Tess Of The D'Urbervilles

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Sydney Canaan Mrs. Beard AP English IV 25, January 2012 Religion vs. Humanism In Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Hardy places many questions of justice and religion in the reader's mind, and these inquiries challenge many of the conventional ideals found in Victorian England. While religion was a vital component in constructing the social laws of the time, it gradually became the social laws that were composing the religious regulations. In turn, many people of the lower-class were unable to find salvation in religion due to their rejection in society. Hardy confronts organized religion because of the lack of compassion toward less remarkable people and places humanism as a more pure notion to live by. Hardy's negative treatment of religion in Tess of the D'Urbervilles stems from his belief that if a higher power exists, it corrupts mankind whereas humanism proves to be the perfect substitute. The injustice of giving an innocent, bastard child an improper burial and abolishing their only chance of salvation after earthly life is Hardy's main comment on how the depraved religious system in phase the second infects a man of repute, causing him to change his morals for the worse. The Vicar finds himself rejecting innocent Tess Durbeyfield's request of giving her child a proper, Christian burial, admitting "I would willingly do so... But I must not," (Hardy 97) indicating how a man of the God and the church was turning away from justice in order to assimilate into an elitist, apathetic society. Having had considered the option he knows to be righteous, the Vicar still decides to conform. This conformity is a microcosm for the Victorian upper class and their propensity toward absurd social laws that integrate into the church and discriminate against the less wealthy, revoking any right to salvation they have ever earned. Hardy's invocation of emotion

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