v Assignment paper: E-E-405 A Study of Special Author: Thomas Hardy as a Novelist
v Topic : Thomas Hardy as Pessimist Writerack Skin, White Masks"
v Student’s Name : Gandhi Pooja S.
v Roll No : 08
v URL : gandhipooja151011.blogspot.com
v Semester : 4
v Batch : 2011-12
Dr. Dilip Barad
Department of English
Pessimism is a state of having no hope that one's troubles will end or that success or happiness will come ever. It also means a condition of having the belief that evil is more common or powerful than good.
He is a pessimist like the classical writers who consider Man merely a puppet in hands of mighty fate. His pessimism is redeemed by two other ingredients in his work – his lofty view of human nature and his capability to make us laugh at comic side of things. Hardy himself says: “My pessimism, if pessimism it be, does not involve the assumption that the world is going to the dogs … On the contrary my practical philosophy is distinctly Melioristic.” Doubts, despair, disbelief, frustration, industrial revolution, disintegration of old social and economic structure all these factors probe deep into his writings and heighten its somber, melancholic and tragic vision. They were plenty of tragedies in the life of the poverty stricken Wessex folk. Hardy's attitude toward his female characters is extraordinarily complex.
Tess of the D'Urbervilles it explored the dark side of his family connections in Berkshire. In the story the poor villager girl Tess Durbeyfield is seduced by the wealthy Alec D'Uberville. Throughout the novel she keeps on revolving around the predetermined circles of her cruel fate. Being the eldest child she has to go to D'Urbervilles for earning. Her seduction plays a vital role in her destruction. Tess is rejected by society on becoming pregnant. She goes to earn for her family to Talbothays. Her love affair, her marriage and then sudden rejection by Angle Clare, all this make her a victim of conventional social attitude. Her sufferings in winter season of Talbothays after the departure of Angel Clare and in the courtship with Alec are untold. Her murder of Alec in order to rejoin Angel and her hanging soon afterwards also show a long series of sufferings but she faces them boldly.
After the bitter denunciation of the sexual double standard in Tess, Hardy expanded his satiric attack in his next novel, Jude the Obscure, which criticized the institutions of marriage, the Church, and England's class system. Again Hardy was savaged by critics who could not countenance his subversiveness. He was attacked in the press as decadent, indecent, and degenerate. The story dramatized the conflict between carnal and spiritual life, tracing Jude Fawley's life from his boyhood to his early death. Jude marries Arabella, but deserts her. He falls in love with his cousin, hypersensitive Sue Bridehead, who marries the decaying schoolmaster, Phillotson, in a masochist fit. Jude and Sue obtain divorces, but their life together deteriorates under the pressure of poverty and social disapproval. The eldest son of Jude and Arabella, a grotesque boy nicknamed 'Father Time', kills their children and himself. Broken by the loss, Sue goes back to Phillotson, and Jude returns to Arabella. Soon thereafter Jude dies, and his last words are: "Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul?Tess and Jude are helpless in front of fate or destiny.
Far from the Madding Crowd is also about love, marriage and disappointments. Tragedy is here in seeds, often attenuated into pathos, especially as far as Bathsheba is concerned. The novel seems to depict the outlines of a tragedy of the sexes without going into the depths of it. A number of tragic ingredients are unquestionably present, but the focalization on Bathsheba’s love stories and her endurance in the tale show how they are contained and underplayed, while at the same time they infect the story and give it its particular nostalgic hue, its undertones of pathos. If Bathsheba’s predicament is fearful and awe-inspiring, our pity for Boldwood is checked by his insensitivity and even cruelty in his treatment of his beloved before the murder scene. As for Troy, he has become such a highly despicable character at that point of the narrative that his death is but the necessary wiping out of the narrative of a disruptive element.
Shakespeare, on the other hand, holds character fully responsible for mishap. Fate plays a major role in many of Hardy's novels; Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge, etc contains various instances where its effects are readily apparent. Moreover, Hardy's novels reflect a pessimistic view where fate, or chance, is responsible for a character's ruin. Although it is much more subdued, fate and pessimism are still visible.