Adam Bede and Tess of the D’Urbervilles: A Return to "the Religion of Loving-Kindness"

  • 黃 誌懿

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

This thesis explores the theme of sympathy in George Eliot’s Adam Bede and Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles It investigates the challenges to traditional religion in the nineteenth century brought about by the new developments in science such as evolutionary theories and archeological discoveries and other rationalist thinking to highlight the concept of sympathy as the two novelists’ call for a return to the humanistic values of religion The novelists’ concerns about the limitationsof traditional religion are manifested in their depiction of ineffectual or even impotent religious figures Nevertheless the two authors also portray in a subtle way the admirable human attributes of these representatives of religion In reaction to the religious crisis of their time Eliot and Hardy both influenced by positivist thoughts promote the concept of sympathy as a remedy to the inadequacy of religion So they highlight how the return to the humanistic values of religion can help amend the difficult situation In Adam Bede through the interactions between the religious leaders and Adam Eliot traces the titular character’s development of sympathy Similarly in Tess of the D’Urbervilles Hardy depicts Angel’s improvement through his development of a sympathetic understanding In the case of Adam thanks to the support and companionship of Rector Irwine he is spiritually regenerated from the suffering experiences resulting from Hetty’s love affair with Arthur Eventually Adam is able to forgive both Hetty and Arthur As for Angel his gradual acquisition of a sympathetic understanding helps him to accept Tess despite her imperfection To conclude Eliot and Hardy consider sympathy with which people can be more tolerant understanding and respectful as a possible solution to the religious problems of their time
Date of Award2016 Sep 8
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChao-Fang Chen (Supervisor)

Cite this

Adam Bede and Tess of the D’Urbervilles: A Return to "the Religion of Loving-Kindness"
誌懿, 黃. (Author). 2016 Sep 8

Student thesis: Master's Thesis