Eugenics in The Girl In The Glass.

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Jeffrey Ford’s The Girl In The Glass had a setting in 1932. This social-political setting

was the aftermath of the great Mexican immigration in 1924 when labor was needed and

this demand was conveniently met by the immigrants.

Introduction

Another

historical association was the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). They preached eugenics and they

were Prohibitionists too. Ford wrote his mystery thriller based on the factors of

immigration, Depression, Eugenics, KKK and Prohibitionists. My thesis is based upon

the premise that Ford did not mean to write his novel as a history of eugenics in America

but rather as a futuristic one to warn about the imminent dangers of eugenics.

Eugenics was initially defined as the social philosophy and science to improve the

human hereditary traits by purposeful methods. Ford makes Isobel mention the year,

1924, to frame the reference to the Immigration Act of 1924. (Ford 62). It was a United

States federal law that limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted from any

country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the

United States in 1890. This was more of a goal in eugenics that aimed to exclude non-

white races from the American gene pool. The eugenics doctor Agarias specializes in

selective breeding or in-breeding of twins. Agarias believes that the third generation of

twins in Morgan and Merlin had a unique type of blood. (Ford 232). Ford uses this set of

twins’ pure, inbred bloodline to reiterate the old idea that selective breeding would

preserve the Anglo blood in America. Ford goes one step farther when he makes Agarias

say that; ‘“My theory is that Merlin’s special blood might negate, might cleanse, the

tainted blood of half-breeds, like the Barnes girl. In other words, wash the Jew out of

her.”’ (Ford 233). ...
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