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An Ecofeminist Rereading of Tess’s Tragedy in Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Author YangYang
Tutor YangWenGuang
School Dalian Maritime University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Ecofeminism Thomas Hardy Root of Tess’s Tragedy Enviroment Protection
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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Thomas Hardy’s Wessex novels constitute the highest achievement of realism in late 19th century and early 20th century. And his’s artistic creation is famous for the inevitable symbolic background—nature. Hardy is a craftsman who knows well the function of setting and believes that it is social and natural environments that produce characters and notice versa. In his novels, character and environment are impregnated with each other natural and social environments are properly used to create his characters and make them fit to their moods and emotions. In other words, in such novels the ambience in which characters move is as important as the characters themselves. Besides natural description, woman then is Thomas Hardy’s unceasing but also extremely important inspiration. Among all women characters in Wessex novels, Tess is one of the most beloved heroines in Hardy’s works living in a transitional society. In Hardy’s eyes, historical changes in transitional society don’t necessarily mean development and progress, but imply failure and regret. Especially for women who are intricately with nature, industrial civilization and modern life separate them from nature.Employing the literary theory of Ecofeminism, the author analyzes the root of Tess’s tragedy in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Ubervilles from the relationships between men to women and man to nature. Through an ecofeminist analysis of Tess’s tragedy in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, one can get a glimpse at the conflicts of thoughts in the late 19th century and early 20th century, when man’s oppression and enslaver of women starts from the enslaver of nature. Oppression of nature by the human society with men as the ruler is uniform with oppression of women by men. Through the analysis of the root of Tess’s tragedy, readers can not only deeply understand the fact that civilization is built up at the cost of destruction of natural beauty and ecological equilibrium, but also realize the importance of being in harmonious relationship with nature.

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