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Plot Summary

The Durbeyfields learn that they are descendents of the d'Urbervilles, an ancient and distinguished family. Tess is sent to claim kin with them, in hopes that they will assist her family in their poverty. She meets Alec d'Urberville, who is not really a d'Urberville at all since his family only attaches on the last name, and when she does not respond to his romantic gestures, he rapes her one night as she sleeps. Tess is left scarred and impregnated by the experience, and she tries to escape her past by going to Talbothays. There she meets Angel Clare, with whom she falls in love and marries, but her guilt causes her to reveal all her past indiscretions to him. Hearing this, Angel rebuffs her, unwilling to love her as before and leaving her alone as he tries to make a living in Brazil. Tess, meanwhile, struggles on her own, embarrassed at being deserted and humiliated by her past. Alec finds her again, and though he appears as a converted religious man, he soon drops the disguise and continues his old ways. He manipulates Tess into marrying him, telling her that Angel will not return for her. However, Angel realizes that he has been wrong and comes back to love Tess, but he finds her in the arms of Alec d'Urberville though she is really in love with Angel. Tess' fury at Alec for his deception causes her to kill him. Angel tries to hide Tess, but she is caught and executed. Angel mourns her death, and marries her sister instead, keeping a promise he made to Tess.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1, 2, and 3
Chapters 4, 5, and 6
Chapters 7, 8, and 9
Chapters 10 and 11
Chapters 12, 13, 14, and 15
Chapters 16, 17, and 18
Chapters 19, 20, and 21
Chapters 22, 23, and 24
Chapters 25, 26, and 27
Chapters 28, 29, and 30
Chapters 31 and 32
Chapters 33 and 34
Chapters 35, 36, and 37
Chapters 38, 39, and 40
Chapters 41, 42, 43, and 44
Chapters 45, 46, 47, and 48
Chapters 49, 50, 51, and 52
Chapters 53, 54, and 55
Chapters 56, 57, 58, and 59


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