Tess of the d'Urbervilles Questions and Answers
by Thomas Hardy

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How does Thomas Hardy present women in Phase the First of Tess of the d'Urbervilles? Please base answers only on the first part of the novel. (i.e. "The Maiden".)

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In Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Phase the First is called "The Maiden," referring to Tess's innocence at the start of the novel. Hardy introduces Tess during the May-Day celebration. In this chapter, Hardy presents women as connected to nature. The Vale of Blackmoor is fertile land, and the country women dress in white and wear flowers. Women celebrate the May-Day dance and club-walking as part of an ancient festival for the earth goddess.

Hardy also presents women as homemakers and family caretakers. When Tess goes home in chapter three, her mother Joan is singing and rocking the baby to sleep while also washing clothes. When her mother joins her father at the pub, Tess finishes up the laundry and takes care of her siblings.

Tess takes lots of responsibility: she takes on the responsibility of caring for her family when her parents are out drinking, and she...

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