Double Standard In Tess Of The D Urbervilles

1249 Words 5 Pages
In the novel Tess of the d 'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Thomas Hardy presents a radical story of a young woman named Tess Durbeyfield. Rape, childbirth, loss of love, and death accompany sixteen year old Tess on her journey to maturing. Plagued by society’s influential ideals, she experiences the pain and hardship that surround growing up as a woman during this time. Tess’s misfortune is mainly attributed to society’s views especially the double standard set on women, which is exhibited through the actions of Tess’s parents, Alec d 'Urberville, Angel Clare, and the community itself.
Tess’s parents are Hardy’s representation of the extent that society can infiltrate and harm Tess. They inadvertently started Tess’s misery because they believed
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Tess had been ostracized once her community learned of the child born out of wedlock. When Tess went to church the members of her community “who had turned their heads turned them again as the service proceeded; and at last observing her they whispered to each other. She knew what their whispers were about… and felt that she could come to church no more” (Hardy 106). The experience that Tess had to go through was very difficult for her, and caused her to seclude herself from daily activities. Isolation and abandonment by her community and her church was apparent in this period of her life. However, society emphasizes the double standard, and punishes Tess for something she did not want. The eschewing was so harsh that “the only exercise that Tess took [during that] time was after dark; and it was then, when out into the woods, that she seemed least solitary” (Hardy 106). Tess’s misfortune is again attributed to society’s views because it made her community believe she was not pure, and because of that they caused her to seclude herself. Purity is a figment of society, and is a continuation of the patriarchy, which is why virginity and purity mainly applies to

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