TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
By Thomas Hardy
ACTIVITIES AFTER READING
1.- Tess wrote to her mother, asking for advice about whether to tell Angel the truth about her past. Write Tees's letter, using these prompts to help you.
I hope all are well at home. How are the children?
I've got exciting news, I'm getting married to a gentleman! But before,
I have a urgent question to ask you and please reply quickly: Should I tell him about my past? Please, I want you to be honest, I love him very much and I don't want to lose him!
I'm not sure about what to do, I'm very worried, I need your help, mum.
Your loving daughter, Tess
2.- This is a story of mistakes that were made and opportunities that were missed. What might have happened if…? Complete these sentences in your own words.
If Angel had danced with Tess in the My-Day dance, they would have fallen in love with each other.
If Alec d'Urberville hadn't seduced Tess, she wouldn't have had a baby and some problems but, she wouldn't have met Angel either because she wouldn't have gone to the dairy to find a job.
If Tess `s baby had lived, she could have had to find a job in Marlott and she would have argued with her father a lot.
If Tess hadn't told Angel about her past, he would have never gone to Brazil without Tess.
If Tess had met Angel's parents, instead of his brothers,
If Angel had come back from Brazil sooner, Alec couldn't have seduced Tess and Angel would have helped her family
If Tess hadn't killed Alec d'Urbeville, Tess and Angel would have lived together for ever.
3.- Angel Clare discussed his problems with a man he met in Brazil. Complete Angel's part conversation.
Stranger: So, tell me, why are you separated from your wife?
Angel: Because I wanted to travel, to know new places…
Stranger: Travelling is dangerous for anyone in this country! That's not the real reason, is it?
Angel: It's, it's been a mistake.
Stranger: what kind of mistake? You mean you married the wrong girl?
Angel: Never! She is absolutely amazing, beautiful…
Stranger: But if she's so beautiful, why aren't you with her now?
Angel: It's difficult to explain, she is a country girl
Stranger: Poor girl! That wasn't her fault thought, was it?
Angel: Of course, but she hasn't the same purity and innocence as a maiden.
Stranger: Purity and innocence! You expected too much, my friend. So what did you do when you discovered she has a past?
Angel: Exactly, I left home because she couldn't prevent hersef about a man.
Stranger: What? You left your wife just because of something that happened years ago, which she couldn't even prevent!
Angel: Yes, do you think I'm wrong? Should I return with her?
Stranger: Well, if were you, I'd go straight home. Ask her to forgive you- you still have a chance of happiness together.
Angel: She said that she would have laid down her life for me and I think the same for her! Do you think she'll be able to forgive me?
Stranger: She might. She sounds as if she has a loving nature. But you've behaved very badly to her, you realized that!
Angel: Yes, I'll return next to her, what must I say?
Stranger: Say that to her, just as you've said it to me. And if she runs into your arms, you'll be a luckier man than you deserve to be!
4.- After Tess's arrest, she was sent for trial at Wintoncester. Complete the speech for the prosecution with the words below.
` My lord, this is a simple matter of murder. A young woman, who is living with a wealthy gentleman, although, she is not married to him, decides to put and end to the relationship. We do not know why - perhaps she was tired of him and found a new lover , or perhaps she has stolen money from him. She takes a sharp knife and stabs it deep into his heart. The gentleman dies instantly, and the woman realizes she must run away, to escape punishment . So she hides in the countryside, with the help of her husband, who has recently returned from Brazil. But fortunately , the forces of law and order find her in the end, and bring her back to face trial. I demand justice for the death of an innocent man! Tess d'Durbeyfield must die!
5.- Now complete the speech for the defence. Put the phrases in the right order. Then, using these linking words, join the sentences together to make a paragraph of five sentences.
My lord, let me remind you of this poor girl's history !
At the age of sixteen, she met the wealthy Mr d'Urberville and was seduced by him. Later, she fell in love with and married this gentleman, Angel Clare who chose to live apart of her because he found out about her past. He retuned, however, after some years abroad, only to find her living with d'Urberville. As soon as Tess realized that d'Urbeville was spoiling her chance of happiness with her much-loved husband, she picked up a knife and stabbed her lover through the heart. Therefore, my lord, I say he does not deserve to die for a moment of madness, she has already suffered enough!
6.- Do you agree or disagree with this statements? Explain why.
The parson was right to tell John Dubeyfied about his connection with the d'Urbervilles.
I think he was right because he didn't know that it could be a tragic destiny for Tess.
Tess could have prevented Alec from seducing her.
Although she was only a teenager, she could have avoided it. She should never have gone to go with him alone.
Angel's and Tess's guilty secrets were the same.
On the one hand, I agree since he demanded purity and innocence for a maiden and, is it different for a gentleman?
On the other hand, the past didn't mind now (in this case).
Tess was as pure at the end of the story as at the beginning.
I disagree or agree depending on what “pure” means? The story uses this word to refer when Alec rapes her. So, I'd be agree with the statement. On top of that, if it refers to child's pure, I also agree as , although she suffers a lot, she wasn't as innocent as before when she kills Alec.
Angel Clare did more to destroy Tess than Alec did.
I absolutely disagree with this. I think Alec hit her much more than Angel who had a small trouble like everyone in a relationship. However, Alec never respected her.
6 The whole tragedy was no one's fault.
I think the real tragedy was what Alec did but then Tess could have thought a little before she stabbed him. If she had only left with Angel, their lives would have been really different.
7.- Now discuss these more general statements, with reference to the story.
1 A mother always knows best.
Tess's mother, like all, only wanted to protect her but Joan, could have advised her daughter before sent her to d'Urbevilles's house to find a husband. I think in that age surviving every day was difficult.
2 Honesty is the best policy.
I've got the same point of view but it has never been in this way. In the story the rich man lived better than the country people; besides they were gentlemen and the others only people without the same laws.
3 Love is blind.
This is a famous topic in any language. In the story she had the opportunity to choose a man who she really loved, but we can read how every family choose the wife or husband, like Angel's neighbours: Miss Mercy Chant who should have married Angel if Tess hadn't turned up.
4 We are maters of our own destinies.
Your destiny is what you choose. For Tess it was different as she had to take care of her family and herself. So, she moved every time to look for a chance to save both things.
Where there's life, there's hope.
I think hope is the last thing you must lose. Tess lost it when Angel went to Brazil but she must have seen it when she ran away after killing Alec.
Tess is the eldest daughter of a country family, the Durbeyfields. She has a lot
of brothers and sisters and her father works hard to earn some money. When
they find out that their true ancestors are the noble family of the d'Urbevilles
they think of a wedding between Tess and one of them. So, she moves to
Trandtridge where she works and lives with the noble family. There, she meets
Alec who seems the perfect gentleman for her.
However, all things change one night after work when she goes with other
workers to take a drink but she wants to return before whereas the others are
dancing and drinking. Suddenly Alec turns up and takes her home but, in
the middle of a forest, he rapes her. Shortly afterwards, she has to return to her
home and besides, at the age of seventeen, she has a baby.
Her family is angry with her because she hasn't got married. Her father doesn't
want to know anything about the baby ,he falls ill but nobody helps her and the
Then, she decides to look for a job in a dairy. She learns how to milk, make a
butter and she gets used to waking up early and to seeing the beautiful
landscapes. She lives, eats… there with other workers. Angel is a gentleman
who works as a farmer because he likes it, who all girls want as a husband but,
fortunately, he falls in love with Tess, the most beautiful girl he's ever seen so
they want to get married. Now the only problem is their families. Angel's
family is noble, religious and they want a maiden for him and Tess's family is
modest and the important thing for them is that he was a gentlemen. Despite
this, they get married in December in the dairy and their honeymoon stars in a
new house where a lot of years ago the d'Urbevilles used to live. Now they are
happy, the only sad thing is the past of Tess which she tried to tell him about
many times before the wedding, and when he finds out about it, he's so
miserable that he decides to go to Brazil for a while.
Even since, Tess's life becomes a continuous problem: her father announces
Angel over the village and he takes pride in it but then, she comes back without
her husband… besides , she sees Alec who has studied about religion in this
time and after finding out that they had a baby and his husband isn't there he
wants to marry her and, on top of that, her father dies and her family lost their
house. In these conditions Alec offers them a house provived if she lives with
him. She has no other choice.
During all this time she writes to Angel but the reply never arrives. Alec
convinces her that her husband will never turn up. As now Tess's life has
changed a lot , Angel is in Brazil with hard conditions to work and not much
lucky since there are a lot of people in the same lands. He decides to go back to
Tess because despite her past, he loves her. When he researches home his
mother gives him Tess's letters but when he visits her, she realizes that Alec has
been lying to her and she stabs a knife in his heart and runs away with Angel.
They try to escape but the police arrest her a few days later and ,finally, she