Diane Ackerman writes "when i think about the essence of being modern, the changes in attitude that led to the life we now know, three things come to mind: choice, privacy, and books"
please choose a text that has been important to you in your life or to the culture around you. how does the text you have chosen illustrate Diane Ackerman's ideas of books being important to modern life.My response/ thesis
The expressions of personal ideas have long been oppressed throughout time. As works of literature have become available, the ideologies and beliefs of people have slowly evolved. These books, have given people the courage to break free from social norms and explore their own ways to pursuit happiness. During previous era's many toyed with the idea of loving whom they choose to, against all social law. These new innovative dogmas presented in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles a novel depicting the Victorian period, are now commonly exercised throughout many Cultures. Tess Dubeyfield the main character of the narrative becomes rebellious in which her feelings change her way of life, becoming an epitome for modern day's society prevailing customs to change. Her inability to make a decision of whether to live with the love of her life or the mate set forth by her parents becomes a stepping stone for the later revolution of fixed marriages, giving people freedom of choice.
The work starts off with Tess being told of her obligations to the family forcing her to do something undesired, in the time period in which the story takes place is the Victorian era it is common for parents to set their daughters fate. By the implications of her mother one can already foresee her mother's intentions for Tess "He is a very handsome man .'said Mrs Durbeyfield' ". Her mother sets up the idea that Tess should wed Alec D'Uberville. But as time progress social norms begin to change as shown in this piece of literature opening gateways for people to act and think independently. " I do not think so. said Tess coldly I will think it over" , this shows Tess beginning to go against her mother by disagreeing. Her parents reinforce Victorian values by forcing the idea that she will marry Alec."No doubt he will marry her and she will be a fine lady".
As the novel progress Hardy paints a vivid picture of Tess toying with the idea of going against social norms but is brought down by the morals presented in the Victorian era where there is an ideal woman which obeys. " "No--no!" she said quickly, putting her fingers between his hand and her lips. "I would rather take it in my own hand." The imagery presented shows Tess's resistances against him hand feeding her, but Tess begins to think of what is the right thing to do and follows what her parents want of her and resist's Alec no more. She seems to feel an obligation to her parents and allows him to continue feeding her as painted. "Tess eating in a half-pleased, half-reluctant state whatever d'Urbervilles offered her". Haven there been works of literature such as this novel Tess might not have been in an uncomfortable situation making her own decision of whether to follow the ideologies present at her hand.
Tess later on comes in conflict with moral values vs. freedom. It becomes evident that she must break away but by breaking it defies all that is said to be correct and traditional. She knows she must follow her parent's wishes but she is in love with some which here parents do no desire for her to marry. Her inability to make a meaningful decision between the two seems to be because of her parents closed mindedness. Old days lack of freedom and choice lead to her death. She struggles with the dilemma as hardy paints a clear image of her parent's dominance over her. "he gathered blossoms and gave her to put in her bosom. She obeyed like one in a dream" Tess's is not only dominated by her parents but by Alec as he forces to put the flower where he pleases.
With people reading novels such as Tess of the D'Urberville promoting power of will and the freedom of choice change, society opening many doors for individuals to think critically for themselves. Tess begins to show her power of will when she resist her parent's predetermined destiny set upon her, refusing to marry Alec " I shouldn't care to do that". Her new profound idea for pursuing her happiness as opposed to her parents bring for the now modern belief that we are free to decide whom we love. "Her affection for him was now the breath and life of Tess's being" Tess rapidly falls for the heart throb of the novel Angel Clare and chose's to proceed with their relationship. This becomes a basis in which she see's ongoing customs and decides to change them "one of a long row only... just like thousands' and thousands" Hardy shows the occurring repetition but breaks the cycle with Tess as she puts forward her idea of freedom of choice .