Tess of the d'Urbervilles Contents
- Social / political context
- Religious / philosophical context
- Chapters 1-9
- Chapters 10-19
- Chapters 20-29
- Chapters 30-39
- Chapters 40-49
- Chapters 50-59
- Tess as a 'Pure Woman'
- Tess as a secular pilgrim
- Tess as a victim
- The world of women
- Tess as an outsider
- Coincidence, destiny and fate
- Disempowerment of the working class
- Heredity and inheritance
- Laws of nature vs. laws of society
- Nature as sympathetic or indifferent
- Patterns of the past
- Sexual predation
- Inner conflicts: body against soul
Tess is a carefully structured novel in many aspects, despite its apparently single plot and straightforward timeline. Hardy does not use any complicated framework structures, such as occurs in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, nor multiple subplots as in Dickens. Yet the reader still gains the impression of a carefully layered and complex novel form.
A number of devices help create a sense of a layered structure which brings depth and complexity to the book.
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