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Tess of the D'Urbervilles
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February 2014 - Tess > Tess the Pure Woman

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Lindsey Buis | 77 comments ***Spoiler Alert***
The title of the novel by Thomas Hardy is subtitled "A Pure Woman." Is Tess a pure woman? Why or why not?


Gita Reddy | 41 comments Going by the perceptions of those times, Tess is not a pure woman, and she herself thinks she is not pure. She thinks she is no longer good enough for Angel.

What I wonder about is the intention of Hardy in giving that subtitle to the book.
He had written on a taboo subject. Did he want to reassure his readers or was he mocking them?
Or, did he start with something else in mind (the book appeared as a newspaper serial ), and the story acquired a life of its own, as it often happens.


Lindsey Buis | 77 comments Yes I find it interesting that he subtitled the novel as for the time period she was not pure. I think Hardy is trying to push the Victorian ideals of purity. I think Hardy sees Tess as a natural woman that is pure in her sense of morality. She bleeds into nature (falling asleep in the woods, escaping into the woods) it seems to be the few times she is free. I also find it interesting how she has such a strong work ethic.


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Yun Yi | 7 comments No slightest doubt that Hardy meant what he said. And he put that as subtitle only to make his stance crystal clear.
Also somewhere in the book - after Angel Clare drops her, author wrote about Tess's unquestionable moral state, criticized Angel Clare by the fact that he is still a "slave" of custom and tradition, though Angel thinks he is rebellious to christianity.


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