"Her throat, full of aching, grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy."

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

What I'm Reading

Tess of the D'Urbevilles, Thomas Hardy

I first tried to read Thomas Hardy (Far from the Madding Crowd), and I emphasise the word tried, when I was fourteen, for an essay at school. I remember sitting down with my friend, declaring how his superfluous language led to an enormous amount of boring and unnecessary pages.

However after watching the BBC's adaptation of Hardy's Tess of the D'UrbevillesI thought I'd give it a whack. Such a famous novel must be famous for a reason, surely?

So, having finished Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbevilles, I can safely say that at fourteen years old I was utterly mistaken. What I thought was a superfluous language in actuality is a collection of carefully though of words Hardy has used to create the perfect atmosphere and the perfect characters. I don't mean perfect in that they are flawless, but in that Hardy has been so careful in his crafting of them, that I can only imagine they are presented exactly how they existed in his mind.

The painful story of Fate's cruel game-playing with our heroine takes the reader on a painful yet wonderful journey of what it means to be pure in a world full of impurity. Tess's actions, of course, are not pure, but her soul is constantly portrayed as something that is absolutely untainted, and at one with nature, her soul becomes part of the earth, and is disassociated with its humans who are capable of such awful actions, as Hardy repeatedly reminds us.

A powerful and wonderful story that I would strongly recommend to anyone, not solely because of its position in literature, but because Hardy's writing is so carefully crafted that it made me feel for Tess as I have never felt for another character in literature.

"'Justice' was done, and the President of the Immortals had ended his sport with Tess."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbevilles