Chapter 54 Notes from Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Chapter 54

Angel arrives in Sandbourne late at night, so he rents a room and tries to figure out what Tess is doing in such a ritzy place. He decides that she must be working as a maid or housekeeper for one of the inns or private homes there, and he sets out searching for her as soon as morning comes. At the post office he learns that there is a Mrs. d'Urberville in town, so he goes to the hotel that the postman gives him. He thinks Tess is claiming marriage and keeping her family name as he'd once suggested. He is pleased with her choice.

Looking around the room as he waits for her, Angel realizes that Tess is living well, which makes him think that she somehow got the jewels his godmother left her and sold them. He has no clue what has actually happened.

It is still early in the morning, and Tess is in a fancy robe and slippers like a fine lady who hasn't worked in a long time. He notices the dramatic difference when she comes into the room where he's waiting. She looks stricken when she sees him, and he opens his arms to her expecting to be welcomed. He admits that he made a horrible mistake when he left her, and she tells him, "[t]oo late, too late!" Chapter 55, pg. 371

Tess frantically murmurs about how "he" had won her back by being kind and taking care of her family after her father died. She tells Angel that "he" told her that Angel would never come back for her, and now she hates "him" because "he" lied to her again because Angel did come back. Tess is obviously shaken, but she tells Angel not to come back. He figures out that she has married the man who seduced her years ago. Angel leaves, devastated at the realization that "his original Tess had spiritually ceased to recognize the body before him as hers - allowing it to drift, like a corpse upon the current, in a direction disassociated from its living will." Chapter 55, pg. 372 She has given up her body because her heart is so broken that it no longer matters to her what is done with her body.

Topic Tracking: Fatalism 9

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