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Injustice In Tess Of The D'urbervilles By Thomas Hardy

1881 words - 8 pages

"Life is not fair" is one of the most commonly used idioms in the world today. As recurrent as it is now, it has also been a quite common theme for contemplation throughout history. This unfairness is always blamed on someone or something, but often this blame is misplaced, which is unfair in itself. In Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy depicts the injustice of life and the effects of mislaid blame through his use of imagery and diction.

Hardy uses imagery throughout the novel in order to explicitly define the ways in which life is unjust. This injustice is first displayed at Prince?s death, then again at his burial. Hardy chooses specific words to enable the reader to see exactly what is happing. He describes the mail-cart to be ?speeding along?like an arrow.? He explains that the mail-cart had ?driven into her slow and unlighted equipage,? and now the horse?s ?life?s blood was spouting in a stream and falling with a hiss into the road.? (Hardy 22). The descriptive words, such as ?speeding,? ?arrow,? ?driven,? ?unlighted,? ?spouting,? and ?hiss? allow the reader?s senses to capture the enormity of the situation. This quote also helps the reader to envision the misery of the situation. Tess is only attempting to help her family by bringing the hives to market to draw some income them. Her desire to help her family backfires with Prince?s accidental death, as he was their only form of income. The desperation induced by Prince?s death is shown when Hardy explains that Mr. Durbeyfield worked harder than ever before in digging a grave for Prince. Hardy states that the young girls ?discharged their griefs in loud blares,? and that when Prince was ?tumbled in? the family gathered around the grave (Hardy 24). Hardy?s word choices in this passage allow the reader to comprehend how destitute the family could become without their horse. However, Prince?s death was an accident, and it is unfair that Tess should be blamed, when all she is trying to do is help. It is not long before Tess is blamed again, and again, the fault is not hers.
When Tess goes to work for the Stoke-D?Urbervilles, what happens to her there is not her fault either, yet she must pay the consequence. Tess goes to work for them in an attempt to support her family. Unfortunately, Tess is raped by Alec Stoke-D?Urberville, and cannot do anything about it. The scenario is portrayed through Hardy?s choice of words. He says, ?Darkness and silence ruled everywhere around.? This introduction into the rape scene sets the reader?s mind for peace and innocence, when that is not at all what will come. Hardy then chooses to describe other innocent aspects of the scene, such as the ?gentle roosting birds? and the ?hopping rabbits and hares.? Hardy then describes Tess, portraying her as ?beautiful feminine tissue,? ?sensitive as gossamer,? and ?blank as snow.? (Hardy 58). All of these descriptions further impress the thought that Tess is innocent to the situation into...

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