From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles


by Thomas Hardy

The Chase vs. The Slopes

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Speaking of Nature with a capital "N," we have to talk about the importance of The Chase. After all, one of the most important scenes of Tess's life takes place there. The Chase is all that remains of the ancient, primeval forest that used to stretch all across Wessex, the fictional county where all of Tess of the D'Urbervilles takes place.

Why is it important that The Chase be so ancient? Well, one reason might be that the ancient-ness of The Chase provides a stark contrast to the surprisingly modern house that Alec D'Urbervilles lives in. The Slopes is brand-spanking new: "everything looked like money—like the last coin issued from the Mint" (5.22). The idea of old and new, past and present, nature and civilization somehow overlapping or coexisting is one that Hardy brings up again and again.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...