|Institution:||University of Iceland|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/1946/21428|
This essay attempts to compare the fictional oeuvres of the Italian Nobel Prize writer Grazia Deledda and the Victorian English novelist Thomas Hardy in relation to the depiction of nature presented in their works. In particular, the research investigates the function of nature in Deledda’s Reeds in the Wind, set in Sardinia, and in three of Hardy’s Wessex Tales (“The Three Strangers”, “Fellow-Townsmen” and “The Distracted Preacher”) of south-western England. Due to a lack of appropriate secondary sources in English, the analysis of Reeds in the Wind is solely supported by direct citations. The inquiry into the three Wessex tales, on the other hand, is aided by critical essays and literature textbooks that deal with the importance of nature in Hardy’s fictional world. The goal of the essay is thus to investigate the role exercised by nature and its singular phenomena over the characters’ lives as a tangible realization of fate. Furthermore, it attempts to unveil the symbolic and metaphorical meaning of nature as an embodiment of the characters’ emotions, dreams and hopes. The analysis of the books consisted mainly in finding paragraphs and passages of the stories where nature makes an appearance. It was crucial to take into consideration descriptive paragraphs of the countryside and weather but also any passage where singular natural elements stood out, paying particular attention to the role of the wind, the moon and the sea. The similarities between Hardy and Deledda were various. First and foremost the environment is portrayed by both authors in an extremely precise way to provide an accurate picture of the environment. However, nature is not only a background for the action but a direct influence on the characters’ lives. In this sense, nature is both a passive and an active protagonist: a stage for the characters adventures but also a pure embodiment of Fate to which the characters surrender completely.