Across the horizon: the rising sun and endless possibilities

Home - Studyworld Studynotes - Quotes - Reports & Essays 






Oakwood Publishing Company:


Study Material



Studyworld Studynotes
\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Tess of the D'Urbervilles:
Chapters 12, 13, 14, and 15

Phase The Second: Maiden No More

Chapter 12

It is about four months after Tess arrives in Trantridge. This morning, she is walking along with a heavy basket and a large bundle, but she struggles on. Soon, a vehicle driven by Alec pulls alongside her, and he questions why Tess has run off so quickly without informing anyone. Tess sighs and says she will not be returning anymore, which does not surprise Alec, and he offers to drive her the rest of the way home. Their conversation reveals that they have had a romantic falling out, even though Tess had maintained disinterest in him. He apologizes for injuring her, admitting his own fault, but he offers continued assistance to Tess should she ever require it. Tess asks to be let off the cart, and uncaringly assents to being kissed farewell by Alec. She repeats again that she never loved him, and thus, they depart.
Tess continues on and encounters a man painting religious phrases on various blank walls. She waits to watch him paint the statements, which sting her with their brazen messages. Tess does not wish to walk with him any further, but as she leaves, he tells her that a certain Mr. Clare from Emminster might persuade her to be righteous, but Tess pays no heed.
Entering her home, she surprises her mother with her sudden appearance and tells her straightforwardly that Alec is not her cousin and that she is not to be married. Joan Durbeyfield is shocked that Tess has not pushed for marriage, especially after what Alec has done to her, and angrily calls Tess selfish. Tess, however, considers the idea of marriage to Alec ridiculous, but she bemoans having been deceived by the opposite sex. Her mother sighs, realizing there is nothing to be done now and saying they will make the best of it.

Chapter 13

Tess' return to Marlott is the talk of the town, and many pay visits to the family to hear what they expect to be good news about Tess. Joan cannot resist leading them on, even though she knows the whole unfortunate truth. Even Tess cannot resist speaking with a slight air of superiority from her experience, but the cold reality comes back to haunt her soon enough.
At church that Sunday, Tess tries to remain out of sight at the services, but soon, she sickly realizes that everyone is whispering about her. From this point on, Tess becomes reclusive, coming out only after dark for a quiet stroll. Her thoughts during these lonely times center around her own morality and the contrast between innocence and guilt in the world.

Chapter 14

It is August, and there are many laborers in the field, helping to operate a reaping-machine to facilitate the corn sheaving process. One of the workers is Tess, who is now almost a stranger in her own hometown. Tess is the last to stop work for lunch, and only does so when she sees her sister arrive with Tess' baby, born from her unfortunate encounter with Alec. The other laborers gossip about her misfortune, observing as Tess coddles her child tenderly. Tess sits thinking about her resolution to leave the past behind her. It was that resolution which energized Tess to leave the house and seek employment to help her family.
That evening, Tess learns that her baby has grown very ill. A strong desire to baptize her child seizes Tess, but her father refuses to send for the parson for this shameful baby. Tess is horrified, determined that while she should burn in damnation for her sins, her beautiful child should not. Her determination leads her to put on a makeshift baptism in their house, assisted by her siblings. She names her child Sorrow, who soon dies, though Tess has great hope that her ceremony was effective. She goes to see the parson to ask if her child may have a Christian burial. Although he is initially unwilling, seeing Tess' earnestness and sadness, he relents.

Chapter 15

Times are tough, but Tess is unwilling to apply to d'Urberville for help. She thinks over all the unfortunate days in her past and wonders when the last one, her date of death, will arrive. Tess' tribulations have matured her quickly, from an innocent girl to a troubled woman. Even home is no longer a comfort to her, with her family's unsuccessful attempts to claim kin universally known. Tess knows she cannot stay, and coincidentally, a letter arrives from a family friend announcing an opening for a milkmaid at a dairyhouse some miles below Marlott. Though Tess wishes for an even farther escape, she seizes the opportunity to be just plain dairymaid Tess, and not scorned Tess d'Urberville. Unfortunately, even the dairy is not without its reminders of the past. It is located in Talbothays, which stands next to the old d'Urberville estates and vaults. Tess resolves that they will be useful reminders of her downfall, and a sense of excitement seizes her at the thought of the new surroundings.

Browse all Studyworld Studynotes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1, 2, and 3
Chapters 4, 5, and 6
Chapters 7, 8, and 9
Chapters 10 and 11
Chapters 12, 13, 14, and 15
Chapters 16, 17, and 18
Chapters 19, 20, and 21
Chapters 22, 23, and 24
Chapters 25, 26, and 27
Chapters 28, 29, and 30
Chapters 31 and 32
Chapters 33 and 34
Chapters 35, 36, and 37
Chapters 38, 39, and 40
Chapters 41, 42, 43, and 44
Chapters 45, 46, 47, and 48
Chapters 49, 50, 51, and 52
Chapters 53, 54, and 55
Chapters 56, 57, 58, and 59



Teacher Ratings: See what

others think

of your teachers

Copy Right