Monday, December 12, 2016

"In Our Time" Podcast- Lindsey P.

  • Talks a little about Charlotte's family
  • You get the point of view from professionals
  • Talks about some real life people that Bronte based her characters off of
  • When they do talk about Charlotte's family it's vague
  • they don't spend much time on one particular topic
        Something that caught my attention in the podcast was the medical care at the school that Charlotte, Mary, and Elizabeth attended. It made me wonder what the medical care was like back in the Victorian era, not only in the schools, but also everywhere else. 

        I found out that in the beginning period of the era ,hospitals, rather than beings seen as a "place of healing" were more often viewed as a "gateway of death".Visitors would see overcrowded wards, surgeries being performed without any form of anesthesia, and an unclean workplace. Back in this time the hospitals were not seen as a priority, and health care was practically non existent. Charlotte Bronte wrote it Jane Eyre the lack of empathy for the sick girls and how medicine was not seen as important. It was a glimpse into how Victorian society looked at medicine and the priority of the sick.
        It wasn't until the middle of the century that medical care and hospitals were being reinvented. Several different types of hospitals came out of this for different types of patients. The more popular ones were the voluntary hospitals, specialist and cottage hospitals, Hospitals for infectious diseases, and asylums.

Voluntary Hospitals- Theses hospitals initially started out as hospitals who took in the poor who couldn't afford to see a doctor. A board of directors chose who would be admitted and the doctors were not compensated, they had to have their own private practice. Eventually they became so popular that the rich preferred to be in the hospitals than have their own personal doctor.
Specialist/Cottage Hospitals- These arose out of the need for hospitals that would treat conditions that other hospitals turned away. These hospitals were different because it was the doctor that chose who was admitted not a board of directors. The cottage hospitals popped up so that people in the country didn't have to travel very far.

Infectious Diseases Hospitals- In order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases these hospitals were created to isolate patients and protect the other citizens. The good thing about these hospitals was that they were free admittance so that they could protect the public.

Asylums- From the 1808 County Asylums Act, the mentally ill were placed in separate hospitals all to themselves. Prior to this mental illness was not seen as a disease so the people who suffered from it were treated as criminals, vagrants, and paupers. As it is shown in Jane Eyre the mental illness of Mr.Rochester's wife was something to be ashamed of and hidden away.
Learning about the medical care back in the Victorian era gave me a better understanding of the way the Lowood girls were neglected when it came to the outbreak. It wasn't just because Mr. Brocklehurst was a cruel man, it was all of society's view on medicine and those who were ill, it just wasn't a huge priority.


  1. It's sad that health care was such a low priority in that time but at least something good came out of it. Think about how much more boring Jane Eyre would've been if no one at Lowood would have been sick? Think about how much more boring the book would've been if Jane and Rochester got married right off because Bertha was swept under the rug and put in an asylum? If these advancements in medicine and health care would have came twenty years earlier, Jane Eyre might've been a much different novel.

  2. Jane Eyre gives us sort of an idea of what the health of people were back then and conditions were like. When Jane was at Lowood, there was an outbreak and several people died because it was not contained and was spread. There was no way to treat it, and therefore many innocent students died.


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