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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Phase the Second: Maiden No More, Chapters 12–15: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why does Alec want to catch up with and talk to Tess?

2. What final piece of advice does Alec give Tess?

3. Who has started the sign-painter on his work?

4. Why is Tess so struck by the sign-painter’s messages?

5. Why is Joan disappointed with Tess?

6. What happens when Tess decides to attend church?

7. What does Tess do after the parson is not allowed in to see her dying infant?

8. What is Tess’s reaction to the parson saying her infant may not be allowed a standard Christian burial?

9. What name does Tess give to her infant?

10. Why does Tess wish to leave Marlott?

1. If he cannot convince her to return to Trantridge, he will at least ride her the rest of the way home to Marlott.

2. Alec advises Tess to display her beauty, her prime advantage, to the world.

3. An evangelical preacher named Mr. Clare started the sign-painter on his unusual work.

4. Tess has the uncanny, irrational feeling that this man knows what has just happened to her.

5. Having heard about Tess being a favorite of Alec, Joan assumes a marriage, which will materially help the Durbey¬fields, is in the near future. Joan is shocked and disappointed when she learns otherwise.

6. Her neighbors gossip and whisper in her direction, making Tess feel she is being singled out as one who is guilty.

7. Tess performs the baptism on her own, getting her siblings to pray and reading the prayers herself.

8. Tess vows never to go to the parson’s church again.

9. After recollecting a phrase from the book of Genesis in the Bible (Chapter 3, Verse 16: “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”), Tess gives her infant the name “Sorrow.”

10. Tess feels she cannot be happy in a place which knows the particulars of her lost maidenhood. It is best for her and her family if she moves elsewhere.

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