Thomas Hardy's Use of Fallen Women in His Writings Essay examples

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Thomas Hardy's Use of Fallen Women in His Writings Thomas Hardy sheds new light on the idea of the fallen woman. Throughout several of his works, he portrays the fallen woman through her own eyes, and, in doing so, presents a different perspective. Three of his works which establish this new perspective are the poem, "The Ruined Maid," and the novels Far from the Madding Crowd and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. In "The Ruined Maid," which he wrote in 1866, Hardy focuses on one woman's recent loss of chastity and how she is perceived by a friend who is returning to town. Rather than feeling ashamed of her actions, she expresses a sense of pride. In the last line of each stanza, she points out how she is ruined; however, the tone of her…show more content…
Through her death, she becomes immortalized and idolized in the eyes of her lover, Sergeant Troy, and in essence, controls him in a way that she never could when she was alive. Fanny Robin represents Hardy's first attempt of developing the fallen woman within his novels. Although Hardy creates a weak fallen woman with Fanny Robin, this first attempt paves the way for his creation of a strong fallen woman with his character Tess. Hardy's depiction of Tess is that of a woman who also suffers from her fall, but still finds the strength to rise above her situation. However, Hardy also shows that the repercussions of her fall are lasting. Although Tess attempts to start a new life with Angel Clare, she can never completely escape from her past relationship with Alec d'Urberville. She is perpetually reminded of her loss of chastity, but overcomes these feelings of self-doubt. "Far from being a passive victim, Tess embodies a fierce impulse to self determination against daunting, and ultimately imsurmountable, odds" (Morgan, 89). Hardy develops a character whose inner strength allows her to conquer the established definition of the fallen woman. Although Hardy's portrayal of the fallen woman is somewhat sympathetic, due to the fact that he often takes on the perspective of the female character, he still ultimately views the idea of the fallen woman as tragic. The theme of the fallen woman had been
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