Notes on Tess of the d'Urbervilles Themes

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Topic Tracking: Sacrifice

Chapter 3

Sacrifice 1: Tess makes many sacrifices throughout the novel. Sometimes she is doing it because she is forced, and sometimes her sacrifices are because she's doing what she feels is the right thing. Several times the sacrifices that she makes are for her family. In this instance, she is sacrificing her time to play mother to her younger siblings so that her parents can go drink at the pub.

Chapter 6

Sacrifice 2: Tess does not want to go work for Alec d'Urberville in Tantridge because she doesn't feel right about the situation. Despite her misgivings, her family pushes her to go, and she sacrifices her better judgment to please her family.

Chapter 12

Sacrifice 3: Tess ends up sacrificing her innocence and virginity because her family wants her to go try to get money from their "relatives."

Sacrifice 4: Tess's sacrifice goes unnoticed and unappreciated because her mother considers what happened to her "part of nature," so Tess made this great sacrifice for nothing.

Chapter 21

Sacrifice 5: Tess is willing to give up her chance with Angel because she thinks that the other girls deserve him more because they are unspoiled and innocent. She feels that it would be fairer to the girls and to Angel if she had nothing to do with him because she is so unworthy of him. She even half-heartedly tries to get him to like the other girls.

Chapter 27

Sacrifice 6: Tess continues to try to deny Angel although she loves him. She is trying to protect him, the other girls, and maybe even herself, because she feels that he deserves someone as pure as he thinks Tess is.

Chapter 28

Sacrifice 7: Tess finds it impossible to give Angel up, although she believes it is the right thing to do. She loves him too much to let him go, so she changes the pattern of self-sacrifice and tries to be selfish by allowing herself to love Angel and to accept his love in return.

Chapter 31

Sacrifice 8: Tess yo-yos back and forth between her desire to have Angel and to give him up for the good of the other girls and Angel himself. Their kindness makes her feel as if she should give him up again, but his persistence makes it difficult for her.

Chapter 35

Sacrifice 9: Now that Angel sees her so differently, Tess is willing to do anything to make him care for her again, even going so far as to offer to kill herself. All she wants is for Angel to love her as he did before he knew about her past.

Chapter 37

Sacrifice 10: Angel insists that they separate, so, to make it easier for him, she goes along with everything he says although it's killing her to be pushed away. She sacrifices her feelings to make it easy for him to mistreat her because what he's doing to her is hypocritical and unfair, but she takes it.

Chapter 38

Sacrifice 11: Tess hardly has enough money to take care of herself and her parents have been cruel to her by insinuating that she is a tramp, but she still leaves them with half of the money that Angel gave her before they split up.

Chapter 50

Sacrifice 12: Tess makes the greatest sacrifice she can for the good of her family by giving up her right to Angel and her hope that he'll come back for her so that she can marry Alec d'Urberville to provide for her family.

Chapter 58

Sacrifice 13: Tess essentially sacrificed her life to be with Angel when he finally came back for her. She knew that if she killed d'Urberville, she'd be executed, but she did it anyway so that she could be with Angel with nothing between them. She gave up her life for love of Angel Clare, a man who had abandoned her because another man had taken advantage of her.

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