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Tess of The D’Urbervilles: Nature Reflected


Rebecca OUP-US

Depictions of nature often reflect the mood in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. For example as Tess sits listening to Angel play the harp, “The floating pollen seemed to be in his notes made visible, and the dampness of the garden the weeping of the garden’s sensibility. Though near nightfall, the rank-smelling weed-flowers glowed as if they would not close, for intentness, and the waves of colour mixed with the waves of sound” (page 139).

Yet later, after Tess has separated from Angel, and is sleeping outside in a plantation the scene is described violently. “The plantation wherein she had taken shelter ran down at this spot into tess.jpga peak which ended it hitherward, outside the hedge being arable ground. Under the trees several pheasants lay about, their rich plumage dabbled with blood; some were dead, some feebly twitching a wing, some starring up at the sky, some pulsating quickly, some contorted, some stretched out-all of them writhing in agony except the fortunate ones whose tortures had ended during the night by the inability of nature to bear more” (p 297).

Can you think of other places in the text where descriptions of nature accurately depict the mood of the characters?

Recent Comments

  1. hayley

    i enjoyed this story entirely as tess’s life style relates to mine xx

  2. Lauren

    I really enjoyed Tess, but the ending definately upset me. If only she and Angel could have been together :]

  3. B.Abbey

    The relationship between Tess and Angel blossoms within natural environments. Initially, from Tess’ side, during the May dance and then again, for both, during their time at the dairy farm. Their love for one another reflects its surroundings with it being young, carefree and wild. Both have an appreciation for the natural world and their expressions for this are what help to connect the two souls together. Their relationship seems destined to be together, like the way a bee is destined to attract itself to nectar and that neither one of them can function without the other.

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