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Tess of the d'Urbervilles

by Thomas Hardy

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How does Hardy present the rape scene in chapter 11 of Tess of the d'Urbervilles? Write a close analysis of the scene.

To write a close analysis of chapter 11 of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, examine the relationship of the chapter's plot to the rest of the novel. This includes looking at the words, actions, and motivations of the characters, the scene's setting, and Hardy's presentation of the rape.

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When you set out to write a close analysis of any text, you must first read the piece carefully, paying close attention to the details. After all, an analysis seeks to break down a text into its parts and explain its various characteristics.

A close analysis of chapter 11 of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles should examine how the chapter's plot fits into the storyline of the novel. This is a key scene that features a highly important event: the rape of Tess by Alec d'Urberville. As such, it brings the novel's first section to its climax and sets the stage for the next section of the book and the next phase of Tess's life.

An analysis should also look closely at the characters and their interactions. You might examine the difference between Alec d'Urberville's words and his actions. He speaks gently to Tess, and he seems to treat her with respect, yet he also deliberately avoids taking her home, and in the end, he rapes her. This tells us a lot about who Alec d'Urberville is as a person, and your analysis should address that. You should also look at Tess's words and actions. She continues to maintain that she does not want Alec's love, yet she also hesitates and sends some mixed messages. This is, of course, no excuse at all for Alec's actions, but we might ask ourselves if Tess does actually love Alec.

A good analysis of this chapter will also examine the scene's setting and reflect on how it relates to the events. The night is dark and foggy. The moonlight has been obscured by the fog, and all is hidden. This spooky, sinister setting reflects the sinister event that takes place at the end of the chapter. Only a dark heart would take advantage of a young woman with such a dark deed on a dark night.

Finally, you might discuss Hardy's presentation, or lack thereof, of the rape itself. He handles the scene quite delicately, letting readers know what happened without going into details. Think about why he decides to present the event as he does. Also reflect on the philosophical musings Hardy provides and decide whether they contribute to the story or detract from it.

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