Tess Of D`Urbervilles By HardyIn the novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Tess is faced with manydifferent levels of happiness, from pure joy to absolute unhappiness. As shemoves from location to location, the setting of these places portrays Tess’ joy.From her pure happiness at Talbothay’s Dairy, to the turning point of Tess’s joyat the old D’Urberville house, to her most unforgiving stay at Flintcomb-Ash, toher final contentness before her death at Bramshurst Court, the reader seesatmospheric changes that diminish then climb back up. Hardy thoroughlydemonstrates through his descriptions of her surroundings how Tess will feelwhile stationed in each place. After Tess’s life has been torn apart by AlecD’Urberville she needs to seek refuge.
By leaving her home town of Marlott, sheis able to start her life anew. She escapes to the jovial atmosphere ofTalbothay’s Dairy. As Tess crosses over the ridge of the hill it seems as thoughshe is switching worlds. Hardy’s description portrays the field as “abilliard table of indefinite length” (Hardy 98) with “a carpetedlevel, which stretched to the east and the west as far as the eye couldreach” (97).
The land is described as being as limitless as Tess’ joy. Thearea is plush and beautiful, and here, Tess is able to relax and be free of herpast. Tess’ “whimsical eye” (98)sees “vivid green moss”(98). This gives the area a childlike appeal, as though you can be young andhappy while at Talbothay’s Dairy. Tess feels warm as she watches the”shadows.
.. with as much care over each contour as if it had been theprofile of a Court beauty on a palace wall” (98). Even the cows have amajestic magnetism as the “white of their horns reflected the sunshine indazzling brilliancy” (99).
Talbothay’s Dairy is glowing with joy and thiswarmth finds its way to a well-needing Tess. Tess is able to feel happy againand “that she really had laid a new foundation for her future. Theconviction bred serenity” (101). This happy feeling continues throughoutTess’ stay, as she remeets Angel, and falls in love. After their marriage, Tessand Angel go to live in an old D’Urberville house near Wellbridge Mill.
As theyare leaving Talbothay’s Dairy they hear a cock crow. The crowd immediatelythinks of the old wife’s tale of an afternoon cock meaning bad luck. While theytry to dismiss it saying that it’s “not what you think: ’tisimpossible!” (Hardy 202), it sets the backdrop for what is to come.
Themood and setting upon their arrival to the D’Urberville house are ominous,continuing the cock’s effect. Tess is depressed by the house, exclaiming”Those horrid women!” (Hardy 203) when she sees portraits of herancestors. As the night grew longer “the restful dead leaves of thepreceding autumn were stirred to irritated resurrection, and whirled aboutunwillingly, and tapped against the shutters. It soon began to rain” (Hardy204). Tess’ happiness begins to falter with the rain. She proceeds to tell Angelthe story of her past, while “the ashes under the grate were lit by thefire vertically, like a torrid waste” (Hardy 211). Hardy describes thecoals in the fire as having “a Last Day luridness” which penetrates toTess, and results in her separating from Angel.
This mysterious atmosphere isportrayed by Hardy in order to be a turning point and start the decrease of Tess’joy . As a result of her past, Angel leaves Tess, and Hardy sends her to work atFlintcomb-Ash. Flintcomb-Ash is shown as a brutally unforgiving place. It isthrough this dismal atmosphere that Hardy shows when Tess hits the bottom of herhappiness.
Even while Tess is heading towards Flintcomb-Ash Hardy shows thechange. The ‘air was dry and cold and the long cart-roads were blown white anddusty within a few hours after the rain” (263). Tess becomes part of the”stroke of raindrops, the burn of sunbeams, and the stress of winds. Thereis no passion in her now” (262).
Tess finds herself approaching an area of”irregular chalk -table land” (263) compared to the lush, green fieldsof Talbothay’s Dairy. She enters the “remains of a village… in a slightdepression” (263). The land is horrid with its “stubborn soil”(264) and Tess realizes that “the walls seem to be the only friend shehas” (264).
It is appropriate that the village is filled with melancholydescriptions, as this is exactly how Tess feels. Her loneliness, like that ofthe village “was excessive” (264). This gloom remains with for as longas she stays at Flintcomb-Ash. It is significant of all the hardships Tess haspassed through, from she experiences with Alec to her strife with Angel, thatTess sees the “desolate drab” (267) of a land in different”degrees of dampness” (267). Tess’ heart is as cold as the land.
Flintcomb-Ash makes Tess spiritless. She is dismal without Angel and will remainso for as long as she stays. After Alec’s death, Tess and angel sneak happilyoff to an empty cottage snug in the woods of Bramshurst court. While here Tessis able to become happy once more, especially due to the rejoining of herselfand true love. The cottage is penetrating with good qualities , just as Tessfeels; she is free and in love.
“The weather was serenely bright, andduring the afternoon it was quite warm” (365). After entering the cottage”a shaft of dazzling sunlight glanced into the room” (366), and Tess’burdens are able to “rest at last!” (366). The next morning , though”wet and foggy…
apparently had no sign of sorrow” (367). “Not asight or sound of human being disturbed their peacefulness, such as it was”(367). They were free to love each other in peace. The entire cottage was drapedin amiable warmth. Upon their leaving Tess sighs, “Ah, happyhouse-good-bye!” (369).
It is while at Bramshurst court that Tess feels hergreatest joy and peace, and Hardy shows that well through his light and joyfuldescriptions.English Essays