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Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
Summary

Phase the First: The Maiden, Chapters I–III

Summary Phase the First: The Maiden, Chapters I–III

Mrs. Durbeyfield’s belief in superstitions and her trust in her fortune-telling book also demonstrate a strong, perhaps irrational hope in what the future holds. She believes that something good is meant to happen to her and her family and that it is only a matter of time until it does. Through all of these characters and actions we are introduced to the concept of fate, or a belief in a predetermined, unavoidable future. Ironically, Tess’s parents’ blind faith in their ability to climb the social hierarchy leads them to make costly decisions later in the novel. The news about their ancestry seems to augur a hopeful change in their fortunes, but it is really just an instrument in the catastrophe that fate brings about.