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Tess of the D'urbervilles

             Every classical novel, though perhaps not captivating, envokes a tug on man's controversial convictions or emotions. Mark Twain achieves such a tug by touching on concepts including the mistreatment of slaves and the hypocrisy of religion in his book Hukleberry Finn. The novels, The Jungle and The Grapes of Wrath explore the plight of those mistreated by the capitalist system. Similarly, Tess of the D"Urbervilles attempts to evoke sympathy for the struggles of an oppressed woman. With controversial themes, such novels are often times both supported and opposed merely because of the author's opinion. Tess of the D"Urbervilles, however, reveals the possibility for an author to use manipulation of circumstance to successfully persuade readers to be if not supportive of than at least not opposed to his or her personal opinion.
             The Awakening, a novel by Emily Chopin, like Tess of the D"Urbervilles, tells the story of a woman's trials in a time when women are not considered equal to men. Contrastingly, however, the author fails to successfully extract sympathy for her female protagonist from her reader. The character is too selfish and unrespectable to be pitied. She not only neglects her wifely duties, but she tries to cheat on her husband, abandons her children, and when things don't go the way she wants them to she commits suicide. The author then has the audacity to act as though her leading lady is a female hero. .
             However, in Tess of D"Urbervilles, written by Thomas Hardy, the main character Tess, is a woman of true character. Everything she does at least seems to have a righteous intent. She goes to work for the D"Urbervilles because she feels guilty for allowing her family's animal to be injured and assumes the typically male role of providing for her family. She continues to fulfill this role even when she can barely provide for herself. Additionally, it is not her decision that creates her unfortunate circumstance.

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