The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

by

John Fowles

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The prostitute Character Analysis

When Charles is in London, feeling trapped by his future, he picks up a prostitute on the street because she looks vaguely like Sarah. This woman has a young daughter and goes about her work in a professional, almost dispassionate manner. When Charles finds out that her name is also Sarah, he vomits. Symbolically, the prostitute stands in for Sarah in terms of Charles’s lust—she’s a form of Sarah that Charles can possess in a way he never can possess the real Sarah—but she also demonstrates what Sarah’s life could easily be like, as Sarah herself says she’s likely to become a prostitute if she goes to London. Furthermore, both Sarahs end up having daughters whom Charles plays with.
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The prostitute Character Timeline in The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The timeline below shows where the character The prostitute appears in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 39
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
...about her appearance makes Charles stare, and finally he knocks for the cab to stop. The prostitute appears at the door. Charles realizes that she doesn’t actually look like Sarah, but there’s... (full context)
Class Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
They’re silent until the prostitute asks whether Charles wants her for the whole night, and he says he does. Later... (full context)
Chapter 40
Storytelling and Morality Theme Icon
Convention vs. Freedom Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
When the cab stops, the prostitute runs up to a house and goes inside. Charles pays the driver, an old man... (full context)
Convention vs. Freedom Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
When the prostitute returns, Charles sits by the fire while she tends to it. Her delicate hands and... (full context)
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
A boy brings the food up. The prostitute gives Charles a glass of bad wine, and she eats her dinner. He can’t imagine... (full context)
Class Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
Charles is suddenly nauseous, but he’s also aroused. He continues to touch the prostitute , who sits passively. When he feels sick again, she senses it and asks if... (full context)
Chapter 41
Convention vs. Freedom Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
Charles has a hangover, but he remembers everything. After he vomited, the prostitute got him into a chair, where he threw up again, apologizing at the same time.... (full context)
Fiction and History vs. Reality Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
Then the little girl began crying loudly. Charles looked out the window, but the prostitute must have gone far to find a cab. Someone shouted through the wall, so Charles... (full context)
Convention vs. Freedom Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
The prostitute returned and was frightened, then relieved, to find Charles with her daughter. He gave her... (full context)
Chapter 43
Convention vs. Freedom Theme Icon
Sexuality and Gender Theme Icon
After his night with the prostitute , Charles has decided that he’ll go through with his marriage to Ernestina, though he... (full context)