Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp - English Story - Little Authors - littleauthors.in

Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale was a Victorian-era English woman who greatly improved the care Of sick and dying soldiers during the Crimean war. She was the lady carrying a lamp as she Made her way through the dark and damp halls of a make-shift hospital where hundreds of Men lay inches apart in unspeakable conditions. She was the heroine of the Crimean war, Returning to England and avoiding every attempt at fame as she quietly withdrew and secluded Herself from mainstream
society. Her efforts to remain anonymous were so well orchestrated That, when she died at the age of 90, many were surprised to know that she was still alive, Thinking she had died decades earlier. Florence Nightingale was memorialized and archived onto the pages of many children’s Books.

Nightingale story-commissioned and non commissioned

After her death, Sir Edward Cook was commissioned to write the biography of Florence Nightingale remains one of the most comprehensive works on the subject of Nightingale but It represents an unfolding of only part of the mystique of Florence Nightingale. Cook did not Have carte blanche access to all the information about Nightingale and he was cautious to Exercise discretion when retelling some parts of the story, especially those related to Florence’s Vitriolic commentary that sometimes surfaced in her letters and notes Direction from the Nightingale family led Cook to convey a positive image of the Nightingale Training School, even Though there were problems, especially in its early development. The Cook biography was followed by much more storytelling and with each biography, There was uncovered something new from Nightingale’s life, sometimes accurate and sometimes exaggerated and even fabricated. And so, Florence Nightingale was the Lady with The Lamp whose life story can read like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde novella, depending on the Storyteller. Florence Nightingale’s public life began with articles in the daily Times Newspaper giving Accounts of her merciful mission to care for the soldiers during the Crimean war, and continued To grow through the many volumes that, to this day, continue to be written more than 100 Years after her death. The commentary on the life of Nightingale is broad and varied from the Saintly-like mercenary to the tyrannical commander who bullied her way to the top with little Regard for others. The first attacks on her character were recorded in 1913, in the book titled Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey, a member of the British Bloomsbury literary group Strachey was among the first to introduce a form of biographical storytelling, with a caricature like quality, that was a combination of fact and invention.

Early years and Education

Florence Nightingale was born during her parents three year honeymoon in Italy. Named after the city of her birth, she was the second child of William and Frances Nightingale, a handsome couple who had money, more than anything else in common. Frances was beautiful, gracious and well prepared for the life of an upper class, successful Victorian wife and mother. Her goal was to provide an elegant country home that met the highest standards for entertaining her large family and the upper classes in society, and to prepare her two daughters for marriages that would provide a life equal to that which they were accustomed, a life in which they did little and much was done for them. William Edward Nightingale, more often referred to as W.E.N., was tall, handsome, highly educated and, according to Florence, unambitious. It was a combination of tradition and law that added to the wealth of William Nightingale as he acquired his great uncle’s property by default.Peter Nightingale never married and therefore had no direct male heir. In accordance with the traditions of the upper class family in Victorian England, Florence and her sister Parthenope received much of their care, nurturing and discipline from a governess. Miss Christie was one of many employees retained by the Nightingales to manage a large household, its inhabitants, the grounds and gardens. Miss Christie was among the first to understand Florence as being different, self-centered, and sometimes retreating into an imaginary world of her own making. O’Malley, one of the early Nightingale biographers, reported that Florence and her sister wore mourning clothes in the period following Miss Christie’s death, which may have been unusual even for children in Victorian England. Unable to find a teacher who met the standards of the Nightingale’s, especially those of WEN, resulted in the girls being home-schooled by their father. There is widespread agreement that the education they received was substantially of a better quality and greater depth than was common for children with parents of similar means. Their schooling was at least equal to that of the education given to upper class boys and that was unusual, since it was believed that girls did not require as extensive an education. The girls received instruction in modern and classic languages, history, geography, mathematics, literature, grammar, writing and music. Florence was the better student of the two sisters, while Parthenope, often called Parthe, was more drawn to the arts and to those activities which were more suitable to little girls in upper class society. As a child, Florence was prone to unexplained medical problems. She wore medal plates in her shoes during part of her childhood and she has what appears to be a partial supportive glove on her right hand in a water color painted by White around 1836.When Florence was six years old, a serious illness resulted in her being confined to her bed for an extended period of time. As an adult reflecting back on that confinement, she described that time as one of the happiest of her life. Was Nightingale’s isolation and confinement in later life a burden, and; if not, to what extent was it self-imposed? Many questions related to her isolation have been the subject of many of her biographers. Some have relegated the isolation to suffering in a way that merits sainthood, while others saw it as a form of control and manipulation, especially because it was effective to keep a safe distance between Florence and her mother and sister. And, there are those who regarded the isolation as the normal consequence of a chronic illness that she contracted while in the Crimea. Florence Nightingale’s education most likely contributed greatly to her ability to communicate and work with men as equals.

Called by God

At age 17, Florence claimed to have heard the voice of God calling her, although It was not clear to what purpose. This began a period of self-questioning, and in particular, Generated doubt about her lavish lifestyle and that of the rich in general, especially in contrast To the poor. The closer Florence came to understanding her purpose to fulfill God’s wishes in The service of others, the more she rejected her life of luxury. Florence and her family, especially her mother and sister. At the time, her diary entries showed a definite movement away from life as she knew it for one in the service of God. Florence’s personal notes reflect the Around to understand them but; he never openly sided with Florence because doing so would There was no real support for a Victorian woman of the upper class to resist the role of the woman, very much supported by society, was Florence’s mother and sister were a great force of resistance to her ideas of nursing the sick.Nursing was relegated to women with little means who had loose reputations and a tendency A woman of Florence

War of Crimea

The Crimean war began when Russia took aggressive actions towards the Acquisition of religious territory in Jerusalem. The action provided a threat to Turkey, and England and France, believing the Russians would advance even further, joined forces with Turkey The battles and losses of English soldiers were most likely no greater than those of Previous wars, the difference being William Howard Russell, a newspaper reporter for the Times of London, who told the story of the inadequacies of the medical care the soldiers Received and the abhorrent conditions under which care was provided, resulting in hundreds of Deaths. Russell contrasted what he saw with the French soldiers who were being cared for by The Sisters of Charity, and so, the cry of ‘Where are our sisters of Charity?’ lead to an outrage That escalated quickly within the general public. Knowing of Florence Nightingale’s interests in nursing, Sidney Herbert asked her If she would consider going to the Crimea, an adventure that Nightingale had contemplated. Within a short period of time, Nightingale was on a ship with 38 women headed for the Crimea. The group included women with little experience, some with hospital experience and Catholic And protestant religious sisters with varied experience. The Bracebridges, the couple who she Accompanied on a trip through Egypt, Greece and Italy, were also with her, and her aunt Mai, To whom she was much attached, would join her later. The conditions in the Crimea constituted more of an atrocity than had been Imagined. It was not only care that was lacking but also food, clothing and basic services like Laundering. The soldiers’ wounds were unattended, adhering to their clothing and often Gangrenous, resulting in many amputations. These surgeries were rudimentary and sometimes Performed without anesthesia. Early during the war, the amputations were done in the Presence of the other soldiers because of a lack of space for operating or curtains and partitions To wall-off an area. The make-shift hospital at Scutari was rat infested and the floors were covered in Excrement as there was little attention given to the physical facility. There was a sewer under The building which caused major problems with sanitation. In addition to the dreadful Conditions, many of the soldiers contracted contagious diseases like cholera and typhoid which Resulted in hundreds of deaths, many more than resulted from war injuries. The image of the angelic nurse passing through the halls by lamp light rendering Care was most likely an attempt to calm and convince the citizens of England that their husbands, sons and brothers were being cared for properly. During the early period of the war, Nothing was further from the truth. Improvement came slowly as the kind and level of care Needed came after much struggle for action by Nightingale and others. A major issue that Impeded progress was the conflicting reports the government was receiving about the Conditions of the soldiers and the facilities, reports by medical personnel that indicated things Were fine -in good order. It took a sanitary commission, sent to the Crimea in March of 1855, to Assess and bring to light the reality of the situation. It was not until then that the desperately Needed changes were implemented, resulting in a significant decrease in the number of deaths.The first traces of the honor bestowed upon Florence Nightingale came very Soon after her departure to the Crimea. There were newspaper articles paying homage to the Daughter of a family from the upper classes of society who chose to extend acts of charity to Those afflicted by the ravages of war rather than to be at home with family. Criticism of Florence for taking Catholic religious sisters to the Crimea, a kind of criticism that Questioned her faith. There were accounts of Nightingale from others who actually met her for the First time in the Crimea. Sydney Osbourne was a minister who unofficially went to the Crimea to Assist the chaplains.


Florence Nightingale’s short public life of fame provided her with a highly Florence Nightingale’s long private life, understood mostly through her letters, Leading authorities on health and sanitation, which extended into other areas like the education Like Maria Montessori, Florence Nightingale is among the few whose Work, leading to major health and sanitation improvements, was mostly carried forward under Achievements, even when her actions were questionable, will come to understand the genius of This woman Florence Nightingale.

By Aarohi Lale

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Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

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