Lytton Stracheys View of Florence Nightingale

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Through full, rich diction and symbolic imagery, Lytton Strachey conveys to the reader a side of a woman that most people don't see. What Strachey saw in Florence Nightingale was not just the image of a self sacrificing British nurse history has painted for us. Lytton Strachey actually attacks Nightingale. He portrays a somewhat more neurotic character than what others perceived and focuses on the speculation and intrigue which arose around her. Strachey successfully conveys his eminent views of Florence Nightingale by using various literary techniques. Because of its intense diction and flowing syntax, the passage unveils the struggles Florence survived in order to reach her goal in becoming a nurse and helping others in medical need. In this biased ‘all-knowing' view of Nightingale's life, Strachey utilizes figurative diction, demonic imagery paired with a sarcastic tone, and syntax to convey his thoughts on everyone's misconception of Nightingale. Strachey does not sanctify Nightingale but exercises a courtly respect for her. He still shows admiration for how she overcame the obstacles she faced in becoming a nurse.

In the beginning of the passage Strachey displays a clear respect for Nightingale's tenacious ability to follow her dream. Yet not long after, Strachey expresses a cynical tone towards Nightingales accomplishments. The introduction begins with an elaborate description of the well-known portrait of Nightingale. Then, Lytton Strachey suddenly shifts to heart-wrenching questions pouring from her very soul. This change in speaker also unexpectedly shifts the tone to one of disbelief. Coming back to the tone at the beginning of the passage, Strachey once again describes Florence as an powerful girl, overcoming all odds and succeeding at what she wanted most - to be a nurse: "...a weaker spirit would have been overwhelmed...but this...young woman held firm." His respect obvious admiration for Nightingale, Lytton presents a tone of awe and respect using...
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