About Me

My photo
Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Bad science makes bad law

"Three generations of imbeciles is enough."
--Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the majority opinion of Buck v. Bell. May 2, 1927

Paula Paul has written a horror story, only this one actually took place in 1926. The Mind of a Deviant Woman is about  Carrie Buck who under a newly crafted law was forcibly sterilized for being feebleminded. The novel is based on a real woman, but Ms. Paul has created a living breathing human being by fictional means. Carrie Buck is given to a family and adopted, but treated as a servant. It might have been a hard luck story set in a hard time for everyone who lived in such a time as much of the book is devoted to Carrie growing up from her point of view.
The science of the day considers those less fortunate to deviate from the norms of society. (Using the terminology of the day) Through heredity they believe criminals, prostitutes, epileptics, and morons perpetuated themselves through reproduction. Many conclude that the sensible answer is sterilization.
Louisa Van Patten wrote a scholarly article that was published in a scientific journal while working on her masters. It was entitled The Mind of a Deviant Woman. While researching to expand her research she becomes involved with the case of Carrie Buck, whose mother produced three children and was unable to properly take care of them. Her mother was sent to The Colony, an institution for epileptics, feebleminded and morons. Carrie became pregnant and the Dobbs family felt this shamed their family and had her declared feebleminded. Then the all too true horror begins.
I commend Paula Paul for writing such a compelling story and making the reader feel the pain of a scared little girl who was so horribly treated by all those around her.


Berthold Gambrel said...

Wow; this sounds like a good story. Might be too disturbing for my taste, but I may give it a try. Thanks for reviewing it.

P M Prescott said...

It is well written and keep your attention the whole time.