“the Murder of Helen Jewett”

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rcas Doyen, more popularly known as Helen Jewett, is at the centre of the book “The Murder of Helen Jewett” written by Patricia Cline Cohen in 1999. Doyen or Jewett as she is popularly known was born in Temple, Maine on October 18 1883 to a working class family. Her mother died while she was still a child and her father, who was an alcoholic, followed soon. Orphaned at an early age, she was adopted by a local judge, Chief Justice Nathan Weston and his family who provided her with a good education (Cohen, 23). She additionally worked as a servant in the judge’s home and it is here that she grew into a young woman renowned for her beauty. She is said to have developed sexual assertiveness at this point and was rumoured to be involved with a Banker in an affair that became scandalous. Upon attaining 18 years of age, the girl moved out of the judge’s home and began working as a prostitute in Portland, Maine, under an assumed name, as was the practice at the time. Her trade took her to Boston, and then finally to New York where she met her death (Cohen, 37). Her murder brought to the fore various aspects of people’s lifestyles that may have contribute to the nature of life that Jewett led besides other women and men. Upon the discovery of her murder and the attempted arson on her body, investigators focused on her long time client and close associate, Richard P. Robinson who used the name Frank Rivers when visiting prostitutes such as Jewett.

During the times when Jewett lived, the 19th century, women were expected to practice a lot of restraint during their lives yet their living conditions and the opportunities that were available to them were very limited compared to their men folk. Women were expected to be pious, which meant that were expected to be deeply spiritual and those women that actually managed were regarded well and accorded the honour of having a position in a church or in a charitable organization (Cohen, 78). It was believed that the nature of...
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