Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Love Foreshadowed in Tamed Nature: Setting in Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy, in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, takes great pains to relate the characters to their surroundings, especially in the parallelism between Tess' emotional disposition and her physical environment. It is not surprising, therefore, that the two interpersonal relationships which are the most important to Tess' life have their origins in a fertile garden and a lush grazing meadow, places where Man tames Nature but cannot escape being affected by Her himself. The timbre of Tess' relationships with both Alec D'Urberville and Angel Clare is very clearly foreshadowed by the nature of the places in which both relationships were founded.

The first relationship which affected Tess was that with her false kinsman, Alec D'Urberville. The rakish Alec becomes enamored of his "Coz" when she first visits the D'Urberville house in Trantridge, and within minutes of meeting her is plying her with all the fruits of the garden on the estate. When he tries to have her eat a strawberry from his hand, a lover's act, she protests: "'No -- no!' she said quickly, putting her fingers between his hand and her lips. 'I would rather take it in my own hand.'" However, he insists and...

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