Tess Of The D'urbervilles
Things fall apart, someone once said. Tess found her life falling apart almost from the beginning. Fate and circumstance played subtle and devastating havoc with her heart and her hopes. She found herself caught up in a tight chain of misadventure which bound her life to the lives and destinies of the two men who, in their own ways, loved her and desired her. Both men were tragically flawed, as was Tess herself. All of them were caught up in the rigid social conventions of nineteenth century England, which forced Tess into an almost unbearable impasse which she could only break with fatal consequences. Each link in the chain of events that bound their lives was forged simply and almost unnoticed as their tragedy deepened and unfolded. Each step in their journey was marked by pride, selfishness and misunderstanding, complicated fatally by a simple, unexpected mistake - a note under a mat instead if in the hand it was meant for. The beautiful backdrop of rural England disguises the depths and intensity of the tragedy which reaches its almost-inevitable conclusion on the stone altar of Stonehenge. This stoneage relic serves as a reminder to us all of the dark passions and intense will to life within us all, of the interplay between shadow and light within the human heart and soul. Tess was and remained vulnerable throughout, continually perplexed and distressed by a fate that seemed too cruel to believe, yet too real to avoid. She played her part the only way she knew how and her choices were driven by the narrow mindset of her society. Driven almost to despair at the climax, Tess responded in a brutal and primitive manner to unbearable distress, completing the chain of events that began with her seduction at the opening of the story and leading her to sleep at Stonehenge, where she is found by police. Tess ended as she began - a lone human being caught up in the chains of fate and misadventure, helplessly flawed and hopelessly overwhelmed by the forces that shape all of our lives. Tess was unfortunate, but heroic in her determination to win through to the desires of her heart and a better life. Do we have the same courage?