The Macksey Journal


Thomas Hardy and William Faulkner’s novels, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Unvanquished, exhibit similar ideologies despite being years apart and existing thousands of miles away from each other. Both authors posit a dichotomy of an old culture against a new culture and, in doing so, show how ancient cultures are dying out as a result of changing times and modernization. Hardy, within Tess of the D’ Urbervilles through the characters of the countryside, showcases that ancient pagan ideals still have some small prominence within the rural culture. Yet, as new generations are born and older generations pass, the pagan traditions have steadily begun to die off. Similarly, in Faulkner’s novel, the mannerisms of the “Old South” are shown to wane in their prominence as a result of the Civil War. Ironclad customs begin to melt away within Faulkner’s novel, which is representative of Faulkner’s own beliefs for the South as a place that is in dire need of social upheaval. Also, within their works, both authors utilize strong female characters, Tess Durbeyfield and Drusilla Hawk, who deliberately spurn their respective societies of rural Victorian England and post-Civil War Mississippi. The inclusion of prominent female characters that directly oppose traditions norms is deliberate by Hardy and Faulkner as they are utilizing the medium of literature as a way to voice their beliefs concerning social change. Hardy and Faulkner’s novels, although about different times and locations, are similar in how they both champion progressive ideals regarding social change.