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Free Study Guide-Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

PHASE THE THIRD -- THE RALLY

CHAPTER 16

Summary

Tess proceeds to the Talbothay Farm. On this bright May day, she is in high spirits and hopeful for her future. On the way she passes by the tomb of her ancestors, but she does not let that spoil her mood. Instead, she sings ballads to herself, and her expression changes with her improving spirits. When she spies the valley of the dairies, she is encouraged by the view; it is much lovelier than the valley of Marlott. The air is sweet, the rivers are clear, and birds sing sweetly, giving Tess even greater hopes for her future. The distant mooing of the cows reminds her that she is close to her destination.

Notes

The courage with which women bear hardship is pointed out in this chapter. They live through humiliations, regain their spirits, and move ahead with life. Since Tess is still young, she is able to recover from the sorrows of her past. When Tess leaves home for the second time, it is two and a half years after her return from Trantridge, and she is a changed person. She is no longer a naive girl, but a responsible and mature woman. As she moves away from her village, her state of mind changes; the further she travels from Marlott, the more optimistic she becomes. The soft wind soothes her spirit, and the sunshine gives her hope. The whole world begins to appear bright and cheerful. This new image of Tess is a welcome change from her melancholy and despondency.


CHAPTER 17

Summary

At Talbothay's, Tess is welcomed by Richard Crick, the owner of the farm. He is skeptical about her abilities due to her delicate frame, but she quickly proves herself. After her long travels, she refuses to rest and immediately joins in the milking. In the first days of her stay at Talbothay's, Tess easily slips into her role as a milkmaid and feels that she has "laid a new foundation for her future."

On her first day of work, Tess spies the handsome Angel Clare, who is a trainee at the farm. Although the son of a clergyman, he has chosen farming as his vocation. Tess learns at the dairy house that he is a much sought after bachelor, whom the milkmaids admire greatly. Tess remembers him from the May Day dance several years ago, but she is relieved to find that he does not recognize her; she is worried about someone finding out about her past.

Notes

In this chapter, Angel Clare, seen only briefly before at the May Day Dance, is developed as a character. Working as a trainee on the farm, he is looked upon as a gentleman and everyone addressed him as "sir". His father is a respected clergyman in Emminster, and all of his brothers have become parsons. In addition, all the milkmaids swoon over his good looks and fantasize about his falling in love with them.

In this chapter, Tess shows how she has changed. She is again in control of her emotions. Although she finds Angel Clare attractive, she thinks that he is unapproachable and keeps her distance. In contrast to the other milkmaids, she is cautious and prudent. She is also thankful that he does not remember her from the May Day Dance four years ago. Tess hopes that she can remain anonymous so that no one will find out about her past.

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