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What is the theme of the novel, "Tess of the d'Urbervilles"?

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proverbs31 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2007 at 6:05 AM via web

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What is the theme of the novel, "Tess of the d'Urbervilles"?

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted November 21, 2007 at 6:42 AM (Answer #1)

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There are a few different themes, but if you had to pick just one, I would say: Fate and Chance.

So much of the novel revolves around the idea of fate, chance, etc. and what that might mean to life in general. Most of the events are set in motion by fate, and then change due to chance.  

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 21, 2007 at 7:02 AM (Answer #2)

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Another theme in the novel is that of knowledge versus ignorance. Tess and Angel struggle with their parent's unwillingness to accept change and progress and, therefore , this causes a lot of friction between them.

Tess, who has had formal schooling, is not only in possession of a greater intellect than her mother, but also has a much better sense of right and wrong.

Angel is different, because, with the exception of himself,  he is in a family of scholars. Angel has common sense, and is able to see that for all his family's "real" education, they are not always wise in their choices.

Both Angel and Tess see their parent's as choosing to be ignorant, or at the very least, unwilling to move with the times, and their relationships suffer for it.

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sevomshaban | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 11, 2008 at 3:09 AM (Answer #4)

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the theme of the novel is but innocent surrender to doomed destiny and she is not that much brave to change her situation. although she is sincere towards people,she is naive and flimsy in dealing with diabolic fellows.she is a leaf in fatal storm of incidence that results in her sympathetic death.

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