You cannot understand because you are not a woman. You are not a woman born to be a farmer’s wife but educated to be something better. You were not born a woman with a love of beauty, intelligence, learning, but who’s position in the world forbids her to share that love with another. You are not the daughter of a bankrupt. You have not spent your life in penury. You are not condemned. You are not an outcast. I gave myself to the French Lieutenant so that I should never be the same again, so that I should be seen for the outcast I am. I knew it was ordained that I could never marry an equal. So I married shame. It is my shame that has kept me alive, my knowing that I am truly not like other women. I shall never, like them, have children, a husband, the pleasures of a home. Sometimes I pity them. I have a freedom they cannot know. No insult, no blame can touch me. I have myself gone beyond the pale. I am nothing. I am hardly human anymore. I am the French Lieutenant’ s Whore.
The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Sarah Woodruff