D.G. Rossetti’s “Jenny” describes the sympathy and love a man feels for a “fallen” woman in society. He speaks of a prostitute whom is looked upon as a degraded figure by the rest of the world, but is truly misunderstood. The man sees decency and heart within the woman but is torn between his emotions and his head. As a member of the Victorian society he was taught to looked down upon this woman and believe her to be fallen, though he cannot see past her beauty. The man speaks of her beautiful blue eyes and golden hair and the mesmerizing effect they have on his beliefs. Interacting with this beautiful woman in her own environment makes him see a different side. He sympathizes with the struggles she must face as an unacceptable member of the Victorian society. He believes she is better than the name she has been given and the things she has done. 

In Rossetti’s paintings he depicts a “fallen” woman who is quite easily distinguished as a prostitute. The man in the painting is pulling her away from this degraded life she has come to live. He believes that he can bring her back to her old ways and back to morality. The woman however believes she is trapped in her ways with no chance for escaping. Much like the calf depicted in the back of the painting the woman is helpless and lost. They are both struggling in the traps they have been put in. The “fallen” woman believes she cannot change and is stuck with the never-ending desperation of freedom from her sins. 


Reed Keefe. “D.G. Rossetti’s ‘Jenny’: Eschewing Thinking for Feeling.” 06, English/History of Art 15. Brown University, 2004. Sept. 27, 2012.