Question say over society using science. This added to

Question #1

            The use of racialized language and “othering” is
prevalent in all three of our novels that we have read this semester.
Eugenicists of and their eugenic discourse of this particular time when these
novels were written, had
an influential say over society using science. This added to the use of these
specific discourse towards individuals and groups of people displayed within
our texts.

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Examples of racial “othering” can be seen in both Sons and
Lovers by D. H. Lawrence and The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe
Hall. Racialized language directed towards African Americans is present where
this specific group of individuals is “othered” by the characters around them.
In The Well of Loneliness, Lincoln and Henry Jones are two African
American brothers who become racialized and othered. The theory of the “facial
angle” was the concept of comparing races to that of animals by measuring the
angle of the forehead to the chin (Winston). This type of eugenic concept was
first introduced by Pieter Camper and became of popular use in European
society. European races were seen as ‘further civilized,’ which Camper would
call “Orthognathous.” This group of individuals were those who had
non-projecting jaws and a straight/vertical facial angle. Those who had
projecting jaws or chins were labeled as “Prognathous” and these groups of
individuals were most often linked to being less evolved and primitive compared
to those who did not have these traits. These labels that came forth in science
were a way to “read people’s characters according to the appearance of the
face/shape of their face” (Winston) and became a type of racism brought on by
science. The African American race was often expressed as closer to that of
animals and savages.

We see this language in The Well when going back to the
scene with Lincoln and Henry. While performing for the group in the studio, the
narrator compares both Lincoln and Henry to “the animal” stating, “His eyes had
the patient, questioning expression common to the eye of most animals and to
those off all slowly evolving races” (362). Introducing Lincoln in this manner
right away makes him different to the others in the room. This “othering” also
occurs with Henry. He is described as, “A crude animal Henry could be at times,
with a taste for liquor and a lust for women- just a primitive force rendered
dangerous by drink, rendered offensive by civilization” (363).  The
functions that these references/concepts service in this particular text may
have been to show that even though all the Europeans within the room were
‘queer’/homosexuals, it was better to be white and ‘queer’ rather than someone
like Henry who was referenced as a ‘crude animal’ who has a continuing ‘lust
for women.’ Havelock Ellis in his article “Studies in the Psychology of Sex,
vol III: Analysis of the Sexual Impulse” discusses the concept of courtship
stating, “this tendency has always to be held in check, it is of essence of
courtship that the male should win the female, she can only be won by the
promise of pleasure… It (courtship) is so among animals greatly; it is so in man
among savages” (110). The way which Henry’s lust of women is communicated in
the text could be seen in the same way that of how Ellis states that man only
displays this tendency when they are of “savage.” Henry in this novel is then
an animal who is consistently on the lookout for a woman.  Evidence of
Lincoln being a heterosexual in the text is minimal, but it is important to
state that also, Hall may have been communicating to readers that there may be
hierarchy between groups of “sexual inverts,” specifically in this scene where
race in centered. It is more acceptable to be a ‘queer’ white individual than
to be either a heterosexual African American ‘savage’ or a questionable ‘queer’
African American.  

In Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence, racialized language
directed towards the “facial angle” is seen when Miriam and Paul go see the
“Coon” show. While at this show, it is stated that, “It was queer to see Miriam
singing Coon songs. She had a straight chin, that went in a perpendicular line
from the lower lip to the turn.” (215). Paul is comparing Mariam’s facial
structure to that of African Americans. The use of the “facial angle” eugenics
is clear. Paul felt uncomfortable seeing her sing these specific songs because
she has the structure of the highly developed and civilized race and should not
be singing these songs. Readers do not get much information about the actual
show that occurs, but it is interesting to see this comparison in this moment
because Coon shows could be argued to be an example of aesthetic primitivism.
Caucasians in these shows are essentially mocking (which is a defining point of
primitivism) those of African American decent, dressing up as them and putting
on makeup to generally take their culture out of context to enhance their
disapproval of this group. Sexologists like Iwan Bloch also added to this
stigma towards this group of individuals. In his article, “The Sexual Life of
Our Time” he states while talking about evolutionary differences between races
that, “the great size of the brain gives rise to far greater development of the
skull than we find in foetus of any other mammal… In lower races of man, it is
precisely this plate-like expansion of the iliac fossae which is so much less
developed in the case of civilized races” (32). Ideas similarly to these that
were being introduced within society makes it clear why ideas of the “facial
angle,” “Coons, “and “savage” are prevalent in both of these texts.
   

 

 

Question #4

Dear Mary,

I was just thinking
while working at Jordan’s today, what it means to be a woman in the working
class in this particular age. I am glad that I can work at this place (Jordan’s)
as compared to my mothers. That day when Paul found me working from home I
couldn’t stand it. I did not want to be found in those circumstances (310). Why
must it come to the conclusion that a woman gets put in the circumstances to be
much embarrassed and “have to bend our heads in shame of humility”
(302)? It is not fair or right to become stranded in these kinds of situations,
like life has no use for a woman like me. It is no wonder I can come off as
bitter (304), I would rather not have to have a job such as jennying, but what
can a woman do? “Isn’t all woman’s work sweated? More or less so, it’s just
an additional trick that men have played against us. Women have to force
ourselves into the labor market these days” (303). No matter how hard I try
to be one with my work, everyone around me can tell that I scorn my end product
no matter how perfect it is. I’m just not comfortable with the kind of work
that I have to take. “There is so little likelihood of my ever being given a
choice about what kind of work that I can choose that I never really think of
anything I would prefer in Jordan’s. All work is work, so what’s the point of
putting much consideration in (307)? I’m curious Mary, what is your input
on this situation?

Best regards,

Clara Dawes  

 

 Dearest Clara,

I do appreciate you
sharing your opinion with me. However, my view on your specific work is a
little different from yours. I would have loved to jenny and stich in an
environment such as Jordan’s. People here in the front line as a second ambulance
driver see me as a young figure who may not able to stick to my work, but I
definitely try my best (278). I often times do feel out of place, I do not know
what I would become without Stephen by my side. A lot of the time I need to be
close to that of others to remain calm and most of the time Stephen becomes
annoyed at me (281). I’m was always nervous when we got called for a job of
driving, especially when I had to be the driver, but I become firmly set and we
got the job done (283). “I did not know much about life when this war broke
out. I was only eighteen. I have an ardent, courageous, impulsive nature and
this war was a hope for me to become independent, in which I have met with no
opposition (285). I’m thankful that I had this opportunity in the war, I
just wish I may have had a situation similarly to yours. I was lost in thought
most of the time.

Mary

 

Dear Mary,

You mention Stephen and
I know you two were romantically involved, but what is your view on
heterosexual desire and marriage? I’m torn on this subject. I want to become
and be independent for myself. Men can be daft, especially when it comes to a
subject like marriage. They don’t understand that one must be faithful to one
another. “When I married Baxter I thought I loved him more or less. I didn’t
think much about love or marriage. All that seemed to matter was that he wanted
me, and I was very prudish then” (317).  I wish I would have thought
about what marriage actually meant, but I had seemed to be asleep most of my
life (317). “Marriage is a question of living, with Baxter I was only half
alive and the rest was dormant” (361). A woman needs someone to love them and
appreciate them as Paul did with me that night at my mothers. The way that he
appreciated my beauty healed my pride, and made me feel proud again in my
nakedness, (383) but I had to refuse him that night. As soon as I did become
physical with Paul, I realized that he only wanted me for physical attraction.
I chose to ask Baxter if he wanted me back in marriage because I then
understood more about men and what they could or would do. I was less afraid
and surer of myself (450).

 

Dear Clara,

The privilege of
marriage must be a wonderful feeling. I was never aware of the feeling until
Martian came to Paris. When Stephen went to Morton and left me alone, I went
into her study and discovered a letter from her mother. It was at this
moment where I first realized the world’s tentative onslaught upon us (338).
You and Baxter or even you and Paul would never had to have the kind of out
casting that Stephen and I suffered. I loved Stephen more than anything and I
wished for us to be together forever. As life went on, especially after the
deaths of our beloved friends Barbara and Jamie (their deaths were of great
shock to me) I experienced a new emotion of fear- fear for that of mine and
Stephens love. Was this to come of us? Such despair, such utter despair it was
and I could not bear it (403-404). When I spent time with Martin Hallam I
began to become happy again (420). I had re-established my pride and
self-respect. I was able to contemplate the world without the sense of
isolation (420). After having a taste of what heterosexual privilege was, I
became bitter and resentful. I was my own weakness against the world and it was
crushing me (423). It was this feeling that inevitably made me run to Martian
when I discovered that Stephen was Valerie Seymour’s lover (435). Stephen was
the one force keeping me from loving Martian, and she in the end is what made
me gain the privilege of marriage.

All the Best,

Mary

 

Dear Mary,

One of the first reasons
why I left both Baxter and Paul was based on their constant need for control
and sex. Baxter was dirty and degrading towards me at least. “He wanted to
bully me, because he hasn’t got me. And then I felt as if I wanted to run… he
seemed as if he couldn’t get at me, really. And then he got brutal-he was
brutal! It was his unfaithfulness that made ultimately made me leave him of
course” (318). I could not really get the satisfaction that I needed from
Paul because he could not love me in the same way that he loved his mother.
Towards the end of our relations after I saw Baxter again after the years, I
noticed that, “There was nothing stable about Paul and my husband had more
manly dignity. Paul was never going to make ground for any woman to stand on… I
realized that Paul was withdrawing from me, leaving the option to stay with my
husband and it angered me. Although I knew my anger was silly because at the
bottom of my heart in this moment I wished to be giving back and I was”
(450-451). The other day I discovered a booklet called Married Love written
in a book by a woman called Stopes. In it she stated a few key aspects about
marriage that I tend to agree and relate with, “It
has become a tradition of our social life that the ignorance of woman about her
own body and that of her future husband is a flower-like innocence… When she
discovers the true nature of his body, and learns the part she has to play as a
wife, she may refuse utterly to agree to her husband’s wishes” (22). When
reading this, I could not help in thinking about Baxter and when we were first
married. He would become brutal as I mentioned, and he had to become dominant
over me. I hope that now since being with Paul, I know I have learned a bit
more about myself and it will help Baxter and I down the road of our second
attempt of our marriage. Stopes also mentions in her work a quote from Forel
that “Men and women need to explain their sexual feelings to avoid deception,”
(53) and I couldn’t agree more. I will try and use some of these methods and
hope for the best going forward with Baxter.

Wishing
you well,

Clara
Dawes