Tess of the d'Urbervilles Questions and Answers
by Thomas Hardy

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Why is Thomas Hardy considered a naturalist? What is an example of chance or coincidence in Tess of the d'Urbervilles?

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Naturalism as a literary movement is distinct from Romanticism or Realism in that it takes a detached, dispassionate view of human life. As the eNote on naturalism puts it:

Naturalism applies both to scientific ideas and principles, such as instinct and Darwin’s theory of evolution, and to fiction. Authors in this movement wrote stories in which the characters behave in accordance with the impulses and drives of animals in nature.

This doesn't mean that the characters act like animals, but rather that the relationship of characters to nature is like that of animals. Unlike Romanticism, where the human subject strives to transcend or subdue nature, or realism, which often is concerned with the interior life of characters, naturalist authors set their stories going and then coolly observe what might...

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