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Thomas Hardy


Hardy’s deterministic view


Just like Émile Zola, he was a Naturalist. He believed that man was influenced by the laws of environment and heredity. To the naturalist novelist, men have no free will and live in a world ruled by instinct, genes and blood. They are seen in a Darwinian-type struggle for survival in the jungle of the modern world.

Hardy’s works are full of considerations about life, death, man and universe.
They express a deterministic view. He became Atheist probably because of the reading of Classics and contemporary authors such as Darwin’s The origins of species in which Darwin expressed that while the strong survive, the weak perish and denied the existence of God.
He believed that chance had the control over everything.

He elaborated a pessimistic theory of his own according to which man was only a puppet in the hands of malicious forces which rule the universe and delights in tormenting and killing men. He also believed that Nature was indifferent to man’s destiny. So, man is the powerless victim of fate.

Hardy worked out the idea of a predestination to failure, according to which men fulfill their destiny without finding any help in society, which oppresses and destroys them, or in love that always leads to unhappiness. This is a naturalistic view, men must submit to the laws of heredity and Fate.

In his works, he also states the hypocritical and moralist aspects of Victorian society.
Hardy’s characters and language
He almost always set his novels in the South West of England and his native county of Dorset.
He stressed the importance of place: he described ruins, churches, towers, monuments and the importance of Stonehenge and was also interested in home interiors and colors play an important role in his descriptions.
He uses the omniscient narrator and somehow, he anticipates the cinema.

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