofet? ? or hell is sent to ?discompose its aborigines? or Tess and the other ?natives?. Hardy has generalized this small-scale industrialization and mankind into all-consuming forces, typical of his ability to take the specific and transform it into the general. Hardy represents this man as Hardy’s attitudes and ideas.
Exploits contrast of place and character- place she lives with Alec compared with dairy and Stonehenge is contrasted with all other places. Tess contrasted with everyone, Mercy Chant; the Clares are contrasted with Tess’ parents. Tess contrasted with other women (dairy maids) most other characters are just expanded stereotypes (Alec ? villain etc)
Character and place are also paralleled with each other.
Hodge ? page 173
Angel initially is foreign in his surrounding, the ?conventional farm-folk of his imagination ? personified by the pitiable dummy known as Hodge? but these misconceptions ?were obliterated after a few days residence?. In a short time Angel began to ?like the outdoor life?. Hardy parallels Angel with his surrounding saying that ?He grew away from the old associations, and saw something new in life and humanity?.
The Herons page 463
Hardy uses metaphor to describe the surrounding ?a fairy place suddenly created by the stroke of a wand, and allowed to get a little dusty?. This ?glittery novelty? is ?exotic? and out of place like Tess is out of place. Glittery, but dusty also describes Tess.
Flintcome-Ash is contrasted to the dairy, the landscapes are a reflection of Tess’s position society. Marlet is a sheltered existence that is protected and symbolic of Tess’s protection compared to when she moves into the more threatened and dangerous world. As this happens Tess starts to decline. Find an example from both demonstrating the landscape.
Juxtaposition of places from chapter to chapter. Each time Tess returns to Marlet she is increasingly alienated and Marlet is becoming more and more industrialized. This is a good record of Tess’s demise, make a diary of her returns to Marlet. N.B. The timing of her return is not entirely coherent with the rest of the novel, what affect does this have?
One of the most poignant episodes in the novel that demonstrates Hardy’s use of symbolism to communicate complex ideas and issues is the rape of Tess. If you were not paying attention to the symbols one would almost completely overlooked Tess’s rape as simply another injection of thought by Hardy. However to examine the passage of Tess’s rape several images are presented, Tess being raped by evil powers ?Darkness and silence ruled everywhere around.? The double meanings in such descriptions of the rabbits and hares that ?stole?. The sharp visual image of the white being invaded by the black, ?blank as snow as yet, there should have been traced such a coarse pattern as it was doomed to receive?? This tarnishment is represented by pure symbolism and Alex represents the aristocracy of the time.
Characters are not three-dimensional but rather they are symbolic. Stereotypical and functional rather than believable. They are vehicles through which Hardy accesses the higher order of social issues. The serve Hardy’s purpose as vehicles of to convey greater concerns and periodical and universal concerns.
The structure of Tess of the D’Urbervilles was at the time largely affected by how the book was released. The serialization had the effect; –
– Of a slow establishment of the setting
– Rising action
– Climax (perhaps when that edition ended )
– Slight resolution then rising action
The novel is event dominated, littered with episodes. The publication to a large degree dictated the complicated, long and converlueted story line.
The title of Tess and the division into phases
Each phase is structured internally, as though each is its miniature story, with rising action climax and denouement. Each chapter is started by an important incident or sometimes by several at once. Individual phases are marked with specific title and hence following story line, individual as well as holistic images. This is because each phase marks the beginning of a different facet in Tess’s life and hence her view of herself and her destiny alters.
– Final chapter as evidence of Hardy’s complete control of the structure
In the final chapter Hardy does not allow any notion from the characters it is as though Tess’s death has meant the value of others is too lost. Tess’s sister ?Liza-Lu is merely a ?spiritualized image of Tess,?but with the same beautiful eyes?. Throughout the novel Hardy interjects but the ending that is so obviously under Hardy’s complete control, he doesn’t even bother to try to disguise his thoughts as someone else’s is significant and appropriate to the novel as a whole. It demonstrates that all long he was merely using the characters as a means to communicate his ideals and issues, though perhaps along the way he feel in love with the imaginary figure of Tess he created.
– There are no sub-plots
Strangely there are no sub-plots that interweave, contrast or parallel the story of Tess. This shows that only Tess’s story is important. Hardy has explored not only Tess but also the whole of womankind thoroughly, emotionally and intellectually. This is why only significant sections of her life are examined in a somewhat epic form. Through this singular plot Hardy explores and challenges two traditional themes that faced women 1.) the stain that unchaste can lead to and never be erased and 2.) the pious possibility of purifying redemption.
Fate acts as a recurring motif providing structure
The artistic motif of fate that appears under a veil of many forms, these are chance, coincidence, time, women and conventions. All make up the evidence of the inborn inclination, or Immanent Will. Fate appears in the form of nature, the environment is transmuted by the moods that effect peoples lives.
Coherence and real life timing in regard to the length of phases
The different phases focus audience attention and concentrates on the key elements of Tess’s life. The in between is lightly sketched if at all giving the individual phases their unique shape in regards to their impact on Tess’s life. In each there are periods of greater and less tension, incident and reflection. For example
Point of View
Point of view is the position or the vantage -point from which the events of a story seem to be observed and presented to us. These are such distinctions such as third and first person narratives.
– Third person narrative can be omniscient and unrestricted, above the plot. Other kinds of third person are those confined to our knowledge of the events these are known as ?limited third person?.
– First person narrative will usually be restricted to their personal and partial knowledge and experience.
Multiple point of views allow events to be shown from the position of two or more characters or perspectives. Hardy adopts this multiple point of view, at times providing only the basic insights into the story line, revealing little. At other points of the novel he chooses to become the omniscient narrator interjecting with philosophical or religious ideals. For example in The Maiden we are introduced to Tess; she is noticeable but not exceptional because of her quite, unobtrusive nature. Angel sees her with ??the fainst aspect of reproach that he had not chosen her. He, too, was sorry then that, owing to her backwardness, he had not observed her?? This innocence and girlish coyness is stripped from her as ?An immeasurable social chasm was to divide ?from that previous self of hers who stepped from her mother’s door to try her fortune at Trantrigde-poultry farm.? When Tess set of she left with her mother’s heart full of hope and pride, ?as at one who was about to great things … honest beauty flanked by innocence, and backed by simple vanity.? Thomas Hardy uses the narrative technique of initially adopting an ?limited third person? where the narrator confines his knowledge to the events that are taking place. This is evident when we do not know, or are not told so are hence left to presume that the ?fine and handsome girl ? not handsomer than some others?wore a red ribbon?the only one who could boast of such a pronounced adornment?? is Tess. Neither are we told that the ?three young men of a superior clad?? are Angel and his brothers. Hardy does this to create suspense and allow the plot to develop at a steady pace. Possibly a technique developed because of serialization.
Different stand points of narration:
– Hardy sometimes appears to be merely retelling a familiar story of a recent village affair. To do this he adopts a first person narrative through characters eyes such as Mrs. Brookes and the caretaker. By doing this our perception changes, some details are sketchy and we are seeing the events of Tess as how an outsider would view them. They provide an unbiased description of what is happening.
– Through main characters eyes such as Tess or Angel we tend an inside view into feelings and the treatment of especially women through Tess. Hardy tend to intrude into Tess’s thoughts often , feeling the need to clarify or justify Tess’s actions, the audience tends to get the impression that at times Hardy is purposely distorting the scene to make a propaganda point.
– As a simple narrator, Hardy sometimes attains an attached stance, separate from thought and action. This is mainly reserved for some rising action, the basic conveying of plot.
– Hardy’s intrusion when communicating philosophical or religious ideas. Or wanting to clarify or justify Tess’s actions.
Hardy intrudes into Tess’s thoughts on page158, bluntly overtaking her thoughts and transforming them into his own. ?And probably the half-unconscious rhapsody was a Fetichistic utterance in a Monotheistic setting?? .The language and the thoughts are completely dissimilar to what Tess would have thought, rather it is Hardy wishing to convey his opinion about natural women, religion and justifying Tess’s actions.