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Tess of the D'Urbervilles and the Ruined Maid Comparison watch

    • Thread Starter


    Please can someone help me compare themes, ideas, language etc. In Tess of the D'Urbervilles and the poem the Ruined Maid.


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    They both look at issues of social class, and the hypocrisy of the Upper and Middle classes.
    The Ruined Maid of the title is a working class girl who has been taken as a mistress. This was highly immoral at the time and yet she is better off than her friend who still works on the farm. She may be morally 'ruined' but she has nice clothes and speaks in a more upper class manner. Tess too was a working class woman, but rather than being taken as a mistress she was raped. She too was 'ruined', which is why Angel rejected her. However, she tried to resist Alec, and ended up in poverty as a result.
    Look at what Hardy tells us about the treatment of working class women.
    Look at the double-standards that existed with morality (in both texts the women are blamed while the men who do wrong seem to avoid any criticism. The only way Tess can receive justice is by punishing Alec herself)
    Look at how Hardy writes direct speech. There are some great examples of dialect spoken by the working class characters, contrasted with the more standard English and Received Pronunciation of the Middle Classes.
    Ideas - women in both texts seem to be victims. In the poem the choice seems to be live a life of hardship on the farm or be rejected by society for becoming a mistress. In Tess, Tess tries to do what is right but suffers from one man's lack of moral values, and the other man's strict moral code that judges her harshly when she is honest with him.
    • Thread Starter

    Thank you!!!! 💫

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Updated: February 12, 2017
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