Discuss the following sentence about Thomas Hardy's novel, Tess of the d'Ubervilles: "Tess is more sinned against than sinner."

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The sentence, "Tess is more sinned against than sinner," has much to do with the presence of Fate in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Ubervilles. Chance and Fate are ever-present throughout the story because no matter how hard Tess tries to make the right choice, or to do the right thing, Fate had a way of throwing insurmountable obstacles at her that caused pain, loneliness, and suffering. The first sentence in the last paragraph of the book validates Fate's presence by saying, "'Justice' was done, and the President of the Immortals, . . . had ended its sport with Tess" (enotes.com, eText, pg. 249). It seems so frustrating for Tess that throughout the whole story, she is plagued with an extreme situations;such as becoming a teenage mom during a very unforgiving Christian period like that of the Victorian Age. Other times when Tess is more of a victim than a sinner is when her mother guilts her into meeting Alec d'Uberville and she is seduced, when Alec doesn't first ask him to marry her before he sleeps with her, and when she is dealt with unfairly by Angel and driven to madness and murder because of it. If she had known how to be a more confident and independent woman rather than a pitiful victim, she would have made more choices that would have been for her own benefit and not for the appeasement of others.

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