Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

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Critically examine Thomas Hardy's use of symbolism in Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

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Tess of the d’Urbervilles was written by Victorian novelist and poet Thomas Hardy in 1891. It tells the story of poor farm girl Tess Durbeyfield whose father discovers that their family is descended from one of the noblest families in England, the d’Urbervilles.

The importance of symbolism in literature is that meaning is given to people, animals, and objects that is more than their original meaning. I will examine a few ways in which symbolism is used in Thomas Hardy’s last novel.

When Tess kills Prince, the Durbeyfield family horse and primary source of income, she seeks out and goes working for the d’Urbervilles. It is, therefore, the death of Prince that launches the novel’s action. Prince is also a symbol of Tess and her family. He bears a regal name but is forced to live a life of menial labor.

The Durbeyfields still own a spoon which bears the family’s crest. This spoon is the only thing the family has that shows the truth of their heritage. As an item, the spoon is not...

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