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

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Does Hardy present Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles as a pure woman?

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The subtitle of Tess of the d'Urbervilles is A Pure Woman. It may be supposed from this that Hardy's objective is to redefine "pure woman" and contradict the standards of Victorian society that had developed a progressively restrictive definition of and role for woman while male philosophers and theologians discussed "the Woman question" and relegated women more and more to hearth and home under the label of "the Angel in the house."

It may thus be concluded that Hardy does present Tess as a pure woman but that critics and readers of his time had very strong opinions that diverged radically from his own, which may be wondered at since Dickens and the Brontës were from earlier dates also chipping away at the narrowing constraints directing...

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