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 Third: The Rally, Chapters 20–24: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Who are usually the first two people to wake each day at Talbothays?

2. What names does Angel call Tess?

3. What is responsible for the Talbothays butter having a bitter “twang”?

4. What is Tess’s opinion of herself as a woman as compared to the other milkmaids?

5. Who carries Tess, Marian, Izz, and Retty across a flooded lane?

6. What quality exhibited by Angel earns him Tess’s respect?

7. How do the milkmaids react when they surmise Angel’s affections are only for Tess, and why have the milkmaids thought it unlikely Angel would consider them as future wives?

8. Whom is Angel supposed to marry?

9. What technique does Tess use in milking cows?

10. What part of Tess’s body is deemed by Angel to be the most enticing?

1. Angel and Tess, “possibly not always by chance,” are the first two people to arise each day at the dairy-house.

2. Angel calls her Artemis and Demeter, the names of women from Greek mythology. Artemis was the virgin goddess of the hunt; Demeter was the goddess of fertility.

3. A few garlic shoots in a nearby meadow are responsible for imparting a bitter flavor to the butter recently produced at Talbothays. The last time this happened, Dairyman Crick thought the meadow was “bewitched”; now he has arrived at a more plausible hypothesis.

4. Tess realizes that she is “more finely formed, better educated…and more woman than” any of her friends.

5. Angel carries the milkmaids across a flooded lane as they attempt to make their way to church.

6. Tess is impressed by Clare’s sense of self-control and duty in not taking advantage of Retty’s, Marian’s, and Izz’s attraction to him.

7. The milkmaids’ attitudes are largely of fatalistic resignation. They do not envy Tess because they accept the fact they never had any real chance of permanently attracting Clare’s attentions. The milkmaids assume they have no chance with Angel because he is from a different class.

8. The milkmaids have heard that his parents want Angel to marry a woman of his own class, who is a daughter of a Doctor of Divinity.

9. Tess, like the younger milkmaids, tends to rest her head sideways on the cow, looking out into the distance.

10. It is her mouth that exemplifies Tess’s physical beauty to Angel. “[H]er mouth he had seen nothing to equal on the face of the earth. To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening.”

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