Posted by Caroline on August 03, 1998 at 12:06:32:
In response to confinement, written by Mishel on August 02, 1998 at 22:17:20
] I've read other historical novels, where women actually did not frequent public establishments when they started to show. I believe there is even an example in Gone with the Wind, although it's been awhile since I read it. I think ladies may have had to stay at home when they got bigger.
Asking fifty percent of the population to go into hiding for nine months at a time (and keeping them there by perpetual pregnancy) is a rather unrealistic think to expect from the whole of history, Mishel. If you look at the historical accounts, rather than the novels, it's obvious that this "rule" of not allowing women to frequent public establishemnets when they are showing just does not apply for all periods. I do think, however, that pregnancy was the one time that women were made a bit of a fuss of, and in JA's society "confinement" was a holiday and a break from routine that women were allowed without question.
Jane and Cassandra were frequently called upon to take over the household of their sister-in-law Mrs Knight about the time that the child was due, and to remain in charge until she was ready to take over again. This was often almost two months later.This was a normal pattern in many households, and is probably the best way of looking at the word 'confinement.'
As I said above, if you look up 'confinement' or 'lying in' in the archives you'll find lots of information on this. Laura W's post is absolutely amazing!
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