Tess of The d'Urbervilles: by Thomas Hardy - Summary

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TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1891)

      Tess has universally been regarded as Hardy's masterpiece. It describes the life of a very beautiful girl named Tess. For a long time all goes on well. One day her father John Durbeyfield knows from a person that he is descended from the noble d'Urbervilles. He begins to dream of high things. His wife Joan thinks that Tess will get a good match. They send Tess to a rich lady, d'Urbervilles with the hope that she will get a good job in her poultry farm. But she meets the lady's son Alec d'Urberville who seduces her and makes her pregnant. She returns home unhappy.

      After sometime she gives birth to a child. She has to face a lot of difficulties on account of it. She works as a dairy maid on the Talbothay's farm. The child dies. Here she meets Angel Clare, the son of a clergyman. He loves her and both decide to marry. Before the marriage is performed, Tess writes a letter to Angel informing him about her past life. But somehow he does not get that letter. Tess finds it hidden under the carpet of his room. When they are married Angel tells her his secret and asks her if she had any. She also tells him her past life. Angel deserts her. But now her father being dead, she has to face many difficulties. She works at some farms. She is again seduced by Alec and her poverty compels her to surrender herself to a villain whom she does not like. But she longs to see Angel who meets her too late. When he finds her with Alec, he returns sad. She murders Alec and overtakes Angel. The following morning she is arrested and is sentenced to death. In this way a pure woman pays her debt to the social code.

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