Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Determinism in Tess of the d'Urbervilles 12th Grade

In Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles, past events in Tess’s life affect how she views herself and her world, Hardy uses motifs and foreshadowing to express how one’s life is merely a product of fate. Therefore Tess’s experiences are already predetermined according to Hardy, yet they have an affect on Tess as an individual person. Hardy eloquently expresses the dynamic relationship between the notion of fate and how this specific notion applies to the everyday person (or Tess). The reader sees that Tess has little to no knowledge of mechanical determinism and how it may be affecting her life, thoughts, behavior, or relationships.

Hardy heavily employs motifs throughout his novel in order to relate how past events in her life are directly and symbolically linked to her present actions and views, all of which Hardy reconciles is determined by fate. One motif discussed in the novel was birds. We begin to hear the mention of birds at the beginning of the book when Tess hears song birds while she is outside. These free animals soaring happily represent freedom. Up next, when Tess goes to begin her work for Mrs. d’Uberville, she ends up working with birds. The birds are caged but allowed to roam free around the house,...

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