The "Angel in the House" is the typical Victorian middle-class woman (and can also be a woman of any era) who has internalized and restricted herself by adopting male desires about what a woman should be and say. In "Professions For Women," Woolf defines the angel in the house, "in short," as
so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all—I need not say it—she was pure.
Woolf does not define "purity" in the speech "Professions for Women," but her thoughts on the subject of woman were clear and consistent throughout her entire career. In her novel Orlando, the figure of Purity appears as Orlando is changing gender from male to female. She states,
I cover vice and poverty. On all things
frail or dark or doubtful, my veil descends. Wherefore, speak not, reveal
Purity is that which lies to cover up sin and poverty.
Purity and the Angel of the House are the same in that they both lie to uphold...
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