Tess of the d'Urbervilles Themes

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Victorian society preferred to avoid talking about sex, but Hardy believed the elimination of sex from popular writing produced "a literature of quackery." In Tess sex is often associated with nature; it is presented as a natural part of life. The scene of Tess's seduction by Alec takes place in The Chase, an ancient stand of woods that dates from before the time of established societal morality. The valley of the Froom, where Talbothays is located, is described as so lush and fertile that "it was impossible that the most fanciful love should not grow passionate." Tess and Angel fall in love there. Tesss three milkmaid friends toss and turn in their beds, tortured by sexual desire. "Each was but a portion of the organism called sex," Hardy asserts. Later, when Tess forgives Angel his "four and twenty hours dissipation with a stranger;" Angel cannot forgive her similar...

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This section contains 156 words
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Buy the Tess of the d'Urbervilles Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Tess of the d'Urbervilles from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.