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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

CHAPTER 38

Summary

Tess does not look forward to facing her family and telling them the truth about her marriage. She first tells her mother and confesses that she has told Angel the truth about her past; her mother tells her she is a fool. Her father doubts that she is really married. Her brothers and sisters have taken over her room and do 2ot want to be inconvenienced. Tess quickly realizes that she cannot stay at home for long. When she receives a letter from Angel telling her he is going up north, she pretends he has called for her. She gives her parents some of the money Angel has given her and departs.

Notes

Tess dreads going home and facing her parents. They do not make it easy on her, and clearly indicate that they think she is a fool and that they feel disgraced. As a result, she does not tell them the depth of the separation between Angel and herself. Therefore, when the letter arrives from Angel, her parents accept the fact that Tess is returning to him. In truth, Tess is just running away from the bad situation she finds in Marlott.

CHAPTER 39

Summary

Angel goes home three weeks after his marriage and tells his parents that he plans to go to Brazil without his wife; however, he does not indicate to them that he and Tess have actually separated. They are curious about his plans and disappointed that they will not meet their daughter-in-law before Angel departs. Angel says he will stay in Brazil only for a year; after his return, they can meet Tess. They do not question Angel about his reasons for making the trip to South America; they merely accept his decision.


Before departing Emminster, Angel deposits the jewels for safe- keeping and arranges for a sum of money to be sent to Tess in the future.

Notes

Like Tess, Angel deceives his parents, not telling them the depth of his separation from Tess. They wonder why he is going to Brazil, but do not question him. Since they are unable to meet his new wife, they do question their son about her, especially in terms of her morals and chastity. Mr. Clare even reads "The Words of King Lemuel,'' which praises purity in a wife. Angel feels uneasy and embittered by the conversation with his mother and father. He cannot lie to his parents and praise the worthiness of his wife; he simply remains silent. Angel regrets that, like him, his parents are deceived by Tess.

CHAPTER 40

Summary

On his way to London, from where he will sail to Brazil, Angel meets Izz Huett, one of the milkmaids at Well Bridge Farmhouse. He tells her that he and Tess have separated. Then in a moment of weakness, he asks Izz to accompany him on the trip. She readily agrees and confides honestly to him that, though she loves him, she lacks Tess's selfless love. Angel quickly realizes the foolishness of his invitation and leaves Izz behind. He goes straight to London and sails for Brazil five days later.

Notes

Fate continues to work in this chapter. Angel encounters Izz Huett when he stops by Well Bridge Farmhouse. When he tells her of his separation from Tess, Izz is astounded and tells Angel that "nobody could love 'ee more than Tess did!" Her words cause Angel to think and he begins to wonder if he made a wise decision in treating Tess so harshly. He looks forward to his time in Brazil, when he can sort things out for himself. He also thinks that in this foreign land, with different customs and morals, that perhaps he and Tess can eventually make a life for themselves.

CHAPTER 41

Summary

After leaving home, Tess finds only irregular work as a dairymaid, except during harvest time. As winter approaches, she can barely make ends meet and must use some of the money Angel has left her. Since her parents believe she is living comfortably with her new husband again, they ask her for financial help, for their cottage is in serious need of repairs. She sends them the last of her money.

In November, Tess heads to the farm where Marian is working, hoping to find employment for herself there. Along the way, she meets the same man whom Angel had struck. When pursued by him, she hides in the woods and wishes she were dead.

Notes

Tess sends the last of her money to her needy parents. Since she is too proud to approach Angel's parents for help, she travels upland, hoping to find work. She is miserable, lonely, and tormented. When she sees the pathetic sight of some pheasants writhing in pain, she identifies with them. To relieve them of their suffering, she kills them with her hands.

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