The extract from “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy comprises of the character of Tess being drawn towards the music that an angel is playing on his harp. The atmosphere seems almost magical as it seems to encapsulate Tess to the extend that she becomes in a trance-like state. The setting of the passage is in the Tess’s garden at night-time, and the reader feels the sense that all of the animals and the plants around her our alive. Hardy has used stylistic devices such as similes, dictions and the use of sounds, in an attempt to exemplify mystery throughout the piece.
Hardy conveys atmosphere using several techniques, but the most pronounced method he uses is with sounds. The passage begins with, “The soundlessness impressed her as a positive entity rather than a mere negation of noise. It was broken by the strumming of strings. ” The silence implored at the beginning of the piece is effective in building up suspense and contrasting against the rest of the passage where a melody of music is constantly playing.
The feeling of having no sound can also be seen as being special, even eerie, as silence is seldom heard since there is usually other noises happening, yet she still refers to it as a “typical summer evening. ” The line implying that innate objects “seem endowed with two or three senses,” aswell promotes the magical atmosphere by implying that the rest of the garden is alive. Using the harsh word, “broken” it seems to imply that Tess had been enjoying the peacefulness and had been interrupted by the harp. This is also suprising since the harp is renowned as the music of love and is beautiful yet she prefers the stillness.
Hardy uses personification in describing the musical notes, ” wandered in the still air. ” By adding human characteristics it helps add to the magical atmosphere. It intrigues the reader why music which has heard before suddenly appeals to her and Hardy uses a similie to describe her feelings towards the music, “a stark quality like that of nudity. ” One is given a distinct impression that the music seems to be casting some magic spell since it seems to dominate her and one doesn’t imagine that crawling in her back garden at night is normal.
This idea can be confirmed when we realise that she even thought that the “execution was poor” she was still “as fascinated as a bird. ” The garden is portrayed as being overgrown and “uncultivated” which heightens the tension for the reader because it is like she is exploring the unknown ‘outskirt’ where many do no venture. The line, ‘keeping behind the hedge so he would not guess her presence,’ builds up intrigue since the reader wonders why she needs not to be seen.
The garden is described very menacingly as if it were trying to stop her in the quest to find where the music is coming from. ‘The offensive smells,’ ‘weeds … formed a polychrome,’ and ‘staining her hands with slug slime,’ are just sum of the examples of the way that the garden is portrayed. Extensive imagery is used in this stanza such as ‘cuckoo spittle’ and ‘red and yellow and purple hues,’ which are effective in vividly describing the trek that Tess had to endure in such minute details that we, the reader, feel part of her journey.
Tess was conscious of neither time nor space’ exaltation undulated “There is no distinction between the near and the far. ” The sentence suggests Tess is in a hazy, incoherent state as she can not coprehend what is near or far. It also gives the feeling of space since there are no boundaries restricting her and she seems isolated and vulnerable. The reference to the shining star can in a biblical sense be seen to be like a guide for her The tone of the poem is quite dark and intriguing as upon reading one is at a mystery to why she is wanting to reach the music