What are a few examples of realism in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Realism is established in Hardy's Tess of the d'Ubervilles each time she is taken out of her fanciful, dream-filled mind and forced to look life in the face when a real-world experience consumes her. For example, Tess first goes to Alec d'Uberville's at the request of her mother and possibly to marry him. After she gets to know him, however, she doesn't like him and doesn't want to marry him. The reality of the conflict between rational thought and physical desires confronts Tess when she falls into a passionate affair with Alec that results in her becoming pregnant. With each choice that Tess makes, a real consequence seems to surprise her afterwards--such as the time when she decides to leave Alec and head back home to her mother. She seeks refuge at home rather than marry the father of her child. As a result, she is faced with the whispers of a pious community who can only see her sins and not her plight. This is a reality that faces young mothers today just as it did back in Hardy's time. Even though we might think he or she can handle life, the results of choices tend to surprise us. Tess faces other bouts with reality after her baby dies, after she marries Angel, and after she kills Alec. It's as if she can't think farther ahead about the consequences that might come from the choices she makes and she ends up suffering for them.


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