Treatment Of Women In The Medical Field — страница 2

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there is no possibility of Rachel being pregnant, instantly puts his patient at risk for being misdiagnosed and limits the boundaries of the patient-doctor relationship. Thus, in both novels the main characters are sentenced to confining their fears to themselves. In both novels, the medical institutions demonstrate behavior which suggests they view women as being inferior to men. In The Bell Jar when Esther goes with Buddy Willard to the hospital to view the birth of a baby, a third year medical student says to Esther, ” You oughtn’t see this, you’ll never want to have a baby if you do. They oughtn’t let women watch. It’ll be the end of the human race” (Plath 71) This medical student is implying that women could not handle viewing the birth of a baby even though most

women are capable of giving birth. In other words, women are mentally weaker than men and are thought to be incapable of handling such a sight- even though throughout the centuries mid-wives have successfully been delivering babies and the human race still continues to grow and exist. Moreover, the head delivering Doctor says to Mrs. Tomilillo, ” push down, Mrs. Tomilillo, push down, that’s a good girl,…”(Plath 72). Referring to Mrs. Tomilillo as a good girl signifies the doctor’s patronizing attitude towards women. This same attitude is allotted to Rachel, during her stay in the hospital while she is having an operation completed. In A Jest of God, Rachel narrates to the reader her feelings after her operation, ” They said I was a CO-operative patient, to lie so

still. How did they know? They thought I was worried about having cancer.” (Lawrence 223) Rachel carried her fear of being pregnant through the entire duration of her stay in the hospital without any doctor realizing her true concern. Rachel’s lack of self-esteem, due to her inferiority to men, leads her to not question Dr. Raven’s diagnosis, or even seek a second opinion prior to the operation. Instead she allows the doctors to perform surgery when she thinks perhaps she may be pregnant, thus not having the suspected tumor at all. All these thoughts and fears that Rachel brings forth, portray the attitudes that exist within society. Though all Rachel’s thoughts are a work of Margaret Lawrence’s mind, they still do exist reality. The leading feminist, Betty Friedan

quotes one women’s depression and the doctor’s response to it in her prized book, The Feminine Mystique; ” ‘A tired feeling…I get so angry with the children it scares me. I feel like crying without reason.’ ( A Cleveland doctor called it ‘the housewife’s syndrome’).” The doctor in this case is not taking the women’s problem seriously, for he just brushing it off as, “the housewife’s syndrome”, therefore, taking away the possibility that it could be a real problem, that needs a real cause of action. Thus, consequently once again, a women is placed in danger due to a lack of seriousness on a doctor’s part. The medical profession’s failure to listen to female patients in The Bell Jar and in A Jest of God is another factor that demonstrates women are

not being treated as individuals deserving respect. In A Jest of God when Rachel gets the courage to tell Dr. Raven that she thinks that she may be pregnant, he interrupts her speech, assuming that he already knows what she is about to say, ” Look, before you examine me, I wanted to say- It’s all right, Rachel. What is it? Don’t be nervous, my dear. This is nothing (Lawrence 219). When he reminds Rachel that she has had an internal examination before she comments, ” I don’t mind- it isn’t that”; yet, instead of asking Rachel what her fears are, Dr. Raven simply reminds her to “just relax”, consequently ignoring the present anxiety of his patient and thus forgoing perhaps what could be valuable information (Lawrence 219). This disregard for Rachel is seen again

by the medical profession during her post-operative time in the hospital. During the morning rounds the surgeon comments to her, ” You are out of danger “. She responds by saying, ” How could I be-I don’t feel dead yet” and also noting to herself, ” And he looked at me for the merest flick of an instant, only curiosity, and then he passed on to another bed.” (Lawrence 225) The surgeon, as with Dr. Raven, fails once again to give credibility to Rachel because she is a female. Similarly, in The Bell Jar the medical profession is depicted as not listening to Esther during one of her stays in the hospital. On one occasion, the medical students ask Esther how she is feeling this morning. Esther responds, ” I feel lousy”…”I can’t sleep” (Plath 216) She