Monday, January 5, 2009

Tess of the D'Urbervilles - A Gut Wrencher

Anybody else watch part one on Masterpiece last night?
I cried like, three times!

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite books, and after watching the movie again last night, I was wanting to go back and bath myself in its pages to remind myself why I like it so much.

On screen its tentative blows seem to strike harder and more deliberate than the ones from the page. Somehow seeing it come to life reveals more of its harsh undertones. I will admit, it was tough to watch.

Having read almost all of Hardy's books over the years (yes, I'm a gluten for punishment), I find his character of Tess the only one who suffers the most, despite her lack of sin. Meaning, nothing that happens to her is her fault. Yet she bares it all with beauty and wisdom. The ultimate sufferer for those she loves. Her family, although they use her and treat her unfairly, and Angel, her perceived redemption.

Apparently, the book caused quite a scandal at the time because of its reference to rape, even though he barely alludes to it. He refused to change its contents however, citing that to change that element would change his main character altogether. I'm inclined to agree with him. He finally found a publisher that would let his story remain intact.

An American publisher, of course. We Americans are such stinkers....

4 comments:

Tanja said...

You must like punishment Lula. I have read the aforementioned book and I did not care for it. I do like Tess as a character.
I am glad that they did not make him change the book concerning rape. I would agree that it would have changed who she was and the injustice of the entire book. It makes me glad to be a woman now and not back then. I would have wanted to beat the crap out of all the men back then. The were so hypocritical. The only positive part of the book for me was her baby. She really loved her child.

Lula O said...

In the movie, that part was THE worst! I almost quit watching after that, but I'm glad I stayed on. It got better, even had a funny part or two. If you can believe that. It's producers probably didn't want all the ladies sliting their throats...

Amanda said...

It was a good book. It's been a couple years since I read it, and I haven't read any other Hardy books, but they're on my tbr list.

Lula O said...

Far from the Madding Crowd is my next favorite of his. It actually ends happily if you can believe that. Hardy must've been in a good mood when he wrote that one.