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Quotes

Quote #7

From the whole extent of the invisible vale came a multitudinous intonation; it forced upon their fancy that a great city lay below them, and that the murmur was the vociferation of the populace.
"It seems like tens of thousands of them," said Tess; "holding public meetings in their market-places, arguing, preaching, quarrelling, sobbing, groaning, praying, and cursing." (32.4-5)

Here, their imagination makes it seem to Tess and to Angel that the great city is somehow overlaying the peaceful countryside. A trick of the noise made by the rivers and streams make Tess imagine the bustle of the city – thousands of human lives, all going through the various overwhelming assortment of human emotions and activities.

Quote #8

Not being aware of the rarity of intelligence, energy, health, and willingness in any sphere of life, she refrained from seeking an indoor occupation; fearing towns, large houses, people of means and social sophistication, and of manners other than rural. (41.12)

Tess avoids towns and cities by instinct – she doesn't trust them. The "manners" of "rural" people are more natural, and, though less "sophisticat[ed]," they are somehow safer.

Quote #9

[…] it was the engineman. The isolation of his manner and colour lent him the appearance of a creature from Tophet, who had strayed into the pellucid smokelessness of this region of yellow grain and pale soil, with which he had nothing in common, to amaze and to discompose its aborigines. (47.3)

The man who runs the steam-powered threshing machine doesn't belong in the field – he's a representative of the modern, industrialized world. He's not painted in a very flattering light, either – he's like a "creature from Tophet" (the Hebrew version of hell), and has nothing "in common" with the field workers.

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