Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Chapter 52 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Durbeyfields have to hire a wagon to move themselves out. Tess is at least glad it's not raining. They load up onto the ancient cart and ride on top of their belongings, their clock striking at every bump in the road. A few neighbors say goodbye, but they all expect the family to come to no good.
No good has come to the Durbeyfields so far, especially considering their lofty past, so there is no reason to hope that things will get better in a new town.
Themes
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
They meet other moving wagons on the road, and Tess sees Marian and Izz among them. They have fled Flintcomb-Ash, and warn her that Alec is looking for her. They also ask about Angel.
Another chance meeting of characters. Wessex is apparently very small, as there are so many dramatic coincidences among people.
Themes
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
The family reaches Kingsbere very late, and are met by a man saying the rooms they rented aren't available anymore. Joan is upset at such an ignominious entrance to their ancestral land, but pushes on into the town. There are no rooms anywhere and the wagon they rented has to leave, so they unload their things next to the church.
They reach the ancient d'Urberville land at a symbolically low point in their lives. They once owned this town but now can't even find a room. Hardy lays on the situational irony pretty heavily here.
Themes
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Tess looks sadly at the familiar pile of belongings. They set up their bed outside, next to the part of the church where the d'Urberville vaults lie. The stained glass windows are marked with emblems like those on the family's seal and spoon. Joan and Liza-Lu go looking for food and encounter Alec on horseback. They reluctantly tell him where Tess is.
The useless seal and spoon are finally reunited with the useless d'Urberville tombs. The family legacy has left Tess nothing but bad omens and a painful destiny, and possibly punishment for their ancient sins.
Themes
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Get the entire Tess of the d'Urbervilles LitChart as a printable PDF.
Tess of the d urbervilles.pdf.medium
Tess meanwhile enters the church and walks among her family's tombs. Everything about them is ancient and broken, a reminder of their extinction. Suddenly one of the effigies moves, and she almost faints before she realizes it is Alec d'Urberville.
More heavy symbolism, as Alec lies satirically atop a tomb pretending to be a d'Urberville, just like his father did in buying the name.
Themes
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Alec apologizes for interrupting her reunion, and stamps ironically on the vaults. He says he, the sham d'Urberville, can do more to help her than all these dead knights and famous ancestors. He leaves, and Tess wishes she were dead, on the other side of the vault door.
The contrast is clear between the grandiose but worthless tombs and the false d'Urberville who has real wealth. English society has changed, and the old families are dead and buried.
Themes
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Meanwhile Izz and Marian ride on, talking of Tess, Angel, and Alec. They are worried that Tess will succumb to Alec if Angel does not return, and they want to help her. A month later they hear of Angel's approaching return, and so write a letter to him asking that he save his wife from the enemy that is near to her, as even a diamond can be worn down eventually. Afterwards they feel both generous and agitated.
The dairymaids again show their simple generosity in pleading to Angel on Tess's behalf despite their own reawakened passions. It is interesting that Hardy cuts away from Tess at this point, potentially the climax of Alec's seduction, so the reader never sees what actually happens.
Themes
Nature and Modernity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon