“Generally, the narrative system of [Tess of the d’Urbervilles]--that is, the system of episodes--is a series of accidents and coincidences [...] the accidentalism and coincidentalism in the narrative pattern of the book stand, thus, in perfectly orderly correlation with the grounding mystery of the physically concrete and natural.”
• The serial nature of Tess illustrates the randomness of human nature. Human life progresses in an unsteady and disjointed path. Hardy uses the detached development of the plot to create a gritty, realistic tone.
Tess 3:3 (fate)
“The human condition [..] if scratched deeply enough, the binding ironies that bind the spectacular destiny of the hero with the unspectacular common destiny.”
• While Tess has a spectacular destiny in that she discovers her noble birth, she dies as a common women in a prison. Hardy uses the theme of fate or destiny in Tess of the D’Urbervilles to make a statement about the human experience. Tess does not choose her destiny, instead she follows down her path and suffers because of it. Her spectacular, noble birth causes her pain and suffering.
Responsibility: The state of controlling or caring for someone or something. The object of this obligation can take many different forms, including obligations to one’s family and to accepted social norms. There are many contrasting connotations associated with responsibility--on one hand, it implies an obligation that limits freedom and individuality. On the other hand, it implies an ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization. Alternatively, responsibility can denote guilt or accountability for a crime.
Tess N1:4 (responsibility/relationships)
“There is a lot of pressure put on her. She comes from a poor family but is in the arms of a rich man: the possibilities for his taking advantage of her are built into the situation, and at this point he cares nothing about the unfairness.”
“Yet there is also something right: Tess is a sexual woman, and there is some evidence of her attraction to Alec. It is far from evident, thus far, that Alec is simply [the wrong man] for her, as Hardy will shortly state.”
• Hardy challenges the notion of Alec as an indisputably evil character by implying, albeit subtly, that Tess is attracted to Alec on some level. Just as the possibilities for Alec’s taking advantage of Tess is built into the situation, so too are the possibilities for Tess to actually fall in love with Alec. This slight, yet present attraction raises questions about whether Tess is an independent woman--does her attraction indicate her dependence on men, or does it demonstrate her sexual independence?
Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect” - Eleanor Roosevelt.
• You have to be responsible for your own actions in order to keep moving forward and not let yourself down. In Tess, she has to learn from her past and keep going on in her life to help provide for her family. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie is “free” from Joe, but must stay responsible and aware to protect herself from potentially harmful strangers.
Jealousy: A common feeling which all humans experience, usually stemming from fear, anxiety, or insecurity. Nearly all human relationships contain this universal flaw through jealousy or envy. What makes jealousy so hurtful is its…