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Critical Approach To Man’s Use Of Modern Technology; Tess And The Honud Character's Analysis

1306 words - 5 pages

Both Tess, of the D’Urbervilles, and The Hound, of the Baskervilles, take a critical approach to man’s use of modern technology is manners that impose on or damage the natural world. The theme is explored in several instances in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, with the first clear example being the death of the Durbeyville horse, Prince, by a modernized mail-cart. The new form of transportation sped along the road “like an arrow” and drove into the Durbeyville’s “slow and unlighted equipage. The pointed shaft of the cart had entered the breast of the unhappy Prince like a sword, and from the wound his life's blood was spouting in a stream. [...] Tess became splashed from face to skirt with the crimson drops.” The death of the Prince symbolizes nature’s suffering at the mercy of advancing technology. Arguably, Tess also imposes on nature by using the horse for transportation. However, Hardy is more concerned with the irresponsible haste of techological innovation that was destroying the natural world during the early 20th century. To this end, Abraham later remarks that, “Tis because we be on a blighted star, and not a sound one, isn't it, Tess?" implying that the horse’s death occurred because our relationship with nature is growing increasingly unstable. Another example of humanity’s increasing imposition on nature is the D’Urberville mansion, that Tess describes as being, “almost new—and of the same rich red colour that formed such a contrast with the evergreens of the lodge.” The contrasting bright colors of the house with the calm surrounding landscape emphasizes the intrusion which the capitalist Alec D’Urberville has made upon nature. This idea foreshadow Alec’s rape of Tess, which is also symbolic of the new industrialized capitalists pillaging the natural world to make a profit. Alec abandons Tess “upon the dead leaves” in The Chase, which is “one of the few remaining woodlands in England of undoubted primaeval date.” The fact that Alec takes advantage of Tess, who is described as “a figure which is part of the landscape,” in an ancient forest emphasizes how invasive the presence of industry, which Alec embodies, was becoming. The exploitation of Tess parallels the abuse that modern agricultural technology was exhibiting on the longstanding farmlands of England. Hardy portrays the Talbothays farm that Tess first works on as a, “happy green tract of land where summer had been liberal in her gifts." Hardy quickly replaces this quaint image of nature with the reaping of the fields by a destructive machine with the demonic appearance of having, “been dipped in liquid fire.” On the land, field animals “unaware of the ephemeral nature of their refuge […] huddled together, friends and foes, till […] they were every one put to death by the sticks and stones of the harvesters.” The destruction of England’s precious natural land is further exemplified at Flintcombe-Ash. The toll that rapid modernization has taken on this farm is clear, as Tess describes...

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