Historians who study European women of the Renaissance try to measure "independence", "options", and other indicators of the degree to which the expression of women's individuality was either permitted or suppressed. Influenced by Western individualism, these historians define a peculiar form of personhood: an innately bounded unit, autonomous and standing apart from both nature and society. An anthropologist, however, would contend that a person can be conceived in ways other than as an "individual." In many societies a person's identity is not intrinsically unique and self-contained but instead is defined within a complex web of social relationships.
In her study of the fifteenth-century Florentine widow Alessandra Strozzi, a historian who specializes in European women of the Renaissance attributes individual intention and authorship of actions to her subject. This historian assumes that Alessandra had goals and interests different from those of her sons, yet much of the historian's own research reveals that Alessandra acted primarily as a champion of her sons' interests, taking their goals as her own. Thus Alessandra conforms more closely to the anthropologist's notion that personal motivation is embedded in a social context. Indeed, one could argue that Alessandra did not distinguish her personhood from that of her sons. In Renaissance Europe the boundaries of the conceptual self were not always firm and closed and did not necessarily coincide with the boundaries of the bodily self.
According to the passage, much of the research on Alessandra Strozzi done by the historian mentioned in the second paragraph supports which of the following conclusions?
- AAlessandra used her position as her sons' sole guardian to further interests different from those of her sons.
- BAlessandra unwillingly sacrificed her own interests in favor of those of her sons.
- CAlessandra's actions indicate that her motivations and intentions were those of an independent individual.
- DAlessandra's social context encouraged her to take independent action.
- EAlessandra regarded her sons' goals and interests as her own.