Boundaries and the working woman in Zola's L'Assommoir, Nana and Au Bonheur des dames
Masters, Karen Beth
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For the working woman in nineteenth-century Paris, it is essential to establish clear boundaries between the self and others as well as between work space and home. In order to avoid repeating conflicts witnessed during childhood, she must develop a personal identity separate from previous generations of her family. It is also necessary to create a division of space between the work place and the home. Failure to create boundaries leaves the woman vulnerable to criticism of the Other, the collective, hostile observer, as well as corrupt men, who seek to exploit the woman’s emotional vulnerability.