Monday, November 30, 2009

Nurse Romance Stories: Harvey Comics Hits 58 "Shameless"

The full title of this 1952 comic is Private Lives and Loves of Girls in White, in the Harvey Comics Hits series. An entire issue dedicated to "nurses' confessions torn from the pages of real life". The first story in the book, "Shameless", chronicles the successful attempt of a rebellious nurse to capture the heart of the lonesome but dashing young doctor she's sent to the Florida (?) wilds to assist. Nurse Jenny Deane has an over-inflated view of herself, and her boss at the hospital is kind enough to point this out. Of course, at this point she's not able to hear him. The relocation to the 'boonies' is his prescription. The story has some stereotype disconfirming information - on page 2 Nurse Deane's boss refers to a popular misconception that believes all a nurse has to do is hold a patient's hand and look pretty. On the other hand, Jenny, as a nurse, plays into the stereotype of the doctor-husband-hunter, while as a woman she exhibits the stereotypical tendency to want to mold and manipulate the man she captures to enhance her own vision of their place in society.

Nurse Jenny Deane is such a schemer that she deliberately sabotages the doctor's chances of passing an upcoming inspection by his superiors, hoping that he'll be forced to leave the 'jungle' and return to the city. There she can help set him up to operate in high society, although to her credit she also believes this to be in his best career interests as well as the way forward for herself. From a professional point of view, her actions are horrendous, putting the local community at risk by allowing the medical supplies to be ruined.

Doctor Temple is disgusted with Jenny's antics when he finds out how she has jeopardized the unit to suit her own plans. Then the hurricane hits and Nurse Deane starts to realize how important the facility is for the care of the local people. Jenny has a timely epiphany, rallies to the cause, and in the end wins the hearts of the locals, as well as recovering the affections of her doctor sweetheart.

Exhausted but blissfully happy, she ends the tale in her future husband's arms, ready to battle it out in the wilds of Florida alongside her doctor, finally at rest in her designated womanly role. Any illusion of power she had during the story was exactly that, and she achieves happiness by accepting her subordinate position. Besides the suggestion that she's a doctor-hunting nurse, she's also succumbed to the self-sacrificing angel stereotype as well, although instead of having to sacrifice love, it's yuppie life in the city that she's let go of, so as things go for nurses she's well off in the romance department.

1 comment:

  1. *Bravo !*
    Harvey ***and*** nurses, 1950s !
    Gets no better !
    In the words of Oliver T., "More, please !"