In Chapter XII we learn that the “rape” may have been more of taking advantage of a young innocent woman instead of a forceable rape. We also learn that Joan has terrible parenting skills. And we see the scene where the lines warning Ana of Christian came from.
I had to read Chapter 13 a couple times to get it, it’s short and full of Hardy describing Tess’ state upon her return with no real progress to the story. It’s actually taken a few days to want to spend the time to get to know this chapter and write about it.
Word that Tess was home had spread pretty quickly and several of Tess’ friends had come over to find out what had happened with her 31st cousin. It seems the talk is that her cousin had fallen in love with her, and he was known as being a bit of a heartbreaker. The talk of the ladies is that he bought her the beautiful dress she was wearing and they were a bit envious of her experience at being courted. Joan is loving it and is already plotting how she can use this to get her daughter married off. Yet, I can’t help but think that Tess will die an old maid.
Tess did get caught up in the moment that night, even starting to think and act like it had been a great experience. You remember that time in your youth when you know you have more experience then your friends and they’ll be coming to you for experience.
But after that night her mood drops and she becomes depressed. After a few weeks she managed to pull herself together enough to go to church. While at church Psalm 102 is sang, it’s a depressing Psalm, “a prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the lord.” Without knowing what it is she connects with it. Then she notices the woman peak at her and whisper, she knew they were talking about her. That was her last trip to church.
Hardy goes on to spend 2 more pages explaining her self imposed guilt and depression. She doesn’t go out, and when she does it’s only at times and places when she knows she wont see anyone.
This chapter is flat out depressing, I hope something better happens in Chapter XIV.