so, I finished Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy for the Classics Challenge... This was one of the most depressing, frustrating things I have ever read.
Tess cannot catch any breaks in life. Part of this is bad luck, part of it is her own fault. When things happen to her, she immediately blames the on herself and takes actions that only serve to make things worse. it is like watching a car accident - you know it is going to end badly, but there is nothing you can do except stand by and watch the carnage.
also, this book is extremely to my largely feminist ideals. I understand that this story took place a long time ago and that things were (drastically) different back then, but still. the ridiculous double standards and unreasonable ideals are just beyond my the realm of my modern-day comprehension. I just cannot understand why any self-respecting (actually, I think that is a big part of the problem here - her entire lack of self-respect) person, woman or otherwise, would put herself so much at the mercy of other people. the whole book is just a long line of people using her as a doormat. I don't care if it is for love or money or whatever, I would not let myself be treated in such a manner. and then, on top of that, to fell guilty and deserving of such treatment? I just don't get it.
having said all of this, I did enjoy the book. just because I don't like the way a story turns out or agree with the actions of a character doesn't mean it isn't a good book. I am glad that it made me feel such strong emotions. I also admire that the author did not give in and give this story a blissful, happy ending. it is refreshing, really.