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.
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). ...