Year 13 comparing Rapture and Tess – wow, fantastic paragraphs

Dear 13A,

well done on your hard work last lesson as your collaboratively wrote about the presentation of love as positive and refreshing in Rapture and Tess. I loved reading your work and here are some of the highlights. Every pair wrote really well , it was hard to pick just one for blog fame as they were all so impressive.

Mrs Taylor

This one was special:

Duffy in her title poem ‘Rapture’ highlights the refreshing baptism that love has gifted her using the symbolism of rain, which is a technique also adopted by Hardy, but his pathetic fallacy contrasts the view that love is always displayed as liberating stating the rain ‘hung heavy as an opiate’. The alliteration of the glottal consonants in ‘hung heavy’ highlights the negative, rather than positive, view of love as the heavy sound is symbolic of the burden that Tess must carry due to her past. ‘Opiates’, a common treatment for pain in the 1860s, were commonly used in mid-Victorian England, as they were freely distributed and available in chemists. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that opiates were discovered to have been highly addictive and dangerous in terms of effect on both body and mind of the user. The alliteration and reference to the addictive drug shows a sense of foreboding and entrapment as Tess, instead of revelling in the light-heartedness of a new romance, feels trapped and confined, unable to be truly honest to her lover and foreshadowing her later troubles unlike Duffy who highlights the liberation now that she can embrace her sexuality in a changing society. Duffy’s symbolism of rain allows the nature of her love to be explored in a positive light as seen in Rapture: ‘then love comes like a sudden flight of birds from heaven to earth after rain’. ‘Flight ‘conveys Duffy’s freedom and liberation in a relationship which was previously a burden on her life due to societal conventions deeming same sex relationships to be unnatural, as the action or process of flying through the air. As this freedom has arrived ‘after rain’ it conveys that in order for Duffy to reach this stage in her life following the civil partnership act in 2004, she has had to experience the negative views of society which prior to this saw her love as a sin. The rain therefore acts as a process of renewal and cleansing of her past life, unlike Tess who’s is ‘steaming’ suggesting pressure is still building and a climax is about to be reached.


And a second that I really enjoyed…..

Hardy and Duffy both utilise images of airborne passion as an expression of love. Whilst Duffy creates a romanticised image of air and the sky, Hardy contradicts this in his stifling portrayal of love. Duffy suggests that love is liberating and refreshing, ‘Huge skies connect us’. The sky imagery emphasises the freeing nature of love, especially after the Civil Partnership Act of 2004. The openness of the sky also resembles the eternal presence of adoration. The natural imagery is reinforced in Duffy’s personification of the air, ‘Desire and passion on the thinking air’. The soft /s/ and /th/ sounds reflect the positive, carefree nature of love, and thus highlights Duffy’s unending desire for her partner. The personification of the air shows that love is an ever-present necessity, whilst Hardy contrasts this idealisation of romance in his presentation of love’s smothering effect. Hardy creates this portrayal of love in writing ‘The air of the sleeping chamber seemed to palpitate with the hopeless passions of the girls’. The ‘chamber’ contrasts heavily against Duffy’s open sky due to its enclosing nature, and presents for these women that love is not natural, but is a necessity, particularly in a time where women were expected to marry for wealth and property. This is emphasised by the creation of the air as an overpowering force in its ‘oppressiveness’. It furthers the idea that love was forced upon them, ‘by Nature’s cruel law’, as Hardy shows that love is an unavoidable emotion, as was the view of Darwin presented in his On the Origin of Species

Prize for most concise and yet still very powerful:

Both writers use ideas of synchronicity to convey the refreshing and positive nature of love. In Rapture Duffy’s confident, factual tone conveys ideas of romantic harmony within her relationship; this is shown through the symmetry of the line “Thought of by you all day, I think of you.” The repetition of the actions ‘thought’ and ‘think’ show the reciprocation of feelings, this is refreshing as it shows a confidence that she has in her relationship. In contrast in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Hardy represents a lack of synchronicity through the use of the Third person narrative view point “Four hearts gave a big throb simultaneously” The satirical tone reflects upon the infatuation that the girls have for Angel and the use of the word ‘simultaneously’ suggests a synchronicity within the women, as they all feel the same for angel however in contrast to Duffy, those feelings will never be reciprocated. In the 19th century, investigations into the heart and the invention of the stethoscope gave the heart prominence in popular culture as it became a motif of lovesickness in Victorian literature. Hardy’s use of this motif represents how Izz, Retty, and Marians feelings for angel with never be returned.

And a particularly clear and compelling introduction:

In ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ the reader is presented with a negative and depressing version of love, which mainly effects the heroine Tess, Brady says, ‘She is both the betrayed maid and the fallen woman.’ This emphasises Hardy’s soul crushing and life changing version of love, which clearly does not represent a refreshing and positive nature. However, in ‘Rapture’ Duffy demonstrates elements of refreshing and positive love that both she and her lover have experienced. Due to the realistic nature of Duffy’s ‘Rapture’ love is presented in a refreshing and positive nature as it a reflective collection of poetry. Whereas, Hardy’s fictitious novel dramatizes the nature of love by which he is seen to take ‘sadistic pleasure from Tess’s suffering’ and so the reader can only be confronted by doom and misery

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