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.
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.
...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)