Unlike the heroines of Monsieur Vénus and La Marquise de Sade, Eliante Donalger, the heroine of La Jongleuse (1990), is a widow at the beginning of the text. Eliante Donalger is a symbol of the sexual anarchy that was associated with a woman living outside the traditional patriarchal household. With theories on female hysteria emerging towards the end of the nineteenth century, single women in particular (widows being included in this category) were believed to be particularly at risk of developing hysterical tendencies. By portraying her heroine as a widow from the beginning of the text, Rachilde again raises questions pertaining to the fin-de-siècle male fear that single women were dangerous and potentially destructive creatures; in the case of La Jongleuse, this female potential is shown from the start of the novel.