Similarities Between The Magdalen Asylums

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Magdalen asylums Introduction . This essay is going to compare and contrast the representation of Magdalen asylums in the film The Magdalen Sisters (Mullans 2002) to the historical reality of life in the Magdalen asylums of the 19th century. This essay will demonstrate four similarities and/or differences between the Magdalen asylums of the 19th century and their representation in The Magdalen Sisters (Mullans 2002). These similarities and/or differences will relate to either the day to day routines in the asylums or the functions that the asylums performed for Irish Society. In this essay you will see there is a general understanding of the topic as both the 19th and 20th century will be discussed. The research on the 19th century will be…show more content…
The asylums would not examine the family situation in the weeks before the arrival of the inmates, but a lot of the women who entered the asylums were unmarried mothers, victims of sexual abuse, rape or incest (Smith 2007). In the 19th century the inmates were the ones that decided if they stayed, they were allowed leave at any time (Luddy 1995). Magdalen asylums became a last resort as the 19th century ended (Smith 2007). Before 1900 around forty percent of the women that entered the institutions, did it on their own accord and were not sent there by others (Smith 2007). A lot of women were left with the option of the workhouse or else the magdalen asylum so it was a choice for those who entered the asylum (Smith 2007). There were also only a small few attempts of escape from the asylums in the 19th century (Luddy 1995). This is different from the 20th century, in the film the Magdalen sisters where the asylums seemed to be more prisonlike (Mullen 2002). The women were not allowed to leave if they wished to do so (Mullen 2002). Some women were also sent to the magdalen asylums by the guards, this often happened to women who were after committing certain crimes, it was instead of going to prison (Smith…show more content…
The inmates in the institution all had to wear uniforms that were very dull and boring, these wear worn in all the magdalen asylums across the country (Smith 2007). This rule was very much followed by all members of the institutions (Smith 2007). The rules in terms of the "classes" were made in the second quarter of the 19th century (Smith 2007). Compared to places like prisons, workhouses and lunatic asylums, these rules were not that bad (Smith 2007). Many of the rules in the Magdalen asylums were necessary and were practical (Smith 2007). The silence rule was a rule that was not very necessary (Smith 2007). This was a very big rule in the asylums and it was a big part of the inmates lives in the institutions (Smith 2007). This rule was in use for all of the 19th century and the majority of the 20th century (Smith 2007). The reason there was a silence rule was to make sure that there was quick discipline and order and also to help control the women better (Smith 2007). An example of the silence rule would be when the inmates time for recreation was finished, the sign for silence would be given and the mistress who would also be obeying the silence rule, would assume a serious and authoritative look to let everyone know that she is decided and watchful (Smith 2007). If the inmates did not follow rules they would be punished by getting their head shaved
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