Tess of the D’Urbervilles Compared to Jane Eyre
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The characters, Tess and Jane are both the main characters of the novels Tess of the D’urbervilles’ and Jane Eyre’, respectively. Tess of the D’urbervilles’ is based on the experiences of Tess. Whereas, Jane Eyre’ is an autobiographical book about Jane. The two novels are based in the past when women were not considered as equal to men. The characters Jane and Tess are both women and so they are subject to discrimination and they both have a lot in common, for example both Tess and Jane are considerate and caring. Jane Eyre’s background is a sad one, at the beginning of the novel she’s an orphan and living with her cruel aunt and cousins who continually persecute her. This prepares her for any future injustices targeted against her. Tess’ childhood is spent amongst a loving family and this is the reason why she is so inexperienced, which leads to tragedy in her life. Jane had faced hardships which made her more enduring, but unfortunately for Tess, she had no such experiences.
Jane, having a good education was cleverer than Tess, who was poor and less educated and less intellectual. This shows the value of money in the past and its advantages and this money made people more greedy and discriminating. This is moreover proven in Tess’ case as she is always in trouble due to lack of money and also by Jane’s reduced state when she had no money after she fled Thornfield Hall. The advantage of money is with Jane and she too is the one who is happy in the end. The natures of Jane and Tess are very similar. They are both caring, emotional, forgiving, loyal, self-less, brave, reliable, clever, somewhat diffident, proud, a little pessimistic, they both learn from experience and they have an inferiority complex. They both try to bottle up their feelings and try to hide from reality. And they are very determined.
The fact that they are caring is shown when Jane helps Mr. Rochester (who is a stranger to her at the time) when he falls from his horse, the reason for this trait of hers can be because she has felt what cruelty is like and doesn’t want to make others have the same feelings due to her. And also proven by Tess’ taking care of her siblings, the reason why she’s caring might be because she has known nothing harsh and therefore she can’t be cruel. The emotional sides of their natures is dealt with when Jane is in love with Mr. Rochester and when Tess is in love with Angel and this is when they both show tremendous emotion. They are forgiving as Jane forgives her cousins and aunt for the injustices they committed against her and Tess forgives Alec for the grave crime he committed against her. Their loyalties lie with their loves.
Their being self-less is also dealt with in regard to their loves. This is because of their tremendous love which is thought more important than themselves. Their bravery is proven by Jane’s standing up to her cousin John and by Tess calmly withstanding Farmer Groby’s harassment. Their reliability is ascertained by Mr. Rochester’s trusting Jane in the Mason incident and by Tess’ mother’s faith that Tess would look after her siblings when she went to get their father from the village bar. They are reliable as they are truthful and responsible and they are therefore trusted by others. Their being clever is evident as Jane learns a lot from Lowood institute and has accomplished many things and Tess can pick up new things and is very intellectually advanced for a person with her education. Their diffidence is proven by Jane’s thinking that Mr. Rochester would marry Miss Ingram rather than her and in Tess’ case when she feels that Angel doesn’t like her. This is most probably because they take what people say about them very seriously and have self-doubt.
Their pride is evident when Jane responds angrily to Mr. Rochester’s accusations that her portfolio wasn’t her’s and when Tess takes up an air of pride after marrying Angel. This is most probably because they had struggled in order to attain their achievements and so they treasure them a lot and this becomes pride. Their pessimism is shown when Jane constantly feels that her love for Mr. Rochester is unrequited and when Tess feels that she’ll never see Angel again after they separate. Their pessimism is most probably because of their past misfortunes.
The fact that they learn from experience is shown when Jane mentions that it isn’t wise to stand up to her aunt and cousins and when Tess becomes very cautious after the incident with Alec. Their inferiority complex is proven when Jane says that Miss Ingram is better than her and that Mr. Rochester will choose her and when Tess thinks that Angel is too good to like her. This is because of self-doubt. Their bottling up of feelings is shown when Jane hides her feelings of love from Mr. Rochester and when Tess respects Angel’s views and stays away from him. They are both very determined to do what they resolve to do. This is proven in Jane’s case when she stays away from Mr. Rochester even though it tears her apart. And in Tess’ case, she is determined to stay away from Alec D’urberville.
But both their determinations get exhausted after continuous attacks made by the world and circumstances. This is proven by Jane’s return to Mr. Rochester and Tess’ marriage with Alec. But this doesn’t mean that they lack will-power, they have tremendous will-power but their emotions, which are intensified by time, and constant reminders of reality overpower and overwhelm them. Jane’s life on the whole is mostly dreamlike as she achieves and gets almost everything she wants and her dreams are fulfilled. Whereas Tess life is almost all downhill. Only her early years as a girl are happy the rest are miserable with only a little time, spent in love with Angel, worth living. The rest of her life is full of hardships, deceit and misery which is broken for some time before her death to give her something to miss after death. With regard to family life, Tess has it better off than Jane. Jane’s only family is her aunt and cousins and life with them is terrible. Later on in the novel her thirst for a family is quenched when she finds out that St. John and his sisters are her cousins.
Tess has a family who care for her and support her just as she supports them. But this has its disadvantages as the love she is familiar with all her life leaves her unprepared for the harshness of the world outside her village. And another disadvantage is that her family is inferior to her in regards of education and intellectuality and this leads her to have difficulties relating to them. This is proven by the fact that she can’t tell her mother about her troubles with Angel. Both Jane and Tess faced crisis situations and both are well-equipped to tackle them. And they both have good reasons to have these abilities as they faced many hardships in their lives. Jane confirms her ability when she saves Mr. Rochester’s life during the fire and also when she efficiently saves Mason from bleeding to death. Tess demonstrates this ability of hers when she takes care of her family when her mother is ill. Both Jane and Tess react to situations as normally as any one else but Tess tends to over-react under some circumstances as she is a bit more emotional than Jane.
For example when Tess starts crying after Alec kisses her. Whereas Jane might have reacted angrily if she were in Tess’ place. Throughout the novel we see demonstrations of Tess’ control over her emotions but towards the end of the novel we see her losing more and more control over them for example when she hits Alec with her glove and when she starts weeping for no particular reason while Alec talks to her about helping her family. The reason for this is most probably because her love and loneliness (for Angel) gets the better of her and she loses control. As for Jane the only thing that her missing Mr. Rochester affects is her determination and her state of mind. Both of them have an inferiority complex and this plays an important role in shaping their thoughts and outlooks but their are other factors for example the atmosphere, their emotions, any past experience affecting their minds at the moment, any memories regarding the subject and anything heard from others (this maybe more prominent than the rest).
For example Tess’ view of Alec was evil even though he appeared completely changed and also Jane’s optimistic view of Lowood institute after her terrible existence with her aunt and cousins. Both Tess and Jane had acquired what was needed of women of their class, standard and times. For example Jane had many talents that young women like her had to have in her times (art, music, singing etc.). And Tess knew farming that is needed to help support her family. This shows their desire to help out and to please others. But even with these advantages, they had self-doubt which disheartened them and this led to an inferiority complex in them both. They are both intellectual and complex thinkers and somewhat amateur philosophers. Tess thinks about Angel’s beliefs and improves them even in ways that Angel most probably never thought of. This shows her as a prodigy as she is very inferior to Angel in relation to education. Jane also indulges herself in discussions far beyond the limits laid by her education and knowledge.
But she does very well, considering the circumstances. They both possess excellent control over their minds and concentrate on issues brought up by others and they come to almost perfect conclusions after debating the issue at hand. Their intellectuality takes others by surprise and creates admiration for them in others minds. They use this gift of theirs to plan the future and to try and determine their present positions in life. Both Jane and Tess are flexible and can adapt to their surroundings aptly and can convey themselves very easily in different situations. For example Jane’s fitting into Lowood Institute even with the difficulties that she faced there and by Tess’ adapting to Talbothay’s despite the fact that she had no friends there. Their attitudes towards other people depend mainly upon the person’s appearance, things heard from others and past experiences with them. For example Jane’s attitude towards Mr. Rochester is kind when they first meet in Rochester Hall because he had had an accident. Tess’ attitude towards Alec D’urberville is unfriendly when they meet after her marriage with Angel, this is because of her past experiences with him.
They both have gifts that make them stand out from others For example Jane has her friendly disposition and her extraordinary talents which enable almost everyone to admire and love her. Tess has her beauty and amiable personality which help people like her. Both of their abilities to impress are very effective and people can’t help but be impressed by them. They both influence their surrounding atmospheres very slightly as they are both coy and speak only when spoken to and do not get involved in much conversation. But if they are interested in the topic, they contribute as much as, or more than the rest. There knowledge and understanding encourage others to increase their knowledge just by conversing with them. Tess’ beauty and Jane’s intellectuality may make people jealous of them but their good natures and friendliness usually rule out this jealousy. Their influence on the surroundings mainly depend on their emotions of the moment for example if they are sad or angry or in a thoughtful mood then they don’t influence to a great extent.
They both have advantages and disadvantages to them. For example their advantages are their modesty, good natures, friendliness, talents, honesty, responsibility, trustworthiness, their ability to make just decisions, kindness, forgiving dispositions, endurance, willingness to learn, abilities, helpful natures, determinations and admirable personalities. Tess also has her beauty as an advantage and Jane also has her experience to help her. Their disadvantages are their diffidence, inferiority complex, their habit of bottling up their feelings, their self-less temperament, their stubborn independence and their inability to express their feelings. Another of Jane’s disadvantages are her plain-looks and Tess has her inexperience. Their experiences changed them considerably.
loveJane’s experiences with her aunt and cousins prepared her for later problems in her life, her life in Lowood converted her from a small girl with no knowledge of her talents to a young woman who has discovered and added to her talents, her life in Thornfield Hall gave her a wider view of life in general, her experiences between leaving Thornfield and going to Moor House made her more understanding and kind, her experiences in Lowood and Moor House made her more orthodox, her stay at Thornfield gave her an inferiority complex and her love for Mr. Rochester and for Adele made her more passionate. Tess’ experiences taught her nearly everything the hard way.
Her family life left her innocent and unprepared for the world’s cruelty, her experience with Alec D’urberville made her more cautious and aware of the world, her love for her family and for Angel made her very passionate, her meeting with Angel had a disadvantage – it gave her an inferiority complex, her experiences at Flintcomb – Ash farm made her more enduring. Her grief of separation from Angel added with her murdering Alec almost made her a heretic . Her murdering Alec also made her lose her will to live and made her reunion with Angel her only reason to live. Both these characters have diversities in character, emotions and thoughts and are excellently portrayed by the authors as extraordinary young women of their times. Their characteristics, emotions etc. are different from most of the other characters in the novels and this makes them unique in their very own way.