Lytton Strachey's excerpt on Florence Nightingale

Essay by lettyhandalHigh School, 12th gradeA, November 2008

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 15 times

Lytton Strachey's excerpt depicts the popular misconceptions and the actual reality of who Florence Nightingale was. Strachey's euphemism of calling Nightingale "the Lady with the Lamp" as opposed to the "agitations of her soul" portrays the idea that her reality was much more different than her false perceptions. Though he admires Nightingale with awe, he conveys his opinion by using dark and tainted diction - "morbid", "Demon possessed her". Though this might suggest into the thinking that Nightingale was evil and beyond human capabilities, it manifests that she was an extraordinary human with suffrages that make her a stronger individual.

Strachey's syntactical style enables the reader to dilute a clear view of Nightingale's life. His creative tone in using rhetorical questions eradicates Nightingale's courageous endeavor and capabilities. From lines 20 to 22, Strachey exhibits the truth that even when her sister had shown a "healthy pleasure" in tearing up her dolls, she should a "morbid one" sewing them back up.

This idea seems particularly demonic and malevolent (the feeling she expresses while sewing her dolls) because she feels a sense of guilty enjoyment in fixing something that is not perfect. Her gratification is that of healing and "herself as matron moving about among the beds". Continuously, these rhetorical questions delineate a fact and expound it further enhancing the reader to fully understand the structure of Nightingale's motivations and drive. Another strategy that Strachey uses is the use of long and ornate sentences that are broken off by telegraphic ones. This technique enables the audience to feel an utmost sincere admiration for Nightingale (line 2 through 12). With the reader's emotions at a peak, Strachey quickly halts your train of thought and hits you with a complete opposite idea. This makes the reader more vulnerable to what the author has...