Hardy’s Treatment of Nature in Tess of the D Urbervilles

Hardy’s Treatment of Nature in Tess of the D Urbervilles


Nature has been used in a variety of books, particularly Tess of D’Urberville, and it is an important subject. Hardy, on the other hand, deftly portrays Tess’s feelings using nature. With natural images that are well known and understandable, he is able to convey those emotions. To express Tess’s sentiments of delight and sadness, he presents various aspects of nature such as weather, scenery, and animals. Tess strolls through Flintcomb-Ash’s arid fields when she is lonely; however, when she is content, she appears in flowers, blue skies, and Lucius’ spring dairy.

Innocence and purity of nature

In May, life renews, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles begins. Hardy’s initial images depict Tess, the tragic heroine of the book, innocent, and pure. By adding the following statement:

“Every girl carried in her left (hand) a bunch of white flowers. . . their hair reflected in the sunshine every ton of gold. . . each had a private little sun for her soul,”

Although Hardy has not expressly spoken about Tess in this sentence, he becomes immediately capable of portraying her as a pure and untouchable lady. Hardy’s choice to initially portrays Tess as a white flower brings a sense of cleanliness and purity to the image. Tess’s joy and exuberance are symbolized by the sunlight and golden hue, which are indirectly communicated at the start of the book. Tess has minimal expertise in raising her siblings and has lived with Marlot her whole life. The vision of a heavenly realm centered on Tess, which is referred to as a “private sun,” refers to delight. Hardy is able to instill his character’s original sentiments of delight in the remainder of the book, despite the novel’s ongoing conflicting emotions.

Dark and gloomy forest

Tess travels to Tantridge, where her personality begins to shift as a result of being manipulated by her parents in order to claim kinship. Tess has to deal with Alec D’Urbervilles’ incessant pursuit when she arrives at Tantridge. Tess is compelled to grow less naive and more aware of her surroundings in the same way that the law of nature requires each inhabitant to be equally decisive in their habitat. Alec persuades Tess to let him drive her home after she returns home late at night through the woods. Tess feels herself getting drowsy and lays on the ground after a long struggle with Alec, who leads her into a thick patch of fog. Tess realizes that Alec is not leading her to the house and quickly rejects him. Alec seduces Tess here and changes her life forever by leaving her pregnant. As a result, Hardy concludes that in the gloomy atmosphere of nature, crime occurs.

Serenity of nature

Tess may quickly make friends and do light work in Talbothays, which is an undisturbed environment. Talbothays’ environment is similar to Tess’s current sentiments, and it is refreshing, calm, and tranquil. Tess’ job at the dairy, which entails milking cows, stirring milk, and other light labor activities, demonstrates that her situation is improving. The tasks and customs she encounters while working at Flintcomb-Ash are diametrically opposed to those she enjoys. Flintcomb-Ash was, without a doubt, a starve-acre estate:

“as Tess’s inner being is just as hard and hurt there. The sky wore, in another color, the same likeness; a white vacuity of countenance with the lineaments gone.”

Tess is forced to labor at Flintcomb-Ash for many hours. She is compelled to work in the sun and on machines manned by males, who are forcing her. Tess’ tumultuous marriage and work environment are comparable to this harsh connection. Because she wants to continue her own difficult marriage, she decides to tolerate the harsh environment and rough terrain.

The cyclical character of life, as well as the constant flux of human sentiments between sorrow and delight, are both manifestations of Hardy’s religion. The feelings and destinies of the characters are mirrored in the seasons and surroundings in which they live, according to readers in this book. The bright working environment of nature breeds passion and compassion in human beings, according to Hardy’s contrasting working environment.

The seasonal significance of nature

Angel Clare, a Talbothays Dairy student, becomes Tess’ love interest. In late spring and through the summer, when the plants are ripe and fruitful, their love blooms. In September, when nature is gradually dying and rotting, Tess is raped and her kid dies. Tess marries Angel in the dead of winter, foreshadowing their impending divorce. Tess’ wedding took place in four days, just as all of the leaves from the tree and all apparent living creatures had died. Tess also works at Flintcomb-Ash during the winter, when her fidelity to her spouse is has been put to the test as well as her physical health in difficult conditions. Tess’ life is connected to the natural world in an ironic way. The lunar cycle has seven stages, much as Tess’s life has seven stages in the novel.


Hardy is able to convey emotions as well as show Tess’ change in emotions by using nature in tandem with the change of nature, which is noteworthy. Tess’ varying and diverse sentiments are thus explained via various pictures of nature.

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