Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2020, Page: 79-83
The Deconstructed Angels in Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Tianyu Xu, Department of Foreign Languages, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Received: Jul. 13, 2020;       Accepted: Jul. 30, 2020;       Published: Aug. 10, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.ellc.20200503.11      View  212      Downloads  66
The nineteenth-century is an age when traditional social expectations for a truly pure and angelic woman pervade the Western world. In Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), two main characters apparently bear unignorable relevance to the term “angel” or its connotation: Angel Clare, whose Christian name alone suggests the subtle artistic design of the author, and Tess, who is overtly defined by the author in the subtitle of the novel as “a pure woman”. The controversial verdict on Tess lead readers to reflect upon the life experiences of the “angelically pure” Tess again in terms of what she does instead of what she is already assumed to be, thus revealing her loyalty, forbearance and nobility of her struggle against fate. Appearing both as an intruder into the Wessex country life and reforming destructionist of the dogma of the church, the other “angel”, Angel Clare deconstructs what his father Reverend Mr. Clare of Emminster holds as absolute truth. His self-deconstruction along the way blurs the simple dichotomy of what is pure and moral, and furthermore, help him finally recognize the disadvantaged female. Prominently, these two “angels” are deconstructed against the incorrigible connotation and the Zeitgeist of their time, showing Thomas Hardy’s possible awareness of the necessity of breaking the stereotypic angelical image as well as wielding the inestimable power of literature to propel changes.
Angel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Deconstruction
To cite this article
Tianyu Xu, The Deconstructed Angels in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, English Language, Literature & Culture. Vol. 5, No. 3, 2020, pp. 79-83. doi: 10.11648/j.ellc.20200503.11
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