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What is the point of view of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles"? What was the conflict? 

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proverbs31 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted November 1, 2007 at 5:15 AM via web

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What is the point of view of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles"? What was the conflict? 

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 1, 2007 at 11:00 AM (Answer #1)

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In response to what is the point of view of the novel: Hardy uses 3rd person omniscient point of view, which means he presents the story as it is understood by various characters so that we know the thoughts of many, and Hardy includes a strong narrative voice to guide the reader interpret the story. Here is an example of the narrative voice guiding the reader: “It is a vale whose acquaintance is best made by viewing it from the summits of the hills that surround it--except perhaps during the droughts of summer. An unguided ramble into its recesses in bad weather is apt to engender dissatisfaction with its narrow, tortuous, and miry ways” (Ch 2). Here the point of view is inside the mind of the protagonist: “As for Tess Durbeyfield, she did not so easily dislodge the incident from her consideration. She had no spirit to dance again for a long time, though she might have had plenty of partners; but ah! they did not speak so nicely as the strange young man had done” (Ch 3). I include conflicts in a separate answer.

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 1, 2007 at 11:08 AM (Answer #2)

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The conflicts of the story include all that you list. Certainly one conflict is "man" vs. "woman" because Tess is raped by a man, which triggers the rest of the story.  However, Hardy also sees her as a victim because of her class and gender, which could be considered as a conflict of "woman" vs society. Add to this the fact that Hardy envisions a godless universe where individuals are doomed or succeed because of their circumstances in life, which is a conflict of "woman" vs. Fate.  Her internal conflict is painful because she must face what to do with her life after the rape, making decisions which are tragic.

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