Describe Durbeyfield Family in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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      The family of Tess’s parents consisted of a number of persons. Jack Durbeyfield is the head of this family. Joan Durbeyfield is the mistress of the house. Tess is their eldest daughter. She is about sixteen or seventeen years of age. Eliza Louisa or “Lizalu” was her sister. She was twelve and a half years old. Abraham was her nine years old brother. Next in juvenility came two more girls, Hope and Modesty. Then there came a boy of three and then the baby who had just completed his first year.

      All the young souls were passengers in the Durbeyfield ship. They were entirely dependent on the judgment of the Durbeyfield adults for their leisures, their necessities then and even their existence. If their parents chose to sail into difficulty, disaster, starvation, disease, these half-dozen little captives were compelled to sail there. When their horse named Prince was killed in an accident these children and their parents forced Tess to go to Trantridge. and work their for money on a fowl-farm. Their poverty and affliction drove poor less into the hands of a scoundrel who exploited her helplessness and defiled her chastity. It was he who drove her to doom.

      Jack Durbeyfield was Tess’ father. He was a proud old man. When the person named Tringham told that he belonged to the noble family of d’Urbervilles, he became very proud of this discovery. He was a great drunkard also. He celebrated this discovery with heavy drinking, so he could not drive the cart taking the beehives to Casterbridge on the market day. Thus he became indirectly responsible for the death of his own horse that earned bread for the family. His death of Prince forced Tess to Trantridge where she lost her pure self and became doomed to a tragic end. She went there to earn money so that she might buy another horse for her old parents.

      Joan Durbey Field was the mother of Tess. If Tess was a Victorian in her outlook of life she was a Jacobean. She was a foolish and selfish woman. She wanted to marry Tess to a gentleman and thus make her a lady. She wanted her to go to Mrs. d’Urberville and to claim kinship with her. The moment she save the scoundrel Alec she became desirous of marrying Tess with him. She did not ascertain if he was a good hearted man or not. She compelled Tess to go with him in a fine dress. She was foolish enough not to follow her daughter’s meaning. Tess ruined her own life to please her parents. She said to her mother. “Do what you like with me, mother.” It was this obedience to her mother that led her to a catastrophe from which her Guardian Angel or Providence also did not save. Fate worked through her parents and their nature. It was because of their character that she had to go to the wall.

      The Durbeyfields lived in the village of Marlott. This village was situated in the Vale of Blackmoor. Its inhabitants were haytrussers, beekeepers, poulters and the like. They sold their produce at the marketplace of Casterbridge. There was an old house at the end of the village. It was known as the Rolliver’s inn, John Durbeyfield went to drink there. Tess and Abraham went to this old house in search of him when their mother did not return for a long time. This family represented the society at large. Fate worked against Tess and her chance of happiness through her family.

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