The dissertation is based on Hardy's representation of Victorian working-class women's experience, exemplified by the heroine of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), in the radically gendered nineteenth-century society. Physical mobility as metaphor and metonymy in the novel stands for the transgression and subversion of patriarchal influence and is revealed as having a complex significance in relation to gender distinction. Hardy subverts Victorian norms of femininity through Tess's movements from one physical space to another in her struggle for freedom and autonomy. However, Hardy's inability to transcend completely the conventions of his society is apparent in the way Tess is literally destroyed in her quest for autonomy, respect and contentment. A study of the novel reveals Tess as a victim of the wearing and destructive impact of social and economic realities that Hardy does not adequately questioned. Finally, the novel follows the conventional realist pattern where the transgressive heroine is punished in the end.English StudiesM.A. (English
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