I have recently developed an obsession with Masterpiece Classic. For those of you who don't know anything about it, PBS plays these amazing new movies based on classic (usually romance) novels almost every Sunday night. And they are.... AWESOME!
For the past 2 weeks they've played parts 1 & 2 of Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I had never even heard of the book, maybe that goes to show the lacking in our education system, maybe it's a more unusual book. I couldn't say. But in any case, according to the prologue when the book came out there was extreme controversy about it, so much so that dinner party seating was arranged according to who thought Tess was a helpless victim and who thought Tess was a sullied woman of ill repute.
I don't want to spoil the whole thing for you, since you can currently watch the movie in it's entirety online. But basically Tess was a rape victim, and at the time (I'm guessing the 1700's) such a thing was considered to be all the woman's fault. Because it's up to her to not put herself into questionable situations I suppose. And since Tess is the main character of the story it's written in such a way that the audience was drawn in to feel sympathetic to her plight. A concept which seems obvious to those of us living today, but I guess back then things were seen quite differently.
So the story brings up some interesting questions about, "What is a Lady?" Is it the lineage of her birth? Is it wealth? Is it purity? Is it innocence? Is it moral character?
It's such an interesting story that I honestly haven't stopped thinking about it since I watched part 2 Sunday night. So I HIGHLY recommend that you head on over to the PBS website and check it out! They're only offering it online until Sunday January 18th.
And while you're there, you may want to sign up for their book giveaway! They're giving away 10 box sets of Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Wuthering Heights. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to enter.
This coming Sunday will be Wuthering Heights! I can't wait!