Ilustration of Tess on hilly pink terrain with trees and clouds in the background

Tess of the d'Urbervilles

by Thomas Hardy

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Student Question

How does Alec show his disregard for his kinship with Tess?

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In Chapter 5 of the text, Alec Stoke makes a clear request of Tess. He asks that she differentiate between her family’s actual surname, “Durbeyfield” and the one that he has taken as his own, “D’Urberville.” Indeed, he explains, the names are as distinct as the families.

"I must think if I cannot do something. My mother must find a berth for you. But, Tess, no nonsense about 'd'Urberville';—'Durbeyfield' only, you know—quite another name."

In this, their first meeting, Alec begins the slow seduction that will culminate in the ruination of young Tess. As he cultivates the first yearnings of lust for this young woman, he takes the opportunity to clarify for her that he does not consider her family. Though she has come to “claim kin” as a poor relation, Alec understands , from their first meeting, that he desires the nature of the relationship between them to be of a another sort entirely

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