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First-hand narrative of a Gilded-Age Prostitute - Essay Example

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Date Madeline was a girl brought up in a middle class home with a doting father and loving mother; she had the life her friends and neighbors envied and as a young child, she describes her existence as a happy one. Her father would beat her up whenever he was drunk and dote on her when sober, such emotional inconsistency as well as abuse made her insecure and affected her psychologically, “When he was sober I was his favorite child…
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First-hand narrative of a Gilded-Age Prostitute
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Download file to see previous pages The father’s joblessness ensured their discontinued education while her mother’s ill-timed pregnancy, sickly child and poor health rendered her incapable of doing much to help her family. It is in their neighborhood that Madeline got involved with the wrong company and came pregnant outside wedlock, a situation of often warranting phenomenal stigma at the time. Mrs James, a former servant in Missouri sends for her and she goes to work in a factory; however, due to her pregnancy she runs off with her saving to hide herself from the shame. This is when she realizes that surviving in the town without a job is next to is exceedingly difficult and getting a job without references and experiences is impossible. When her savings run out, she starts taking men to bed for money although it is not easy for her and she is at times “robbed” of her earnings. She tries picking clients in the streets, but she finds she lacks the “brass” for it and ends up being a kept woman for a man who looks after her In addition to infecting her with, a venereal disease and expects payment in sex. She finally entered a brothel and commenced, her career as a prostitute under the management of the owner of the “house” Miss Laura and it is here that she acquired the name Madeline. That was the beginning of her life as a prostitute and she went on to ply her trade, from Butte, Montana, and she later became the Madame of her own house in San Francisco. Life in the gilded age was characterized with aspects of acute social stratification distinct in the differences between members of different classes, with the gap between the upper and lower classes being predominantly based on financial prowess. For instance, one of the most brutal beatings she got form her father was because of playing with the child of one of the servants whose friendship was frowned against (Lindsey 6). Society was highly patriarchal and men in most institutions be it family or work had the last word, while women were often subject to harsh and unfair treatment and could not take control of even their own lives. After their father abandoned them, it is Madeline’s brother who takes up the responsibility of “Man of the House” evidently a house had to have a man to run properly. The moral condition in Kansas City according to the writer was abominable, there were vice flourished all over and there were many houses of pleasure not only in Kansas but also the other cities such as Texas. This was the period of industrialization, rural decline and urbanization; the rural decline is seen in the way her idyllic life in the country comes to an end due to her father’s failure and like many who failed to survive in the rural areas, her family moved to a town and she later moved to town and thus completed the cycle of urbanization. It is here that she comes face to face with the reality of industrialization urbanization and they significantly affect her life, she works in the dressing factory as a check girl a job she didn’t dislike although the noise of machines haunted her for many nights. The rural urban migration inevitably leads to overcrowding in towns which as well as unemployment, and this hit her hard when she runs out of her job and tried to secure another one. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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