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Q1. Discuss the character sketch of Madam Bovary.

Ans. Gustave Flaubert's masterpiece, Madam Bovary, was published in 1857. Emma Bovary is
a romantic woman who exists in a dream world and longs to escape her middle-class, dull life-
style. Throughout life she has difficulty sticking with anything. As an adolescent, she spends
time in a convent and at first, dedicates herself to the study of religion. It is in the convent that
she becomes enamoured with the sensual and the sentimental; but her dedication to a religiously
life-style quickly wanes. She returns to her father's farm to manage his affairs; she tries of farm
life just as quickly. She marries Charles Bovary because she is bored with life on the farm. She
soon finds her husband coarse and boring, and wants more out of life than he can offer her.

Given to Daydreaming

Emma's early life influences her entire approach to life. She is born with a natural
tendency towards sentimentality. She prefers the dream world to the real world. Rather than
being brought up in the realities of everyday living, she begins reading Gothic and Romance
novels where she indulges in day dreams and in sentimentalising about life. The romance novels
affect her entire life. In religion, she searched for the unusual, the mystic and the beautiful rather
than the real essence of the church. Being basically a dreamy girl, she develops into the extreme
romantic who spends her time longing and sighing for old castles, secret meetings and intrigues.
She constantly feels the need for excitement and cannot endure the dull routine of everyday

After her marriage, Emma continues in search for excitement. She cannot tolerate her
marriage because it does not fit into the fictionalised accounts she has read about. She misses the
"bliss, ecstasy and passion" that she hoped she would find in marriage. And rather than devoting
herself to living life, rather than facing reality, she hides herself in her dreams and expends all
her energy in futile longings. She is continually dissatisfied with her life and searched constantly
for ways to change things.

Unfulfilled Longings

Thus, since life refuses to conform to her romantic picture, Emma begins to alternate
between various things in the hope that her unfulfilled longings would be satisfied. She tries
everything. She redecorates the house, she takes up reading, subscribes to Parisian magazines,
helps at charities, knits, paints, plays the piano and engaged in a multitude of other activities. But
each thing she attempts, she soon becomes bored and rejects one activity for another. This
frenzied search for excitement exhausts her until she starts suffering from constant depression
which adversely affects her health.

Charles's own sense of complacency and his dullness only add to Emma's misfortune.
Then when she meets Leon, she feels that she has found her soul-mate. She is unable to see that
her thoughts and his are both part of the same romantic concept expressed in platitudes and
clichés. She mistakes superficiality in Leon for profundity. They become platonic friends.

Need for Security

After Leon leaves, Emma feels that she has missed something, that something has been
denied her. Therefore, later when she meets Rodolphe, she is ready to give herself to him readily.
She has longed for someone who would "know about everything, excel in a multitude of
activity", and who would introduce her "to passion in all its force, to life in all its graces", and
initiate her "into all mysteries". Thus, when Rodolphe appears and begins his frank, daring and
passionate exclamations of love, Emma feels that she is now experiencing these passions and
these elemental forces. He is then the fulfillment of her dreams. For the first time, she feels that
her life now has all the "passion, ecstasy and delirium" of the romances which she had read.

Rodolphe is the first man that Emma actively seeks in Yonville. This charming, young
bachelor is impressed with Emma's beauty and independence and offers her some excitement.
With Rodolphe, Emma experiences the thrill of pure physical passion, but she longs for more.
Emma's nature will not allow her to be in one situation for ever. She begins to want to change
things. She tries to talk Rodolphe into running away with her. This desire may appear frivolous,
but this is grounded in Emma's acute need for security. It is indeed ironic that every resource she
depends on for emotional sustenance crumbles. When Rodolphe backs out of the affair, Emma
becomes more reckless than ever.

She borrows endlessly and Lheureux obliges, knowing fully well how to get his money
back. She perfects her schemes and constantly has her way.

On the Road to Self-Destruction

After her recovery from Rodolphe's betrayal, Emma meets Leon again and give herself to
him rather readily. She is still searching for that noble passion. But true to Emma's nature, she
attempts to dominate Leon. Although he resents this, he is enraptured by her seductive prowess.
When Emma's demands reach the financial dimension and she requests that he steal from his
employer to help her, Leon breaks away from the relationship and Emma finds in "adultery all
the banality of marriage".

Realising that Leon does not ;love her, Emma visits Rodolphe. She wants to renew her
relationship with him so that she will be able to settle her dues with Lheureux. In a way, she's
prostituting herself. When Rodolphe denies her the money, her embittered heart can hold out no
longer. She criticised him for having used her. Financial devastation, combined with the second
betrayal by Rodolphe, leaves Emma with only option: death.
In choosing suicide, Emma displays her usual romantic shortsightedness. She assumes
that death will gently overcome her in sleep after she has consumed arsenic. Instead, the process
turns out to be a long-drawn one and extremely painful for Emma and her family.

Emma's attempt at reconciliation with God, as symbolised by her passionately kissing the
crucifix, demonstrates that, even in her dying moments, the sensualist in her is dominant. This
has been her constant approach to life and religion. Throughout life, Emma gave herself out to
that which brought her pleasure. Deprived at the end of every source of pleasure, she sees no
reason to live. Her character attains immortality because of its depiction as a fallible and
vulnerable creature. Like the ordinary person, She is a middle class woman who cannot stand the
middle class life. She spends her entire life to escape from this middle class existence through
dreams, Love affairs and false pretensions.

Emma's Middle-Class Mores

Emma possesses one quality that the other character do not have. She has a dream of life
that allow her to look for ideals and feelings greater than she is. Even though these ideals might
be superficial, she is aware that there are feelings greater than those found in her middle-class
surroundings. And, inspite of her infidelities, she cannot bring herself to prostitution in order to
solve her financial situation.

It has been pointed out that Emma's failure is not completely her own. Her own character
demonstrates the many ways in which circumstances - rather than free will - determined the
position of women in the nineteenth century. If Emma were as rich as her lover, Rodolphe, for
instance, she would be free to indulge the lifestyle she imagines. Flaubert suggests at times that
her dissatisfaction with the bourgeois society she lives in is justified. For example, the author
includes details that seem to ridicule. Homais's pompous speech-making or Charles's boorish
table manners. These details indicate that Emma's plight is emblematic of the difficulties of any
sensitive person entrapped among the French bourgeoisie. But Emma's inability to accept her
situation and her attempt to escape it through adultery and deception process, cause harm to the
innocent people around her. For example, though dim-witted and unable to recognise his wife's
true character, Charles loves Emma, and she deceives him. Similarly, little Berthe is an innocent
child in need of her mother's care and love, but Emma is cold to her, and Bertha ends up working
in a cotton mill because of Emma's selfish spending and suicide, and because of Charles's
resulting death.

We can see that Emma's role as a woman may have an even greater effect on the course
of her life than her social status does. Emma is frequently portrayed as the object of a man's
gaze: her husband's, Rodolphe's, Leon's, Justin's - even Flaubert's, since the whole novel is
essentially a description of how he sees Emma. Moreover, Emma's only power over the men in
her life is sexual. Near the end of her life, when she searches desperately for money, she has to
ask men for it, and the only thing she can use to persuade them to give to her is sex. Emma's
prostitution is the result of her self-destructive spending, but the fact that as a woman, she has no
other means of finding money is a result of the misogynistic society in which she lives.

Flaubert's Affinity for Emma

By losing the struggle to keep his distance from his heroine, Flaubert may have won
generations of readers who even today are strongly affected by Madame Bovary. He must have
felt affinity for a character who, like himself, was subject to boredom, self-absorption and
unreasonable expectations. More crucially, he endowed her with his own persistent longings and
romantic imaginations.

"Madame Bovary, c'est moi" (Madame Bovary is me) is probably Guatave Flaubert's
most celebrated remark, allegedly made to his friend Amélie Bosquet, novelist and historian of
Norman folklore. The words ring true nut surprise us coming from the apostle of detachment.
Many scholars believe that he was referring to a weakness he shared with the character for
romance, sentimental flights of fancy and melancholy. Flaubert, however, approaches
romanticism with self-conscious irony, pointing out its flaws even as he is tempted by it. Emma,
on the other hand, never recognizes that her desires are unreasonable. She rails emotionally
against the society that, from her perspective, makes him impossible for her to achieve.

Even in lowest spirits, Emma could envision an exotic destination or exotic love that still
awaited her. This propensity, Emma's final undoing, is one her creator identifies with and builds
into the plot with unalterable momentum. Emma appears to be giving a running commentary on
her desires and failures; when she suffers disappointment, we think she deserves better. We are
all the more reluctant to scorn her because this woman who descends from accidental
entanglement to willful deceit is not a trollop or a nonentity. Emma, when first introduced, is an
intelligent, decorous and beautiful. Her story is a modified Greek drama. She is an appealing (if
not noble) being, destroyed by her (not one but many) flaws. Very much in opposition to current
"victimisation" defences, Flaubert, for all his irritation with confining small towns, lays the
blame firmly on what he calls her soul.
Q2. Attempt symbolism in the novel Passage to India.

Ans. A Passage to India is about the attempt of two British ladies to have 'a passage to India' -
to come to India, to understand India and the Indians. The novel is a study of the relationships
that these women try to establish with Indians - and also how they fail. A Passage to India has
been read with such profit and pleasure as a brilliant social comedy, as an acute analysis of the
racial problem and so on. But there recurs again and again through the novel the suggestion of a
meaning far deeper than that which appears on the surface level of plot. This larger meaning
yields itself only when we pay attention to the symbolic implications of the plot. Critics have
justly admired Foster's use of symbols as the richest most intricate aspect of his work art. It gives
to the novel an effect very much like that of rhythm in music - a metaphor, an image or even a
phrase is taken up and is repeated with variation like a musical note, and this "repetition plus
variation" spreads like a ripple the significance of the image or the expression in question beyond
its immediate context. Such expanding significance of images, metaphors and expressions is
what gives a symbolic dimension to the story and warns of a larger meaning which goes behind
story, people and setting.

The central design of A Passage to India is composed of three major symbols which are
indicated in the titles to three parts of the novel: Mosque, Caves and Temple. In the first part of
the novel. we are brought to a mosque, in the second to the caves, in the third to a temple. Each
visit is a critical encounter and has symbolic significance which dominates the events following
it in that section of the novel. In the mosque part of the novel, an English woman and an Indian
enter a mosque and establish "secret understanding of the heart". This understanding of the heart
is the dominant urge at this stage and expresses the most general meaning of the Mosque symbol
of the novel. The mosque, with its serene beauty, its combination of light and shade, represents a
belief in the oneness of India and, therefore, comes to symbolize a possibility of understanding
between people. This symbolic meaning dominates the entire first section of the novel but not to
the extent of making it an allegory. Forster, as a critic has pointed out, has composed the opening
section of the novel as a series of variations on the mosque theme of "secret understanding of the
heart". For, the mosque scene where a strangely intimate relationship is established between an
Indian and an Englishwoman is almost immediately followed by the Bridge Party - where no
understanding whatsoever is established between East and West. Just as the mosque represented
a possibility of different people coming together, the Bridge Party is intended to represent a
"bridge" between the Indians and British. But no bridge is established in the party and thus the
dominant mosque symbol is undercut by the ironical message of the Bridge Party - that there can
be no understanding between people of different races.

Two other relationships reinforce the ambivalent meanings of the mosque symbol. The
success of the friendship between Fielding and Aziz points to the positive meaning of the
mosque symbol; but we must be not against this, the numerous difficulties that best the
"understanding of the heart" reached between them; "A pause in the wrong place, an intonation
misunderstood and a whole conversation went away". Again the civilized reasonableness with
which the romantic pair, Adela and Ronny, conduct their romantic understanding of the heart and
the spuriousness of such understanding - both illustrate the double-edged symbolism of the
mosque. This ambivalent pattern of signs of understanding and signs of division is a pattern that
is to be found throughout the book and makes the symbolism much more complex than mere

Moreover, even in the Mosque Section, there are intimations of the caves which is the
symbol dominating the second section of the novel. At Fielding's tea-party we are prepared for
the ominousness of the Marabar Caves when Godbole avoids describing the caves in a way
which heightens their threatening mystery. " The comparatively simple mind of the
Mohammedan was encountering Ancient Night." The Marabar Caves have already begun to

The first chapter of the part called 'Caves' gives an account of an India far older than
anything known to man, whose mysterious residue the Marabar Caves are. It is a description
packed with suggestions that makes the caves symbolic of something deeper and more
mysterious than what they appear to a casual sightseer. They are 'extraordinary' but what they are
so extraordinary about is left mysteriously unexplained. We are merely told that the Marabar
Caves are prehistoric: they predate Islam, Christianity and even that oldest of all religions,
Hinduism. They are symbolically the voice of that Universe which is "older than all spirit". In
other words, they are the voice of Chaos and Old Night, pre-existing God even, a state when
everything was formless and void. "Nothing, nothing attaches to them", says Forster. If the
mosque took us to a world of Cool Weather in which everything was favourable to human lives
and hopes, a world of unity between man and the earth he lives in, the caves take us to a world of
Hot Weather in which the heat of the blazing sun negates, annihilates man's attempt to live in
mystical union with the earth around him. They represent the complete divorce of human spirit
from earth, a state in which man is an alien on a hostile earth. The round walls of the caves are
marvelously polished and when a visitor strikes at match, his flame seems to meet another, its
reflection on the polished wall, but the two can never merge. By this Forster seems to suggest
that the stone of the caves frustrates the attempt by man's flame, the Atma, to achieve union with
the universal flame, the Brahma.

The cumulative effect of all these suggestions is to establish the Marabar Caves as an evil
place - not in a primitively magical sense, but symbolically, as representing evil and extreme
negation. In bringing his Western characters to these caves, Forster is confronting them at the
symbolic level with a part of India - and indeed the universe - that is not allowed for in their
philosophy. The symbolic structure of the novel requires that both Mrs. Moore and Adela
Quested be presented with a nightmare vision that challenges the comfortable Christianity of the
one and the rationalistic liberal pretensions of the other. Mrs. Moore, whom the caves affect the
most profoundly, is a religious mystic who has wished to communicate with God, to become one
with the Universe, in the conviction that such union is beautiful and full of meaning. But now
when she goes into the caves, she has an experience of that oneness which is nothingness. She
looks into the dark emptiness of the caves and it is as if she had seen in it a universe of death and
negation in which good and evil, life and death - those conventional categories in which man
looks at life - simply do not matter. But not only this, there is a greater horror for her" the
emptiness and smallness of the caves produce an echo that is most frightening to her. When she
starts thinking about it in detail, her entire life is shattered to its foundation and she is left with
panic and emptiness. The echo is the culminating horror in that it has, or suggests a complete
denial of all value and distinction: " Pathos, piety, courage - they exist, but are identical, and so
is filth", the echo says to Mrs. Moore. The most meaningful utterances are reduced to a
monotonous meaningless "bou-oum" by the echo. " Everything exists, nothing has value" - this is
the symbolic message given out by the echo in the caves and it is a message that makes
meaningless all other values - in the world of personal relationships, in the world of morality and
religion. All communication all human relationships suggested by the mosque symbol are at a
stroke reduced to nothing by the overwhelming message of nothingness given out by the echo.
Kindness and goodwill have failed, all the human hopes and gestures of union in Part I have
collapsed in the face of this overwhelming negation. The Marabar has triumphed.

But we must not forget that the book is no mere allegory and that the Marabar, like other
symbols in the novel, is a double-edged symbol. The negative meaning of the caves - a symbol
of ineradicable evil, the negation that may lie at the heart of the universe - is also followed at the
end of Part II by more positive intimations. For one, there is the tentative hope held out by the
Hindu Brahmin, Godbole, in his conversation with Fielding after the arrest of Aziz. According to
Godbole, what has happened at the caves undoubtly means that evil and negation have triumphed
over the good at the Marabar. But the dominance of the Marabar symbolizing evil is no reason
for despair. For, according to Godbole, evil and absence are closely connected. Evil is merely the
absence of good and becomes potent when good has receded. He only likes to say " Come,
come" and see that good is restored. Thus even though evil, as symbolized by the caves, is on the
loose, Gosbole's speech gives us hope, again on the symbolic level, that evil can be forced back
into its source. The other positive intimation occurs, when Mrs., Moore. who has experienced the
terrible vision of the caves, herself regains her freedom from terror. On her way back to England,
she observes the beautiful landscape around her, and the persistence of the town of Asirgarh
which appears again and again before her - "I do not vanish" : this message of solidity and
stability of objects given out by Asirgarh makes her learn that what she saw at the caves was true
but that was not all. There is more to life than the caves, and life is more than any vision of
horror or emptiness you may impose on it. This moment of positive vision completes a circle for
Mrs. Moore; she comes to realize that the voice of the chase of the caves is perhaps not the final
one, that there exist signs of a larger significance transcending evil and negation.

The Temple Section of the novel takes up these hints and suggestions of a positive vision
that shows symbolically the final triumph of the Hindu Temple over the pre-Hindu Caves of
Marabar. If the caves stood for the failure of all communication and the collapse of all human
relationships in the face of chaos, the temple festival is a living symbol of unity in love, of
coming together of different people, even former enemies, in a spirit of reconciliation.

The last section of the novel takes place in the town of Mau which is celebrating
Gokulashtami - a ceremony in which the worshippers, including Godbole, try to "love all men,
the whole universe" and in which "the Lord of the Universe" is born. It is two hundred miles
away from the evil caves of Marabar, and it is Cold Season which is the propitious season, for
harmony and peace, and the Hindu Brahmin Godbole is presiding over the ceremony of Lord
Krishna's birth. Clearly we have escaped in space and time from the Marabar Hills and all that
they symbolize, and we are now promised intimations of perfect harmony and reconciliation.
Universality is the theme of the festival: at the birth of the god, " all sorrow was annihilated, not
only for Indians, but for foreigners, birds, caves, railways and the stars; all became joy, all
laughter; there had never been disease nor doubt, misunderstanding, cruelty, fear". The Hindu
Festival is a symbol of a reconciliation of differences not in negation but in a larger Synthesis.
Mrs. Moore is another agent in this imaginative transformation. Her role is of course
purely symbolic since she is no longer alive to effect reconciliation. Yet she returns to India in
the guise of her children Stella and Ralph who 'Orientals' like their mother, are accepted as such
by the hostile Aziz. The spirit of love and of intuitive understanding which Mrs. Moore stood for
have triumphed over the negation of the caves, in spite of her personal defeat. Ralph Moore, her
son, is the agent of this spirit of love and understanding and when Aziz meets him, the memory
of his dear Mrs. Moore floods in, expelling all hatred.
In this next scene, Aziz takes Ralph Moore on the water to show him the last stage in the
ceremony of Mau. He doesn't know that Fielding and his wife are in another boat nearby. So
absorbed are these four on the ceremony that they do not notice the raft, bearing the clay god,
which comes close and crashes into the boats. The two boats collide with the raft, and everything
and everyone, including the sacred clay god, and some letters from Ronny Heaslop and Adela
which had caused misunderstanding in Aziz are plunged into water. The plunging of the
characters into the waters of the tank at Mau suggests a form of spiritual baptism, a form of
purification, dissolving all misunderstanding and bitterness in a final reconciliation. The
Marabar, with its hysteria, misunderstanding, recrimination has been wiped out.
Yet the symbol of the temple as one of Hindu unity in love is two-fold in meaning. This
is expressed very well in the final parting of ways of Aziz and Fieliding. The divine muddle of
the Hindu ceremony has brought these former friends together again; yet their friendship, like the
unity of India, is unstable. In the concluding words of the novel, we are told that the "temples" as
well as "the tank"(i.e. the Mosque) and "the sky" (related to the Caves symbol) do not want them
to be friends. This conclusion places the ultimate failure of the two men to achieve a lasting
harmony here and now within the context of the symbols that we have seen so far, and that make
for the novel's imaginative structure. On the symbolical level, it is an appropriate ending, holding
in finely poised irresolution, the tensions between positive affirmation and negative retraction,
between vision and anti-vision that we have found in the various symbolic metaphors of the
Q3. Attempt the character sketch of Tess.

Ans. Tess of the D'Urbervilles is generally regarded as Thomas Hardy's tragic masterpiece.
Tess is the most sublime figure in Hardy, combining supreme beauty with a nobility that elevates
the whole conception of human nature. And yet she is not flawless. She has a hamartia, that is,
the fatal weakness necessary to give tragedy a rational if not a moral basis.

Tess is described early in the novel as a fine and handsome girl whose mobile mouth and
large innocent eyes added eloquence to colour and shape. Phases of childhood still lurked in her
aspect still. When she meets Alec for the first time, her attractiveness of face and figure cause his
eyes to rivet themselves on her. " It was a luxuriance of aspect, a fullness of growth, which made
her appear more of a woman than she really was". Angel Clare is also greatly attracted by her
physical charms, her "real vitality" and her "real warmth". Tess is not an illiterate girl. She has
passed the sixth standard in the national school under a London-trained mistress, and she speaks
two languages: the dialect at home, more or less; and ordinary English outside and to persons of
quality. Although she has a tendency to believe in omens, she is not superstitious like her

Her Devotion to Her Family

One of Tess's most outstanding traits of character is her steadfast and unfaltering
devotion to her family. She is keenly conscious of her duty as the eldest child in the family. She
feels constantly solicitous throughout the story about the welfare of her brothers and sisters. In
fact, Alec succeeds in exploiting Tess partly because of this trait in her character. His gifts to her
parents and to her brothers and sisters both at the outset and at the later stages of the story
produce in her a feeling of gratitude towards him which he does not fail to make use of for his
own nefarious purpose. Tess's sense of duty to her father and mother is as deep as her devotion to
her brothers and sisters. It is under her mother's pressure that she goes to Trantridge to seek a
job. Her self-respect would not allow her to go there in the capacity of a poor relation but her
feeling of responsibility for the death of Prince the horse compels her to do so. She had hoped to
become a school teacher but she feels that the fates have decided otherwise. Later too when she
is working at different places, she does not become oblivious of the needs of her parents. At the
same time she is fully conscious of the weakness of both her father and her mother. She knows
that her father is only making a fool of himself by feeling vain about his ancient lineage, and she
feels quiet a Malthuism towards her mother for thoughtlessly producing so many children. She is
always ready to give them financial help with the last penny she has got. When she receives the
news of her mother's serious illness, she gives up her job at Flintcomb-Ash and goes back to
Marlott to be by her mother's side and remains with the family till she is unlucky to fall into
Alec's clutches once again.
Her Melancholy Nature

Tess is by nature a melancholy person. There is a morbid element in her thinking. When
still a young girl, she tells her little brother Abraham that they are living, not on a splendid and
sound planet, but on a blighted one, the evidence for this being their father is generally ill and
often gets too drunk to be able to attend to his work, and that their mother is "always washing
and never getting finished". And she says this before any real misfortunes has descended upon
the family, even before the accident in which Prince the horse gets killed. Angel Clare later on
discovers this melancholy streak in her nature. It seems strange to Angel that these feelings
should have come to her while still so young. Referring to her "woebegone" look, she tells
Angel, "My life looks as if it had been wasted for want of chances. I feel what a nothing I am!
I'm like the poor Queen of Sheba who lived in the Bible. There is no more spirit in me".

Her Relationship with Alec

Tess's very initial reaction to Alec D'Urberville is one of strong dislike. She is repelled by
his advances when he tries to kiss her while driving her to Trantridge. When working at
Trantridge she constantly feels suspicious about his intentions and refuse to let him take any
liberties with her. Her sexual experience with him in the wood has been called a rape. We must
remember another fact: in her sub-conscious mind was the idea put into her head by her mother
that the Trantridge squire might indeed marry her, even though Tess had immediately dismissed
the suggestion. In any case, she leaves Trantridge, as soon as she can. She has bodily been soiled
but is pure in mind, and spirit. As Alec himself admits, she has remain unbesmirched by his
seduction of her. If later she agrees to become Alec's mistress, it is not because of any love or
affection that she feels for him. The pressures on her are so great that no woman could have
resisted them. Her brothers and sisters are homeless; her husband has not replied to her letters.
Subsequently Tess redeems even this surrender on her part by murdering the man who has duped
and deceived her by having falsely convinced her that Angel would never come back to her.

Her Sense of Guilt

After her seduction by Alec, Tess is all the time haunted by a sense of guilt. She cannot
treat her sad experience lightly as her mother does. Her fancy creates for her "moral hobgoblins"
which terrify her. As she walks through the woods, observing the peaceful birds, rabbits, and
other creatures, she looks upon herself as a "figure of Guilt intruding upon the haunts of
Innocence". She recovers from this sense of guilt when she takes up a job at the Talbothays
dairy-farm but it revives as soon as Angel Clare proposes marriage to her. Under the weight of
the sense of guilt she puts off Angel every time he repeats his proposal, and assents to it only
under great pressure. Even then she continues to feel troubled by her secret and would like to
confess it to him before marriage though she finds no opportunity to do so.
Her Great Capacity for Love and for Sacrifice

Tess falls in love with Angel at first sight, on the day she sees him in the course of a
dance on the village green. When another chance brings him again into her life, a mutual passion
arises in both their hearts. She does not just love him; she adores him; she looks upon him as a
guide, a philosopher, and a friend. " She thought every line in the contours of his person the
perfection of masculine beauty, his soul, the soul of a saint, his intellect that of a seer". The only
obstacle in the way of her happiness now is her past, her sense of guilt. She wishes to tell him
everything but gets no opportunity. Eventually, in spite of her mother's warnings not to disclose
her secret to her lover, she feels an inward compulsion which is hard to resist, and under the
stress of an unexpected encounter with a Trantridge man who is aware of her past, she writes the
details of her life on a sheet of paper and slips it under Angel's door. This action on her part
shows her moral scruples, her conscientiousness, her desire not to conceal anything from Angel.
The letter, however, goes under the carpet and does not come into Angel's hands. Subsequently
when she makes a confession after the marriage, Angel's reaction comes as a great shock to her.
Life now loses all its meaning for her. Deserted by Angel, she goes back to her family and, after
a short stay with them, becomes a wage-earner at a place called Flintcomb-Ash. Her desperate
letter to Angel brings no reply. Chance throws her again in Alec's path, and her love for Angel
turns into ashes. When Angel returns to her it is too late, but not too late for her to murder Alec
and enjoy a brief interlude of happiness in Angel's arms before she is overtaken by the long arm
of the law. Thus Tess proves herself to be a woman with an exceptional capacity for love and for
self-sacrifice. She is a splendid woman, if ever there was one. In this peasant girl there is the
stuff and the substance of which true heroines are made. Her love is of a sublime quality, and her
death is a martyrdom in the cause of that love.

Her Heroic Endurance of Her Misfortunes

What makes Tess a truly tragic figure is her heroic endurance of her misfortunes. Her
seduction early in the story is, of course, her greatest misfortune. Then comes the death of her
baby aptly named "Sorrow". The chapter describing Tess's hasty baptism of the child, the child's
death, and its burial makes painful reading. Then comes the heart-rending episode of Angel's
desertion of her. At the end of her confession of her past she waits for Angel to speak words of
comfort and good cheer to her but instead hears the following words, "The woman I have been
loving is not you." Then there follows for her a life of despair, hard toil, helplessness, and mental
torture. One of the most painful chapters in the book describes Tess's work at the threshing-
machine. Her brief stay at Sandbourne as Alec's mistress is a shameful episode in her life, but her
state of mind there is one of stupor, as if she were heavily drugged.

Her Gentle and Sympathetic Nature

Tess is ineffably gentle. She is by nature a sympathetic being and the sight of suffering or
misery deeply moves her. Herself in love with Angel, she yet wants to allow an opportunity to
the other milk-maids to try to capture Angel's heart and even suggests to Angel that he should
choose one of them rather than her. To the milk-maids she says: "He ought to marry one of you.
You are all better than I."


"She is high-strung, impressionable, poetic; her soul soars into space when she gazes at
the night heavens; in the stress of her emotions at the sound of Clare's harp the whole of the
twilight garden grows instinct with harmony and passion; and at his touch her accelerated pulse
drives the blood flushing to her finger-ends. She shows perfect nobility and generosity of
sentiment in her attitude towards her simple rivals at the farm and in her splendid faith in Clare.
Whatever else we call her, Tess remains the most lovable of Hardy's heroines.
Q4. Attempt Virginia Woolf as a Novelist.

Ans. Virginia Stephen, born in London, on January 26, 1882, was one of the younger children
of a distinguished literary family. Mrs. Woolf belongs to the school of "stream of consciousness"
novelists. She is one of those great English novelists of the 20th century who had the courage to
break free from tradition, and then to give a new direction, a new form and a new spiritual
awareness to the English novel. She was one of the most forceful and original theorists of 'the
stream of consciousness novel', and by her exposition of the aesthetics of this kind of novel, she
did much to throw light on its technique, and to bring out its superiority to the conventional

Poeticised the English Novel

Mrs. Woolf represents the poetisation and musicalisation of the English novel. She
realised that the "very atmosphere of the mind", the chaotic welter of sensations and emotions
that the human mind is, cannot be re-created with the ordinary resources of prose. Therefore, in
order to enrich her language, she used vivid metaphors and symbols which are peculiar to poetry.
Her language is the language of poetry, her prose-style has the assonances, the refrains, the
rhythms, and the accents of poetry itself. Her novels have the intensity and immediacy of a lyric,
and this intensity is achieved by providing them with a narrow-framework. Her novels are an
expression of the "summeriness of life", of the very sensation of living as great poetry always is.
They are composed like a musical symphony, the apparently discordant notes within them
forming a single harmony.

Rendering Of Inner Reality

Mrs. Woolf is a spiritualist. She rejects traditional modes of expression, and concentrates
her attention on the rendering of inner reality. The novel in her hands is not just an
entertainment, or propaganda, or the vehicle of some fixed ideas or theories, or a social
document, but a voyage of exploration to find out how life is lived, and how it can be rendered as
it is actually lived without distortion. By showing men and women in all sorts of combinations,
she explores the truth about life. She attained, what is rarely attained, reality, truth to life.

Her Sense of Form

Mrs. Woolf's work displays a well-developed sense of form. Her work has a rare artistic
integrity. It forms a single artistic whole. In her novels there are scenes and images, her novels
are constructed in scenes of rare emotional intensity and vividness, but each scene and image is
closely related to other scenes and images. And this wholeness is not confined to individual
novels, but all her works together form a single whole. The latter novels are related to the former
ones as an egg is related to the caterpillar and the butterfly. Each grows out of the preceding one;
we see the germ of the later works in their predecessors. There is an intense feeling of growth
from one novel to another and each contributes to a better understanding of the other. Character
is related to character, character to environment, and to the world of things. The inner life of the
mind was her theme, but the internal is intimately related to the external also. The outer life of
trees, birds and fish, of meadows and sea-shore, lends her many an image to illuminate the life of
the mind; it is shown working on the mind and spirit, and stimulating it to a hundred memories
and sensations.

The Technique of "The Interior Monologue"

Human life as it really is was her theme, and nothing else was of interest to her. She
reveals the very springs of action, the hidden motives which impel men and women to act in a
particular way. This is done by a clever use of the 'interior monologue' or, "the stream of
consciousness technique". She takes us directly into the minds of her characters, and shows the
chaotic flow of ideas, sensations and impressions, and in this way she brings us closer to their
psyche, than can ever be possible by the use of conventional methods of characterisation. She
does not give us merely the externals of character, but renders the very souls of her personages
with intensity and immediacy. She has thus created a number of memorable, many-sided and
rounded figures, which are among the immortals of literature. Her fiction is a well-stored picture-
gallery of vivid and memorable men and women.

Artistic Integrity

She has an original vision of life, and she is very truthful to this vision. This truthfulness,
this artistic integrity, results from her perfect detachment from all personal prejudices and pre-
conceived notions, from personal-end seekings, say the desire for making money, from the very
spirit of the age, in so far as that age may be inimical to the expression of truth. Unhampered by
political problems of the day, she writes according to her vision, according to the ideal which
exists in her mind. Such artistic sincerity and integrity is rare, it is the very hall mark of a great
artist. The reading of her novels is always a fresh and original experience, and one comes out of
it with an altered perspective. Few novelists have such power of influencing the soul.

A Great Irritant to Thought

Mrs. Woolf was a "pure artist", and her works represent a shift from the outer to the
inner. She was a 'naturalist' as well as a 'contemplative'. "She observes new facts, and old facts in
a new way; but she also combines them, through the contemplative act, into new strange
patterns. The outer is not only related to, it is absorbed into the inner life"- (Bernard Blackstone).
Just as through contemplation she combines the outer world into new patterns, and also the inner
world with the outer, so also, " the inner world of passions, thoughts, feelings, intuitions,
sensations, interests, etc., is shuffled about ruthlessly", their order and importance are
interchanged, and they are combined to form new patterns and designs. She believed in the
power of the mend, she makes her readers think. Her novels are great stimulants to thought.
Her Aestheticism

David Cecil calls Mrs. Woolf one of the most satisfying of aesthetes. It is her sense of
beauty which imparts form and pattern to her novels. There is constant selection and ordering of
material, and this artistic sifting is guided and organised by her passion for beauty. The ugly, the
unpleasant, too, is brought in, but only to serve as a foil to the beautiful. What is repellent and
disgusting serves in her novels to heighten by contrast the fascination of the beautiful. She
observes beauty even in the most unlikely places; and her treatment of beauty is not all serious
and rhapsodic. Humorous treatment of the beautiful is one of her distinctive contributions to the
English novel.

Feminised the English Novel

Mrs. Woolf was a woman, and in her novels she gives us the woman's point of view. She
relies more on intuition than on reason. She is interested not only in the relations of men and
women, or of men with men, but also of women with women. She is more fascinated with the
life of nature, even the life of snails and trees, than with political, social, and economic
movements of the day. She has a woman's dislike for the world of societies, churches, banks, and
schools. Her picture of life does not include sordidness and vice, brutality and criminality. They
are excluded from her novels, for a sheltered female, in her day was not supposed to have any
knowledge of such sordid realities. It is as if she were afraid of public censure, of social
criticism, and so eliminated such unpleasant details from her novels. She thus represents the
feminisation of the English novel.

Limitation of Her Range

The fact of her being a woman limits her world in an another respect also. She avoids the
theme of passionate love, being a woman she could not write of sex freely and frankly and so
avoids it altogether. Jane Austen was similarly thwarted.

Her range, no doubt, is limited in various other ways also. For example, she could paint
only upper middle-class life, and only certain types of characters. But greatness, artistic
perfection, is achieved by a clear recognition of these limitations, and by working within them.
Her novels need some painstaking on the part of the reader, but if followed imaginatively, they
have the power to illuminate and transform. Giving an estimate of her achievement, G.S. Frazer
in his book The Modern Writer and His World, writes, " She offers us a lyrical abstraction from
the pain with which she felt the world, the quality of her mind and spirit has a distinction that
will make some readers always grateful to accept the offering. " She may not be one of the
greatest of English novelists, but there can be no denying the fact that, " she is a delicate and
subtle artist, who upheld spiritual and aesthetic values in a course, materialistic age," Her
influence has been profound and all-pervasive so much so that R.A. Scott-James writes, "After
her, in her own country, the serious novel could never again be just what it had been before."