By Kristine Swenson
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Additional info for Medical Women And Victorian Fiction
Unlike in that earlier novel, however, socially ostracizing fallen women is here treated as misguided prejudice. Though the reader knows that Ruth is leading a productive Christian life, a dressmaker who knew her 25. Walkowitz, Prostitution, 41, 32; Cora Lansbury, Elizabeth Gaskell: The Novel of Social Crisis, 51. 26. Pauline Nestor, Female Friendships and Communities: Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, 3. ” (321). And though Ruth’s work as the Bradshaws’ governess is more than satisfactory, and though she behaves more modestly and correctly than Bradshaw’s own daughter, Ruth is dismissed from her position as soon as her story is known.
Thomas’s Hospital: “For 7 years he has been in habits of intoxication . . ” That Nightingale would endure such behavior by the chief medical 35. Kalisch, “The Birth of Modern Nursing,” 135. 36 Nightingale’s stringent moral guidelines, then, reveal not only the fear of improper behavior among the nurses, but also a recognition of the more general difficulties facing even the most proper women who worked alongside men and with such an intimate connection to male bodies. Besides diminishing the immediate danger of sexual harassment, a repressed female sexuality, even to the point of celibacy, helped single women to gain professional acceptance in their male-dominated world.
37 Nightingale accepted the repression of her own sexuality as the necessary price of her professional ambition. After many proposals over a number of years, Nightingale finally refused to marry the social reformer Richard Monckton Milnes. Nightingale’s analysis of her own situation explains why she believed work and marriage to be incompatible goals and demonstrates how this incompatibility forced her to sacrifice twothirds of her “self” and her desires: I have an intellectual nature which requires satisfaction and that would find it in him.