I read Tess of the d’Ubervilles my senior year of high school and it continues to capture my attention. Thomas Hardy wrote a novel of a young mistreated girl, Tess Durbeyfield, whose life would bring anyone to tears but her resilience brings me to awe. Life, God, fate, or whatever higher power with the ability to manipulate our path has treated Tess poorly. Throughout the novel, Hardy places hardships on Tess: the loss of her purity, motherhood, secrets, lies, and being chastised from society. Having no break from misfortune, heartache and living a merciless life, Tess was forced to mature at a young age. One woe after another, Tess pushes forward and refuses to give up.
Set in the Victorian era, Tess of the d’Ubervilles has religious influences and depicts how they affect Tess and society. Tess, a pious and noble girl, questions God. She never stops believing but questions why He would treat her like this. What did she do to deserve this life? To put it simply, nothing.
It’s weird to say that my favorite novel literally inflicts sorrow upon an innocent girl but I respect her so much. I consider Tess a feminist icon. She goes through so much in the novel, pain, depression, feeling like she isn’t worth loving, and somehow doesn’t let it take over. She lives on. I know she’s a figment of Hardy’s imagination but she gives me hope. If I ever feel like I’m having a bad day and all I want to do is crawl into bed I know I can get through whatever it is. I think life only throws what you can handle and justice will find its way to you. I don’t know, she just makes me feel like everything is going to be okay. I’ll live on, and Tess will forever have a special place on my nightstand. (311)
On a lighter note, here’s my current jam: 🔮