Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Quotes

Page numbers below are from the Penguin Classics paperback edition.

Page numbers below are from the Penguin Classics paperback edition.

Useful quotes for answering a question on the portrayal of Tess

  • “Mrs Durbeyfield still habitually spoke the dialect; her daughter, who had passed the Sixth Standard in the National School under a London-trained mistress, used it only when excited by joy, surprise, or grief” (21)
  • “When they [Tess and her mother] were together the Jacobean and the Victorian ages were juxtaposed” (23)
  • “the mother, with her fast-perishing lumber of superstitions, folk-lore, dialect, and orally transmitted ballads” (23)
  • “the daughter, with her trained National teachings and Standard knowledge under an infinitely revised code” (23)
  • “Tess eating in an abstracted half-hypnotised state whatever D’Urberville offered her… She obeyed, still like one in a dream”(42)
  • Tess: “‘if I had ever really loved ’ee, if I loved you still, I should not so loath and hate myself for my weakness as I do now!’” (77)
  • Tess: “‘How can you dare to use those words!’ she cried, turning impetuously upon him, her eyes flashing as the latent spirit… awoke in her. ‘My God! I could knock you out of the gig!’” (77)
  • Tess: “‘See how you’ve mastered me!’ She thereupon turned around and lifted her face to his, and remained like a marble term while he imprinted a kiss upon her cheek… Her eyes vaguely rested upon the remotest trees in the lane while the kiss was given, as though she were nearly unconscious of what he did” (78)
  • Tess: “suppose your sin was not of your own seeking?… I think they are horrible… Crushing! Killing!’” (80)
  • Tess: “‘I don’t believe any of it!’” (81)
  • Mrs Durbeyfield: “‘Why didn’t ye think of doing some good for the family instead o’ thinking only of yourself?’” (81)
  • “She had dreaded him, winced before him, succumbed to him, and that was all” (82)
  • Tess: “‘Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks; but I never had the chance of discovering in that way, and you did not help me!’” (82)
  • “she saw before her a long and stony highway which she had to tread, without aid, and with little sympathy… she could have hidden herself in a tomb” (84)
  • “her sole idea seemed to be to shun mankind” (85)
  • “At times her whimsical fantasy would intensify natural processes around her till they seemed a part of her own story. Rather they became a part of it” (85)
  • “a field-woman is a portion of the field; she has somehow lost her own margin, imbibed the essence of her own surrounding, and assimilated herself with it” (88)
  • “Perhaps one reason why she seduces casual attention is that she never courts it” (88)
  • “deep dark eyes” (88)
  • “‘’Twas a thousand pitites that it should have happened to she’… It was a thousand pities, indeed; it was impossible for even an enemy to feel otherwise on looking at Tess as she sat there, with her flower-like mouth and large tender eyes, neither black nor blue nor gray nor violet; rather all these shades together, and a hundred others… an almost typical woman, but for the slight incautiousness of character inherited from her race” (90)
  • “To all mankind besides Tess was only a passing thought. Even to friends she was no more than a frequently passing thought” (91)
  • “The ecstasy of faith almost apotheosized her… The children gazed up at her with more and more reverence, and no longer had a will for questioning. She did not look like Sissy to them now, but as a being large, towering, and awful – a divine personage with whom they had nothing in common” (95)
  • Tess: “‘Don’t for God’s sake speak as saint to sinner, but as your yourself to me myself – poor me!’” (97)
  • “Almost at a leap Tess changed from simple girl to complex woman” (99)
  • “She would be the dairymaid Tess, and nothing more” (100)
  • “She was no longer the milkmaid, but a visionary essence of woman – a whole sex condensed into one typical form. He called her Artemis, Demeter, and other fanciful names half teasingly, which she did not like because she did not understand them. ‘Call me Tess,’ she would say askance; and he did” (130)
  • Tess: “‘I do not want to marry… I only want to love you.’  (171)
  • Angel Clare: “‘You seem almost like a coquette… And yet… I know you to be the most honest, spotless creature that ever lived. So how can I suppose you a flirt?’” (177)
  • “She loved him so passionately, and he was so godlike in her eyes… her nature for his tutelary guidance” (181)
  • “‘I don’t like you to be left anywhere away from my influence and sympathy’” (203)
  • Angel Clare: “‘Which are my fingers and which are yours?” he said, looking up. ‘They are very much mixed.’ ‘They are all yours’” (217)
  • Angel Clare: “‘What I am, she is. What I become she must become. What I cannot be she cannot be.’” (218)
  • Tess: “‘In the name of love, forgive me… I have forgiven you for the same’” (228)
  • Angel Clare: “‘Forgiveness does not apply to the case. You were one person; now you are another’” (228)
  • Tess: “‘I thought, Angel, that you loved me – me, my very self!’” (228)
  • Angel Clare: “‘the woman I have been loving is not you… Another woman in your shape’” (229)
  • Angel Clare: “‘Different societies, different manners. You are an unapprehending peasant woman, who have never been initiated into the proportions of social things. You don’t know what you say.’ ‘I am only a peasant by position, not by nature!’ She spoke with an impulse to anger, but it went as it came” (232)
  • Angel Clare: “‘Here I was thinking you a new-sprung child of nature; there were you, the exhausted seedling of an effete aristocracy!’” (232)
  • “Thus Tess walks on; a figure which is part of the landscape; a field-woman pure and simple” (280)
  • “there was revived in her the wretched sentiment which had often come to her before, that in inhabiting the fleshly tabernacle with which nature had endowed her she was somehow doing wrong” (310)
  • Alec D’Urberville: “‘Your mind is enslaved to his’” (321)
  • Alec D’Urberville: “‘You temptress, Tess; you dear witch of Babylon’” (323)
  • Tess: “I do not value my good looks; I only like to have them because they belong to you, my dear” (337)
  • Joan Durbeyfield (Tess’ mother): “‘I have never really known her’” (375)
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Posted on 24/01/2014, in Comparative Studies, Single Text and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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