Feeling Sympathy for Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles Essay

Feeling Sympathy for Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles Essay

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Feeling Sympathy for Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles

I think that throughout the novel Thomas Hardy uses many different
techniques that lead his readers to feel sympathy for Tess. Through
reading Hardy's 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' I have realised that it is
invaluable that the readers of any novel sympathise with and feel
compassion for the main character. In writing 'Tess of the
D'Urbervilles' Thomas Hardy is very successful in grabbing the
attention and sentiments of the reader and then steering their
emotions so that they feel empathy and understanding for the character
Tess. Hardy does this from the very first time we are introduced to
Tess.

The first time we see Tess is at the Woman's Walking Club Festival,
Hardy describes her as 'a fine and handsome girl, with a mobile peony
mouth and large innocent eyes' (Chapter II), 'a small minority would
look long at her in casually passing and grow momentarily fascinated
by her freshness' (ChapterII).This description of pure beauty and
innocence captures the imagination of the readers and we begin to
build a relationship with the character. The beauty and goodness that
we see in Tess draws us to her, and engenders a feeling of affection
for her, in this way Hardy is preparing us for later in the book when
we see Tess suffering, and feel sympathy for her. Hardy is leading us
to feel sympathy for Tess by using her attractiveness and personal
qualities.

From the first scene in which we meet Tess, Hardy leads us to feel
sympathy for her by giving the impression that we (as readers) are
slightly overlooking Tess; a place in which this technique is used is
whilst Hardy is describing the effects of her appearance on others.
Hardy describes the more extraord...


... middle of paper ...


...herself
to save Angel's dignity. All this evidence leads us to the conclusion
that Tess is a natural victim, trodden by society: 'Every day it
seemed more was expected of Tess and every day seemed to throw upon
her young shoulders more and more of the world's burdens' (Chapter VI).

I conclude that although Thomas Hardy uses many different and varied
techniques to lead us to feel sympathy for Tess he pays particular
attention to portraying Tess as a natural victim. Hardy also spends a
great amount of time (particularly at the beginning of the book)
building Tess' character and building a relationship between Tess and
the readers. This is an effective method of leading the audience to
feel sympathy for Tess because the reader is more likely to like and
consequently, feels more compassion and sympathy towards Tess later in
the book when she is suffering.

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