Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Deborah Morse

Committee Members

Elizabeth Barnes

Mary Ann Melfi

Kathrin Levitan


Thomas Hardy’s Wessex sets a stage for tragedy as an ultimate end to the struggles of individuals caught in social conflict at the end of the Nineteenth century. Women in Hardy’s rural landscapes are caught in class and romantic struggle, for the most part leading to tragic ends. The natural world looms over these struggles, grounded in the lives and romantic endeavors of its tenants. As the laws, manners, and mores of developing society obfuscate the natural way of human life, Hardy creates Nature as a figure that observes and interacts with humanity’s confusion. In the attempt to depart from natural roots, and the hesitant transition towards urban influence, Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Woodlanders (1887), and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) explore the role of the natural world in its relation to female sexuality.

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