Tess of the D’Urbervilles: Chapters 25-36

I was really happy for Tess and Angel.  I was hoping they would get together, and they did.  Angel leaves the farm for a bit to go talk to his parents about his intentions to marry Tess.  They are not too happy, but it doesn’t matter to him.

Meanwhile, Tess is back at the farm wondering why he left.  She thought he didn’t really love her.  But when he comes back, they are more in love than ever.

However, when Angel asks her to marry him, Tess completely recoils.  I thought she was finally going to overcome her past – that is, the rape.  Nope.  Even though it wasn’t her fault, Tess is still a dishonored woman, and she thinks Angel deserves better.  But Angel is persistent in his asking, and Tess eventually says yes.  But she has to tell him something. I thought this would finally lead to a full explanation of her past.  Nope again – all she tells him is that she is descended from the D’Urbervilles.  Although Angel doesn’t particularly like old names, he can overlook that for his love of Tess.

Why would she not tell him?  I mean, she did tell him something, but not the thing that had been holding back her love for him.  And that was BEFORE her mom sent her the letter telling her not to tell Angel about the rape.  Is honesty in relationships not a thing in the Victorian Period or something?

On the day of the wedding – before they get married – Tess wants to tell Angel all her faults.  But he stops her, saying that they have time to discuss it after marriage.  And they do.  Later that same night Angel makes his own confession first.  He took advantage of a random girl.

Tess forgives him.  However, he does not reciprocate the forgiveness when she tells the story of her own rape.  It’s a classic example of a double standard – men can go out and do whatever, whenever they want, while women cannot do much without supervision.

Angel is so upset that he doesn’t love Tess as he once did.  Instead of getting a divorce and bringing shame on both of their families, they decide to separate, and Tess returns to her parent’s house.

I still have hope for them.  The book is far from over.

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