Tess of the d'Urbervilles Essay

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In the following excerpt, Yale University critic Miller discusses interpretations of the novel, focusing on its repetitive structure.

The episodes of Tess of the dUrbervilles take place in a line, each following the last. Ultimately they form a row traced out in time, just as Tess's course is traced across the roads of southern England. Each episode in Tess's life, as it occurs, adds itself to previous ones, and, as they accumulate, behold, they make a pattern. They make a design traced through time and on the landscape of England, like the prehistoric horses carved out on the chalk downs. Suddenly, to the retrospective eye of the narrator, of the reader, and ultimately even of the protagonist herself, the pattern is there. Each event, as it happens, is alienated from itself and swept up into the design. It ceases to be enclosed in itself and through its resonances...

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This section contains 2,038 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tess of the d'Urbervilles Study Guide
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Tess of the d'Urbervilles from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.