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Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

by Thomas Hardy

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Distant

When the narrator is describing the landscape, he adopts the tone of a passing observer – someone who is interested in what's going on, but not someone who's really invested in any of it. During climactic or very emotional moments, he adopts a more sympathetic tone. For the most part, that sympathy is more of a general sympathy – the kind of pity anyone would feel for someone suffering as Tess does. That universal sympathy makes the reader identify even more with Tess.

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