• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What insights into late Victorian gender and social relations can be gleaned from a study of the press coverage of the 'Jack the Ripper' murders?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What insights into late Victorian gender and social relations can be gleaned from a study of the press coverage of the 'Jack the Ripper' murders? This essay will look at how the press coverage of the 'Jack the Ripper' murders strengthened the idea of the East End as a dangerous place and therefore raised the sense of a division existing between those in the East End of London and those who lived in respectable areas. It will examine how the rise of the press in the nineteenth-century enabled those who were at the helm of society to be able to impact on the thoughts of the nation as a whole. It will also look at how women were treated in this period and will examine why many women were effectively 'forced' into prostitution in the East End due to the prevailing social conditions endemic in this area. It will be shown that although there was a rise in the late nineteenth-century of social explorers and of social missionaries, little was done to make safer an area of the metropolis highlighted by these 'explorers' as dangerous and in need of reconstruction. Changes in physical infrastructure such as lighting, housing and sewerage systems were as important to effecting change in these area as were the moral crusades of people such as William Booth, the Salvation army founder and evangelist, who advocated that change could be brought about ...read more.

Middle

Murder stories in the press at this time 'contained ingredients of a novel or short story'.12 These short stories were effectively a serialisation of real events and reports would either raise or allay fears for the reader and would enhance the appeal of the next days edition. This meant good business and excellent profits by the boosting of newspaper sales. The traditional married woman's work in the East End was as an outworker for the various manufacturing trades that were a part of the highly industrialised East End. The manufacturing was usually of clothing or footwear, matchbox, brush-, basket-, or sack making. Single women most often worked in factory jobs such as making jam, matches or confectionary.13 Many women from the East End turned to prostitution on a casual or part-time basis, as were necessitated by slumps in employment, which if happened for prolonged periods would end up causing situations of poverty. William Booth calculated in 1886 that 'inadequate employment (no work or low wages) was the reason for poverty in 55 percent of all 'very poor'14 families and in 68 percent of the 'poor'15 families.'16 However, although many women took to prostitution on a casual basis many more were career prostitutes. Donald Thomas states that in 1861 at least 80,000 women out of a population of 2,800,000 London residents were reliant on prostitution as a means of generating some income. ...read more.

Conclusion

So it can be seen that the rise of the press enabled those with wealth, those who owned or controlled newspapers, to be able, by way of heightening fears, to instil fears in the general populace about how to live ones life 'correctly'. In a letter supposedly written by Jack the Ripper dated October 5th 1888, the writer talks of their denial of a murder and how if the person murdered was not a prostitute then he himself, the butcher of Whitechapel would hunt them down. He wrote ' I swear I did not kill the female whose body was found at Whitehall. If she was an honest woman I will hunt down and destroy her murderer. If she was a whore God will bless the hand that slew her, for the women of Moab and Midian shall die...'31 Even if not written by the Ripper, this statement shows how some men expected women to be; chaste and virtuous and in the home. This was seen as the woman's proper place. However, with no other alternatives, women of the East End of London were left with little or no choice. With no unemployment benefits and few social care institutions other than the local workhouse, women were effectively forced to take up prostitution as a means of survival. If the chance of death at the hands of a homicidal maniac were a reason to not be a 'whore', the reality of death from starvation was a much more compelling reason as to why one should. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 1800-1899 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree 1800-1899 essays

  1. What was the significance of higher education for women

    We can see that in the sixteen years between Punch 22 and 54, opinions aren't changing too quickly. The articles are patronising and derisive, remaining positive by not ruling women out of the profession, but still hinting that men have more to offer the medical arena.

  2. Account for the emergence of first wave feminism in Australasia in the 1880s and ...

    This was the early beginnings of women in Australia's journey to equality and the emergence of First Wave Feminism in Australia. 6 There were many different organization which rallied together during the First wave of Feminism in Australia. This included the Women's Christian Temperance union who aimed to constrict the

  1. 'It has been claimed that Britains financial institutions were too oriented towards overseas investment ...

    Stock Exchange,industries were financed by friends,family and local networks and not from the formal institutions. Cottrell confirms this,since he finds,that two third of the industrial finance comes from within 10 miles. Could investment banks improve British industry? In general,one of the problems that new investors were facing,was the lack of information about the financial status of the industries.

  2. It has been argued that Britains poor development of industries based on science and ...

    of higher education whereas in Germany the equivalent percentage was almost the double. It seems that many businessmen of that era had not received higher scientific education when they were young and thus they preferred for employees the ''practical man''.Whatever the achievements of the Scottish Universities and of the Dissenting

  1. The Development of the Telegraph and its Social Impact

    and California. Today you can check the United States Naval Observatory Master Clock on the Internet. The standardization of time was a product of the telegraph. It is not necessary to say anything about how being tied to the clock has impacted our society.

  2. In this essay I shall consider how all three explanations contributed to Chartisms support ...

    Evidence for all three explanations for Chartism?s support exists in the extract. However I personally conclude that the main focus and draw of support was the movement?s political goals as the speech uses political language to acquire agitators and fight for electoral reform.

  1. Compare and contrast the European-indigenous encounter in Australia with that of New Zealand. In ...

    of New South Wales? first Governor, Arthur Phillip, to Lord Sydney, vouching for the pacific nature of the natives.[7] Phillip goes on to say, that most of the conflicts recorded, were usually resulting from instigation by the convicts,[8] and it is this particular dynamic that will be further examined in

  2. The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson and the Reconstruction

    [6] In Johnson?s mind he was just restoring the southern states to the Union not reconstructing them. Johnson also behaved like Lincoln because he believed that Reconstruction was ?an executive?s responsibility? and he supported ?a minimalist approach? and hoped that the traditional balance of power between the state and federal

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work