Books Literary Sketches Paperweight

Hardy’s Penultimate Tess and the Casual Savagery of One Day

October 16, 2011

“For, in spite of its comic gloss, One Day is really about loneliness and the casual savagery of fate; the tragic gap between youthful aspiration and the compromises that we end up tolerating.” (#)


Saturday afternoon has left me weakened from a brief stomach virus and old, old memories flooding in from revising the Flickr archives. On a whim-ful notion, I had begun rereading film synopsis on North American culture from the past decade (2001-), and discovered that the film-based novel One Day, was cited by the author as an inspired-narrative from Thomas Hardy. This struck me as oddly true.

Though he is an author of several other works, Hardy is most celebrated for being the author of his penultimate work, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, fashioning a ‘passive victim’ character that endures the consequences of ill-decisions and shunned by a society, within the double standards of Victorian notions on womanhood. The flaw of tragedy presented within the novel is that those decisions she follows as a sense of learned helplessness and suffers as a result, have other happier alternatives presented (to the readers) if she had opted for other choices, followed through to the end of a path, and practicing braver resolutions instead of submitting to the (doubtful) inevitable.  Overall, it was an unsettling narrative that creates a short emotional distance between subject and reader, an mirror that grotesque reflection from humanity’s endless wretched misery from itself.

However, this novel was published in 1891 as censored and serialized due to the (implied) illicit morales and sexual language, yet the first encounter between Hardy and modern scholars are often within in a classroom, in the context of university-level courses teachings on the subjects of literature and drama narrative studies. Hardy’s revival on the method of catharsis, “a sensation or literary effect that, ideally, would either be experienced by the characters in a play, or be wrought upon the audience at the conclusion of a tragedy; namely, the release of pent-up emotion or energy.” (Aristotle, Poetics, #)

Overall, I concluded that One Day has represented itself as the consequence of heedless decisions between two characters that are very enamored with one another, yet their rational logic of decisions concerning their future together, and apart, leads us to a realization that many of our lifestyle, relationships and choices are known to ourselves.. yet we are still waiting for another person to voice those concerns, verbal responses and confirmation, outside justification in sync with our erring sense of self.

As so often revealed at the time of death or accident in our daily human existence, the ‘Book of Revelations’ that happens to each of us, often reveals that clarity of our actions towards others, and how we conduct ourselves outside of repeating old patterns of ways and thinking is the crux between enlightenment and escaping suffering.

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  • Reply Candice October 16, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Wow thank you darling for this post, this is really interesting. I loved both Tess and One Day so it’s funny that I only realize now that they are, in a way, related to each other.


    • Reply Eliz October 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      I didn’t realize it either, until I read the interview with the author. it’s a wonderful story.

  • Reply nolitawanders October 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you for such a beautiful post. I also love the book to pieces and have read it countless times and of course it always breaks my heart but that doesn’t stop me from reading it.

    • Reply Eliz October 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      I’ve read it over and over, this year has been a difficult time of heartbreak so it’s a comforting resonate.

  • Reply Kahlua October 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I really liked the way you presented this information. It nice to read good information like this rather than to waste your time doing nothing. Great Job! Thnkas for posting it!

  • Reply Pellucid October 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Did you design the site this well with the default blog tools? Your blog is incredible.

  • Reply Lissa November 22, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Brilliance for free; your parents must be a sweetheart and a crteified genius.

  • Reply Libby November 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    At last, someone comes up with the “right” asnwer!

  • Reply Makalah November 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I hate my life but at least this makes it barealbe.

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