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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 42

Summary

After the encounter with the Trantridge man, Tess decides that she must make herself unattractive to prevent further incidents. She puts on her ugliest clothes and ties her hair up in a handkerchief. When she arrives at her destination, Marian is astonished at her appearance and questions her about Angel.

Tess finds temporary work at the farm. She writes to her parents, giving them her new address; but she does not tell them of her situation.

Notes

Tess continues to be very hard on herself. She never feels that Angel did anything wrong to her, but readily accepts that she is being punished for her own wrongdoings. She refuses to say anything bad about her husband at all. She also blames herself for the affair with Alec and the pursuit by the Trantridge man.

To add to her misery, Tess also finds Flintcomb-Ash to be hard. The setting is dreary, especially in comparison to the lush fields around the dairy farms; the soil is not fertile and is very hard to work and the camaraderie found at Talbothay's is missing from this farm. Fortunately, there is one bright spot for Tess. Marian becomes her loyal friend, who is willing to help in all sorts of ways.


CHAPTER 43

Summary

At Flintcomb-Ash Farm, life is difficult for Tess. She learns that her employer is the Trantridge man, who is particularly hard on her. She and Marian are forced to work in the fields, through wind, rain, and cold, digging up rutabagas. When the snow begins, they are transferred into the barns, where the work is even more difficult.

During the winter, Izz Huett comes to the farm and is also employed. She tells Marian about her encounter with Angel and the invitation that he offered her. When Tess hears the story, she decides she must write to Angel in Brazil.

Notes

The only happiness that Tess experiences at Flintcomb-Ash is the memories of Talbothay's and the company of Marian. Everything else is dreary -- the work, the landscape, the weather, and the atmosphere. Fate makes those things even worse, for Tess's employer turns out to be the man from Trantridge, who delights in making her life even harder.

CHAPTER 44

Summary

Since she has not heard from him, Tess begins to worry about Angel. She decides to visit his parents to see if they have heard any news from Brazil. Almost one year after her marriage, she travels to Emminster for the first time. While walking in the town, she overhears her brother-in-law and Mercy Chant talking ill of her and lamenting Angel's marriage. As a result, she decides she cannot face Angel's parents and departs for the farm. On the way, she hears a preacher delivering a sermon in a barn, when she looks inside she sees that the speaker is Alec D'Urberville.

Notes

Tess feels positive about her decision to go and meet Angel's family and eagerly sets out on a Sunday morning one year after her marriage. When she arrives, the family is away at church, so Tess strolls in the village, where fate makes her overhear Angel's brother in conversation with Mercy Chant. Not knowing she is nearby, he laments Angel's marriage and sharply criticizes Tess. With her courage dashed, she departs for the farm, never meeting the Clares. On the return journey, fate again makes life miserable for Tess when she sees Alec preaching a sermon.

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