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Shaw's SettingsGardens and Libraries$
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Tony Jason Stafford

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044989

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044989.001.0001

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Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Mrs. Warren’s Profession

The Walled Gardens

(p.23) 2 Mrs. Warren’s Profession
Shaw's Settings

Tony Jason Stafford

R. F. Dietrich

University Press of Florida

Shaw is not concerned with the personal issue of prostitution for Kitty Warren but seeks to treat the pervasive presence of hypocrisy in all of society and to expose society’s habit of pretending one thing in order to hide something else; the garden becomes a primary instrument in helping him achieve this purpose. Three of the four acts are located in a garden, or eventually involve the garden, and even the fourth one gives us a reminder of the garden from which Vivi has escaped. The garden functions in the play as a superficially, and ironically, pleasant place, under a cloudless sky, for social intercourse, which really means maintaining a respectable surface on everything, and, even though it is surrounded by an entrapping fence, it allows a view of freedom beyond. Vivie, repulsed by society’s rules, as presented in the gardens, is the only one who can grasp for this freedom and flees from this garden to the city where, she hopes, honesty, hard work, and ability have a better chance to succeed.

Keywords:   Hypocrisy, Fence, Gate, Commons, Freedom, Reconciliation, Law offices, Prostitution, Respectability, Conventional

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