Rethinking the World: Mothers and Prostitutes in Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and The White (2002)
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Author/sRomero Ruiz, María Isabel
Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) is an attempt to deal with the issue of prostitution and rescue work in London in the 1870s. The two protagonists, William Rackham (a middle-class respectable man) and Sugar (an intelligent prostitute) become involved in a relationship where she becomes his daughter’s governess. The issue of maternity becomes central in the novel as Sugar’s own childhood was one of suffering and trauma. As a Neo-Victorian project, this novel tries to bring to light the violence exerted against children in the context of Victorian London. Following Judith Butler’s theories of gender violence, resilience and resistance, this paper aims to discuss issues of the Victorian neglected other and contemporary concerns about the suffering of children as the victims of trauma. Also, the novel tries to demonstrate that restoration and healing are possible through female agency.