Synopsis of chapter 27
Angel arrives back at Talbothays in time for the milk-skimming, where he finds himself alone with Tess. He wastes no time in proposing marriage to her. Tess is taken by surprise, and refuses, the first refusal of many. But she gives no coherent explanation for her refusal, at most hinting that her class origins would be an obstacle to his parents. Angel is not put off by this refusal, but promises to leave it for the time being. He then tells her about his father's encounter with Alec, which obviously distresses her.
Commentary on chapter 27
The proposal brings the inner conflict in Tess out into the open:
- To the reader, the focus is on the reasons for refusal that Tess gives, and more especially, on whether she will tell Angel of her past, the real reason for her refusal
- Hardy also brings to the fore the tension between the claims of the soul and the body. The idea of incarnation is central here; that is, the body as the embodiment of the soul. Tension arises when the soul says one thing and the body appears to be saying another.
skimming-hour: after milking, some of the milk is allowed to stand in wide vats or pans so that the cream might rise to the surface. This is then skimmed off.
Eve at her second waking...: a reference to Milton's Paradise Lost rather than to the Bible. In Book 5, Eve tells of a dream in which she seemed to be wakened by Satan and taken to the tree of knowledge of good and evil, from which God had forbidden her to eat. This is really the beginning of her temptation in Milton's account:
- Her first awakening was after her creation, when Adam wakes her, and she is completely innocent
- This second awakening suggests an element of temptation.
Tractarian...pantheistic: Hardy is trying to define Tess's theology. Tractarian is a reference to the High Church revival under Newman, Keble, Pusey and others at Oxford (see Religion in Victorian England). Pantheistic means a belief that God exists in every created thing and is pagan rather than Christian.
'Leave thou thy sister...': from Tennyson's long poem In Memoriam XXIII
'in season or out of season': from 2 Timothy 4:2, with specific reference to preaching the Gospel. Mr. Clare feels this biblical advice acutely as he tries to convert Alec.
leave their wallowing: a reference to 2 Peter 2:22. It is interesting how Angel echoes his father when talking about him.
Another feature of the ideal community of Talbothays is that there is no resident landlord. Hardy suggests this has taken off one of the common restraints of agricultural society, though he does not spell out what such a restraint would be. Suffice to say, there is as much freedom for them as if Crick had actually owned the dairy. Angel feels this freedom especially after returning from the social restraints put on him by his family. In such freedom, class barriers seem of little importance.
Notice again the bird's eye viewpoint Angel has before entering the lush and fertile Frome Valley and the vocabulary Hardy uses to describe the valley. It seems to be the place of love-making, similar to traditional gardens of love-making found in literature from the Medieval romances onwards.
corollary: something that logically follows from a conclusion
incarnate: born or made into a human body
knoll: small hill
Investigating chapter 27
- Collect together words and images to do with fertility.
- Compare these with similar words and phrases in Ch 20. What do you notice?
- Compare Angel's approach to Talbothays with Tess's in Ch 16.
- What parts of Tess's body are emphasised?
- What are the images Hardy uses of them?
- What is their significance?
- Examine the sentence beginning 'It was a moment when a woman's soul....'
- What does it mean?
- Discuss whether you think there is a possibility of conflict between body and soul
- What does the simile 'like a plant in too burning a sun' suggest of their relationship?
- Does Tess's inability to skim have any symbolic significance?
- What does the mention of Alec do to Tess?
- Why do you think that Hardy introduces this note into the chapter?
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 9Do your best to come to me soon. 10For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 19Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers. 22The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
1I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 9Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: 10For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 11Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 12And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. 13The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. 14Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: 15Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. 16At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 19Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. 21Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. 22The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness. 17These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.
1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
The spirit which gives life to a human being; the part which lives on after death; a person's inner being (personality, intellect, emotions and will) which distinguishes them from animals.
Belief that, in the person of Jesus Christ, God became a human being.
The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament scriptures inherited from Judaism, together with the New Testament, drawn from writings produced from c.40-125CE, which describe the life of Jesus and the establishment of the Christian church.
According to the book of Genesis in the Bible the first woman, said to have been created by God out of Adam's rib, to be his companion.
The devil; the term 'Satan' actually means 'Enemy' and is often used to refer to the force of evil in the world.
According to the Book of Genesis, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil grew in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat its fruit by God. When they disobeyed, they lost their innocence and close relationship with God.
The opposite of goodness; thoughts and actions which are in opposition to God's will and result in wrongdoing and harm. That which opposes God.
The Bible describes God as the unique supreme being, creator and ruler of the universe.
The act of tempting or something that entices an individual to do wrong. In the Bible, can come from a person's internal desires or from an external evil force such as the Devil.
According to Genesis (the first book of the Old Testament), Adam is the first human being, made in the image / likeness of God, placed in the Garden of Eden and given dominion over the earth.
The study of God.
The name is taken from a series of tracts issued in Oxford in the mid-nineteenth century advocating Anglo-Catholicism.
Members of the Anglican Church who emphasise continuity with Catholic tradition without accepting all the teachings of the Roman Catholic church.
John Henry Newman, also referred to as Cardinal Newman, was a 19th-century English theologian.
A belief that God, or the divine, exists in the whole of nature or creation as a holy life-force.
Term applied to those who are not Christian, particularly followers of the classical religion of Greece and Rome and of the pre-Christian religions of Europe.
Gospel - Literally 'good news' - used of the message preached by Jesus recorded in the New Testament.
1. The central message of the Christian faith
2. Title given to the four New Testament books which describe the life of Jesus Christ
To turn (or to cause to turn to) or adopt a different set of beliefs, usually religious. Often used of turning to Christianity.
1. A traditional genre or mode which includes fantasy writing 2. A love story. 3. A Romance language is one that is derived from Latin.
An image where one thing is said to be 'as' or 'like' another: e.g. 'He jumped up like a jack-in-the-box'.
In literature, something that is chosen to take on a particular meaning by the writer, e.g. clouds as symbols of mutability.