Study Guide

Tess of the d'Urbervilles

by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Analysis

Historical Context

Darwin and Social Darwinism
The last fifty years of the nineteenth century saw innovations in science and technology that...

(The entire section is 894 words.)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Literary Style

Tess of the d'Urbervilles tells the story of a girl who is seduced and has a child who dies. When she meets another...

(The entire section is 930 words.)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Quizzes

Phase the First: The Maiden, Chapters 1–4: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does John Durbeyfield learn about his true family heritage?

2. What is the name of the valley where Tess and her family live?

3. What distinguishes Tess from her fellow country maidens?

4. What happens at the first meeting between Tess and Angel?

5. What do the two older brothers on a walking tour wish to do, instead of dancing with local girls?

6. Who takes care of the children in the Durbeyfield family?

7. What happens on the road to Casterbridge market?

8. What is the subject of Tess’s and Abraham’s conversation as they ride to market?

9. What does Joan Durbeyfield rely on when deciding Tess’s...

(The entire section is 385 words.)

Phase the First: The Maiden, Chapters 5–11: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What tips the balance of Tess’s decision as to whether to approach Mrs. D’Urberville?

2. What is the name of the home of Mrs. D’Urberville?

3. Why has Simon Stoke decided to rename himself D’Urberville?

4. What job is Tess given by the D’Urbervilles?

5. How is Tess dressed when her parents send her off?

6. What is the mother-son relationship of Mrs. D’Urberville and Alec like?

7. What does Alec teach Tess how to do?

8. What defect marks the social life of the people in and around Trantridge?

9. Who picks a fight with Tess on the way home from Chase¬borough, and why?

10. What...

(The entire section is 390 words.)

Phase the Second: Maiden No More, Chapters 12–15: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Alec want to catch up with and talk to Tess?

2. What final piece of advice does Alec give Tess?

3. Who has started the sign-painter on his work?

4. Why is Tess so struck by the sign-painter’s messages?

5. Why is Joan disappointed with Tess?

6. What happens when Tess decides to attend church?

7. What does Tess do after the parson is not allowed in to see her dying infant?

8. What is Tess’s reaction to the parson saying her infant may not be allowed a standard Christian burial?

9. What name does Tess give to her infant?

10. Why does Tess wish to leave Marlott?


(The entire section is 311 words.)

Phase the Third: The Rally, Chapters 16–19: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What distinguishes the Valley of the Great Dairies from Blackmoor Vale, where Tess was raised?

2. What is the relationship between Tess’s inner mood and her outward beauty?

3. What are Tess’s feelings after getting to work milking the cows?

4. Why does Angel Clare reject a career in the Church?

5. What effect does this rejection have on his family’s plans for his future?

6. Does Angel notice Tess at first?

7. What comes to Angel’s mind after he first pays attention to Tess’s presence?

8. How does Angel’s time at Talbothays change his attitude towards country folk and his overall mood?

9. What...

(The entire section is 428 words.)

Phase the Third: The Rally, Chapters 20–24: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who are usually the first two people to wake each day at Talbothays?

2. What names does Angel call Tess?

3. What is responsible for the Talbothays butter having a bitter “twang”?

4. What is Tess’s opinion of herself as a woman as compared to the other milkmaids?

5. Who carries Tess, Marian, Izz, and Retty across a flooded lane?

6. What quality exhibited by Angel earns him Tess’s respect?

7. How do the milkmaids react when they surmise Angel’s affections are only for Tess, and why have the milkmaids thought it unlikely Angel would consider them as future wives?

8. Whom is Angel supposed to marry?


(The entire section is 424 words.)

Phase the Fourth: The Consequence, Chapters 25–29: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How long will Angel remain at Talbothays?

2. What gifts from Mrs. Crick does Angel carry home to his ¬family at Emminster?

3. What changes does his family note in Angel?

4. What qualities are the Clares looking for in a future daughter-in-law?

5. Who is Mercy Chant?

6. How much forethought lies behind the timing of Angel’s first proposal to Tess?

7. What rationale does Tess use to explain this initial refusal?

8. What story about his father does Angel tell Tess?

9. How does Tess react to the story about the woeful rogue Jack Dollop?

10. On what errand does Tess accompany Clare?


(The entire section is 347 words.)

Phase the Fourth: The Consequence, Chapters 30–34: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is Angel’s true attitude toward the decline of renowned families?

2. What is the only modern encroachment upon the pastoral area around Talbothays?

3. Why is Angel cheered by Tess’s revelation that she is a D’Urberville?

4. What premarital advice does Joan give Tess?

5. Does Angel allow news of the marriage to be publicized?

6. Why is Angel forced to punch the man from Trantridge?

7. Do any of Angel’s or Tess’s close relatives attend the wedding?

8. What is Tess’s mood after the ceremony?

9. How do Marian, Izz, and Retty behave after the ceremony?

10. Where do Angel and Tess go...

(The entire section is 321 words.)

Phase the Fifth: The Woman Pays, Chapters 35–44: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What prevents Angel from going into Tess’s bedroom when he hears her breathing?

2. Why does Tess reject thoughts of suicide?

3. Where does Angel carry Tess in his sleep?

4. To what country does Angel decide to go?

5. What comment does her father make upon hearing that Tess has returned home?

6. Whom does Angel ask to accompany him overseas?

7. What are Tess’s duties on the farm at Flintcomb-Ash?

8. What characters from Phase the First does Tess meet up with again at Flintcomb-Ash?

9. Who takes Tess’s boots?

10. Whom does Tess observe preaching at a local barn?


(The entire section is 268 words.)

Phase the Sixth: The Convert, Chapters 45–52: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Does Tess believe Alec’s conversion?

2. With what does Tess strike Alec?

3. What happens when the rick (or pile) of wheat is nearly ¬levelled?

4. What advice does Angel receive from the cosmopolitan Englishman he meets in Brazil?

5. What are the implications of John’s death?

6. To what figure does Alec compare himself when he surprises Tess in a field?

7. What is the story of the D’Urberville Coach?

8. What generally happens each Old Lady-Day?

9. Where do Tess and her family decide to make a new home?

10. What advice do Izz and Marian give Angel?

1. Tess...

(The entire section is 316 words.)

Phase the Seventh: Fulfillment, Chapters 53–59: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How is Angel Clare’s health after his journey to Brazil?

2. What causes Angel Clare finally to reveal Tess’s noble blood?

3. What does Angel discover when he reaches Tess’s Marlott cottage?

4. Where does Joan tell Angel to seek Tess?

5. What does Tess say when Angel asks forgiveness for leaving her?

6. How is the death of D’Urberville discovered?

7. What does the bloodstain seem to resemble?

8. What is the location of the lovers’ temporary refuge from the law?

9. At what monument is Tess taken prisoner?

10. What two characters see a sign of Tess’s execution?


(The entire section is 259 words.)