Summary of Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles starts with a chance encounter with Parson Tringham and John Durbeyfield. He addresses the plightful Durbeyfield with the name of “Sir John,” and says that he’s recently learned that the Durbeyfields are descendents of the d’Urbervilles, an ancestry that was once famous in England. While Parson Tringham mentions this only to point out how the powerful are now in decline, John Durbeyfield rejoices over the information. Durbeyfield is at home for his annual May Day dance, in which his daughter Tess dances. In this event, Tess happens to meet three brothers: Felix, Cuthbert and Angel Clare. Angel is not a dancer with Tess however, she is impressed by her appearance as the most attractive of the girls. When Tess is home, she discovers the father of her child is in the tavern to celebrate with his prestigious connections to his family. Because John has to get up early to bring bees home, Tess is able to get her mother to find her father first, then her brother Abraham and then goes to the tavern by herself to find that none of them have returned.

In the tavern John Durbeyfield reveals that he has a grand idea to take his daughter to claim kinship with all the other d’Urbervillesand make her capable of marrying an eminent gentleman. The next day, John Durbeyfield is too sick to travel so Tess and Abraham bring the bees. While traveling, their carriage is destroyed and their horse gets lost. As the family has no source of income with the horse they have, Tess agrees to go to the house of the Stoke-d’Urbervilles and claim the kinship. She encounters Alec d’Urberville who takes her around the house and prepares for a kiss. Tess goes home and receives a note to Mrs. Stoke-d’Urberville. She suggests Tess the opportunity to take care of her chickens. When Alec arrives to transport Tess on a trip to her home on the d’Urberville estate Joan believes that she could be married to Tess. While driving to the d’Urberville estate in Trantridge, Alec drives the carriage with recklessness and tells Tess to hold him by the waist. He continues with her, and when Tess is unable to comply, she says she is an artistic woman and a bit sensitive for a girl from the cottage.

When Tess encounters Mrs. Stoke-d’Urberville, she discovers she is blind and is unaware of idea of the fact that Tess is a close relative. Tess is more at ease with Alec despite his constant requests to her. She discovers Alec hidden behind the curtains as Tess is yelling to him in her mother’s bedroom.

In the course of a weekend trip for a weekend trip to Chaseborough, Tess travels with many other girls. The girls who travel with her include Car along with Nancy Darch who are known as”the Queen of Spades and the Queen of Diamonds. Car has a basket of wicker filled with food items on her head and is shocked to discover treacle flows from her back. When the girls are laughing at Car but she is only able to see the fact that Tess is laughing and tries to confront her. Car is ready to take on Tess when Alec arrives and is able to take her away. When Alec takes Tess away, Car’s mother comments she thinks Tess is “gotten out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

While driving back home, Alec asks Tess why she isn’t happy the way he kisses her and she responds that she doesn’t really love him and is often angry at his kisses. When Tess discovers that Alec has delayed his journey home she chooses to go her own way home. Alec insists that she wait until he determines their exact location. He returns to discover Tess who is in bed. Alec has had a sexual relationship with Tess.

After a few weeks, Tess returns home. Tess informs Alec that she hates her because of her flaws and that she isn’t going to ever love Alec. At house, Tess admits to her mother what transpired and inquires about why she didn’t tell Tess about the dangers men could pose. There are many rumors about Tess’s returning to the village of Marlott. In reality, Tess is pregnant and had a baby a few months after. The child, however, gets sick before she’s had it be baptized. In the absence of an opportunity to consult an official, Tess baptizes the baby herself by naming it Sorrow just before the baby dies. When Tess encounters the parson next day, he confirms that the baby has been properly baptized. However, he is hesitant to grant Sorrow the traditional Christian burial until the baby convinces the parson that she is not.

Tess is once more a part of Marlott to join Talbothays dairy in Talbothays, where she is employed by Richard Crick and discovers it is Angel Clare, whom she barely remembers, has joined the team as a dairy worker. The dairy workers ( Izz Huett, Retty Priddle, Marian) inform Tess they believe that Angel is here to learn about milking, and, since Angel is a son of a parson they don’t pay much attention to the girls. Even though his brothers are clergymen, and they were expected to be one, Angel did not attend college due to the differences in philosophy and religion with his father , as well as accepted beliefs of the church. Angel works at Talbothays to study the inner workings of a dairy to prepare to own a farm of his own in the future.

Angel is awed by Tess and arranges the cows in order that she can milk the ones she likes the most. Then, Tess learns from Dairyman Crick that Angel dislikes people from noble families, including the ones whose family has been slain from the limelight. Tess recognizes that the other three milkmaids have a chemistry with Tess however they are aware it is because Angel is more attracted to Tess. When Tess is listening to all three of the milkmaids talking about this, she is in awe of the other’s attraction to Angel and starts to believe that as a woman who works she is more suitable to be a farmer’s wife rather than an equal-sized woman in the same way as Angel. Yet, Tess retreats from Angel’s admiration until he finally announces his admiration for her.

Angel is at home in Emminster in which he talks about the possibility of a marriage together with his parents. While visiting his familymembers, Angel is aware of how his time at Talbothays has transformed his life. While his parents recommend the Angel get married to a nearby woman, Mercy Chant, Angel suggests that he should choose a bride with the ability to work. Parents only approve when they are sure that the bride is a fervent Christian. After Angel comes back from Emminster He proposes to Tess but she declines without giving an explanation. Even though he insists and she eventually admits her identity as a “d’Urberville girl woman, which means she is a part of the family he hates. In the event that Angel is unaffected by the news she accepts to marry him.

Tess write to the mother of her child asking whether she is allowed to reveal the entire history to Angel However, her mother says she shouldn’t. Tess is nervous about her marriage plans, trying to postpone the date while not making crucial wedding arrangements. While visiting together with Angel, Tess sees a man who recognizes her from Trantridge and remark on her reputation as a sham. Angel defends her honour but Tess realises she has to reveal her past with Alec D’Urberville. Tess writes Angel an open letter, and places it beneath his door. The next morning, Angel is a normal person. It’s not until that day Tess finds the letter fell under the carpet , and Angel consequently never found it.

Following Angel and Tess are married, they go to Wellbridge to spend their honeymoon. They stay in a house that was once owned by the D’Urbervilles. Tess discovers from Jonathan Kail who presents a wedding present from the Cricks and tells her that the girls of Talbothays have been suffering terribly after Angel and Tess have left. The night of their wedding, Angel and Tess vow to share their mistakes. Angel admits to having a one brief affair with someone else in London while Tess admits to having a crush on Alec d’Urberville.

In the aftermath of telling Angel about her experience, Tess begs for forgiveness however, he insists that forgiveness isn’t necessary since she was a single person, and is now a different woman in the same form. Tess vows to do whatever that he demands and to commit suicide in the event that he wishes to however, he asserts there’s a discord between her present self-sacrifice and the past self-preservation. Even though she claims that he forgives Tess, Angel still questions whether or not he loves her. Angel’s stubborn nature hinders his acceptance of the faults of Tess in principle and he stays with Tess just to stay out of trouble until he tells her they should break up.

In the at night Angel starts to sleepwalk and then carries Tess away from their home , and then across the river to the nearby cemetery, where he lays her in the coffin. He returns to bed, without disturbing him. The next day, he appears to forget nothing of the incident. Angel informs Tess that he’s going to go away from her, and that she must not contact her, but she may write if she’s sick or has a need.

Tess returns home, but her family remains in poverty, and Tess is left with no accommodation. When Tess receives an email from Angel informing she that he’s been in the North of England to search for farms, Tess uses this as an excuse to get out of Marlott. Angel goes to visit his parents and does not tell them anything about his split, but they are aware that a problem has arisen during his union. Angel decides to travel to Brazil to find an agricultural property, but the he realizes that he’s behaved towards Tess badly. Before departing to Brazil, Angel sees Izz Huett, and suggests that she be with him on his journey to Brazil. When he asks her if she is as in love with him than Tess is, Izz replies that nobody can love her as much Tess does, since Tess will give all of her life for Angel. Angel is aware of his mistake and informs Izz that her response saved him from a terrible mistake.

Tess travels to Flintcomb-Ash where she’ll join Marian on an alternative farm. While on her way to the place, Tess finds the man from Trantridge who recognized her when they were with Angel He demanded an apology for having allowed Angel to falsely defend her honour. Tess is able to hide from him, and when she is approached by men of an inn near by the next day she cuts off her eyebrows in order to appear less attractive.

Tess is employed as a swede hacker in Flintcomb-Ash, which is a barren and rough area. Marian thinks that Tess was abused and believes that Angel could be the culprit However, Tess does not want Marian to refer to Angel’s name in in a negative way. Izz Huett as well as Retty Priddle are with Marian as well Tess at Flintcomb-Ash. Tess finds out that the man who made her feel insulted is actually the proprietor of the farm on which she is employed. Car along with Nancy Darch work at this farm too, but they do not acknowledge Tess. Because the conditions at Flintcomb-Ash are extremely difficult, Tess visits Emminster to solicit assistance from the Clares but she doesn’t approach the Clares when she hears Felix as well as Cuthbert Clare discussing how unpopular Angel’s wife is likely to be. After returning to Flintcomb-Ash Tess finds out that a well-known preacher is in the area Alec d’Urberville.

In the event that Tess confronts Alec and he says that he’s now a victim and has a obligation to help others and believes that he has to save Tess. Yet, he seems to take the blame for Tess for tempting Alec to commit a sin and vows not to ever again tempt him. Alec starts to visit Tess often despite her open disdain and suspicion and even requests she marry him, and take Alec on a trip to Africa where he hopes to become a missionary. Tess is hesitant and confesses to Alec that she’s married, however Alec dismisses the notion she is in a secure marriage, and will not accept the Tess’s (and Angel’s) faith-based beliefs. Alec is able to accuse Tess yet again of trying to deceive him and accuses her of causing his departure away from Christianity. Alec quickly renounces his faith, and loses all ornaments of it, before returning to his more trendy ways , and even putting down preaching. When Alec informs Tess that she must divorce the man she loves, Tess hits him , but refuses to take a backseat after Alec appears to be ready to strike back her punch. She informs Alec that she won’t be crying if he hits her since she will remain his victim.

Alec then employs a different strategy to convince Tess to bow to his demands. He tries to control her through the power of money. Alec is willing to provide for her family however, only as a way to create Tess as well as her entire family dependent. Tess is brought home by Marlott after she finds out that her mother could be dying , and that her father is very sick, but shortly after returning, her father passes away, while her mother is recovering. Following the death of John Durbeyfield, the family is forced to leave their home and relocate elsewhere. They relocate to Kingsbere which is where the tomb of the family d’Urberville is in the vicinity. While Alec proposes to help those Durbeyfields, Tess refuses, even though he promises an assurance in writing that he will remain in support of them regardless of the relationship between Tess and him. When the Durbeyfields arrive at Kingsbere they discover that there is no space at the inn, which they had planned to stay. They have to remain in the church , near the vault of the family d’Urberville.

Angel Clare returns home from Brazil with a weak and sickly body she finds the letter from Tess who claims that she’ll try to forget about him. Angel is able to write to her family at Marlott to inquire about her, but she later learns that the Durbeyfields are not at Marlott in addition to the fact that Joan doesn’t know what her daughter’s whereabouts are. Angel decides to look for Tess and finally discovers her mother, who reveals her to Angel the fact that Tess is in Sandbourne which is a bustling village close by.

Angel discovers Tess at the Inn in Sandbourne in the town where she had lived a life of luxury with Alec D’Urberville. Tess informs Angel that it’s too to late, and that Alec has convinced her he’d never come back. Tess admits she is angry with Alec today, as the lie he told the woman about Angel. After Angel goes away, Tess returns to her room, and starts crying. Alec is there, and, after a heated debate, Tess cuts Alec in the chest killing the man.

When the sad Angel goes out of town, he discovers Tess with him. She confesses to having killed Alec and they remain together in pursuit of escape. They are confined to the mansion that is deserted before moving towards the north to locate an escape boat from England. They are stranded at Stonehenge and there Tess is aware that she’ll be a victim of a snare, asks Angel for her hand in marriage to their sister Liza-Lu when she’s gone. While Tess is sleeping, a crowd of men gather around Angel as well as Tess to take her hostage and charge her with Alec’s murder. Tess will be executed due to the crime she committed, while Angel performs her own will and is likely to marry Liza-Lu.

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