Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

The Complexity of Gender Rebellion, Book Review Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1029

Book Review

The worlds of academic research and literary creativity are characterised by different emphases. Academic research is aimed at finding facts and their systematic analysis, while literary works are aimed at creating a certain fiction world to make the audience think about certain issues of the real life. On the occasions when academic research is framed in a literary narrative, a completely different effect is achieved. The audience becomes more engaged with complex academic research by reading it as a historical novel. Such is the case of Susan Branson’s book “Dangerous to Know: Women, Crime, and Notoriety in the Early Republic.” The aim of this paper is to conduct a review of this book and analyse it in terms of American Pluralism.

The story is centred on lives of two women in 19th-century colonial Philadelphia. The first story is of Ann Carson, who was forced to marry a much older navy officer when she was fifteen. Then her married life was characterised by husband’s negligence and constant absence in the sea. When her husband was considered to be dead, she decided to provide for herself and her children by opening a china shop. Soon she became involved with Richard Smith. When her husband came back, Ann found herself in a dubious situation. Smith killed her husband and was executed for it. Ann tried to save him getting involved in a crime, but failed. At this point if her life, she met Mary Clarke, who rebelled against the socially-constructed norms in her own way. She was a single mother who published, edited and wrote articles for the only female magazine of the time “Intellectual Regale” or “Ladies Tea Tray”. Two women begin to work together on Ann Carson’s memoirs and many other literary publications, while they are also being involved in the criminal world of their time.

The primary argument of Branson in this book is that even under the conditions of the strong socially-constructed gender and class roles, women managed to challenge existing status quo and succeed in their own way. In this regard, Branson writes: “both women deliberately challenged gender conventions because they could not afford to abide by them, both women devised ways to do what they wanted despite social norms” (Branson xi). The author does not create a world of fiction where women could be successful irrespective of prescribed gender and class roles; she tells the history of how these two women indeed managed to challenge the society contemporary to them, but she tells it in literary manner.

In this regard, the book combines both strengths of literary and academic worlds: accessibility for understanding and historical accuracy. From the academic perspective, the strength of the book is that it is based on the secondary sources of that time: “The History of the Celebrated Mrs. Ann Carson” (1822) and “The Memoirs of the Celebrated and Beautiful Mrs. Ann Carson” (1838). The author treats both sources with an academic caution. She uses them as a reflection of the two women’s intentions of manipulating their audience and sending the message favourable for their purposes. Thus, Branson creates an analytical narrative in the historical context.

Placing the author’s central thesis of female rebellion against the system into the context of the American pluralism, there are various themes that she touches in her book; Frist of all, the primary theme is the prevalence of socially-constructed norms of gender and class division in the 19th century American society (Bevir 54). The author shows that the existing gender and class division was dysfunctional, since women without provider for them and their children were practically doomed to perish only to preserve a social approval (Nanda 67). Branson demonstrates that the two women rebelled against society, not because of their free spirits, but because they wanted to survive, and they were strong enough to do so. In this regard, a certain substitution of gender roles was demonstrated: Ann managed to survive and provide for her children, while her husband irrespective of his socially more superior gender was incapable of anything. In other words, this substitution of gender roles argues in favour of the individuality of human beings and equality of genders as a cornerstone of pluralism and democracy (Bevir 63).

On the other hand, in the terms of class and race, irrespective of their rebellion in terms of gender roles, the two women demonstrate strong class and race consciousness. This is demonstrated through their behaviours and attitudes. For instance, being from the middle class, she had never apologised for working, while Ann had often to apologise for it, whether she liked it or not (Nanda 112). Both women had a strong sense of their racial superiority and did not think in terms of racial equality. This is best demonstrated by Ann’s perception of her inmates from prison: “Carson’s low opinion of her fellow inmates was the fact that a large number of them were black” (Branson 81). In terms of pluralist discourse, it can be argued that although these women demonstrated gender rebellion against social perception, they still held strong sense of class and racial belonging, and this also meant that the development of pluralism in the American society still had a long way to go (Bevir 36).

Overall, from all mentioned above, it can be concluded that the book is a great source for exploring the complexity of gender and class roles in the American society at the beginning of the 19th century. Through the systematic analysis of the historical sources of the time and literary narrative of the book, the author managed to make history more accessible to the readers. Personally, I really enjoyed the book. It is easy to read, yet it has diverse details and interpretations of how individuals could challenge the existing order and survive. It also demonstrates how slowly pluralism was developing in each aspect of life and how people who fought for their own rights could neglect the rights of the others.

Works Cited

Bevir, M. Modern Pluralism: Anglo-American Debates Since 1880. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2010. Print.

Branson, S. Dangerous to Know: Women, Crime, and Notoriety in the Early Republic.

Philadelphia, PA: Pennsylvania University Press. 2008. Print.

Nanda, S. Gender Diversity: Cross-cultural Variations. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. 2014. Print.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Book Review Samples & Examples

“A Metrical Template Account of Children’s Weak Syllable Omissions From Multisyllabic Words” by Louann Gerken, Book Review Example

“A metrical template account of children’s weak syllable omissions from multisyllabic words” by Louann Gerken discusses the phenomenon of children’s often leaving out weakly stressed [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1055

Book Review

Merck in Latin America, Book Review Example

The case presented in Merck in Latin America is the story of Grey Warner’s contribution to raising the profitability of a pharmaceutical company in the [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1405

Book Review

Marketing to Millennials: How to Capture Gen Y Consumers, Book Review Example

Chapter 1 Question1: Discuss how integrated marketing communications differs from traditional advertising and promotion. What are some of the reasons more marketers are taking an [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1687

Book Review

The Battle for the Beginning, Book Review Example

John MacArthur is a Pastor, teacher and a writer.  He graduated from Talbot Theological Seminar in 1969, and he began his ministry at Grace Community [...]

Pages: 9

Words: 2605

Book Review

Mountains Beyond Mountains, Book Review Example

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracey Kidder provides a fascinating account of the [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 627

Book Review

Reading and Writing by I.S. P. Nation, Book Review Example

Introduction Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing by I.S. P. Nation is a guide intended to provide teachers and educators with strategies to use when work [...]

Pages: 12

Words: 3374

Book Review

“A Metrical Template Account of Children’s Weak Syllable Omissions From Multisyllabic Words” by Louann Gerken, Book Review Example

“A metrical template account of children’s weak syllable omissions from multisyllabic words” by Louann Gerken discusses the phenomenon of children’s often leaving out weakly stressed [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1055

Book Review

Merck in Latin America, Book Review Example

The case presented in Merck in Latin America is the story of Grey Warner’s contribution to raising the profitability of a pharmaceutical company in the [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1405

Book Review

Marketing to Millennials: How to Capture Gen Y Consumers, Book Review Example

Chapter 1 Question1: Discuss how integrated marketing communications differs from traditional advertising and promotion. What are some of the reasons more marketers are taking an [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1687

Book Review

The Battle for the Beginning, Book Review Example

John MacArthur is a Pastor, teacher and a writer.  He graduated from Talbot Theological Seminar in 1969, and he began his ministry at Grace Community [...]

Pages: 9

Words: 2605

Book Review

Mountains Beyond Mountains, Book Review Example

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracey Kidder provides a fascinating account of the [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 627

Book Review

Reading and Writing by I.S. P. Nation, Book Review Example

Introduction Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing by I.S. P. Nation is a guide intended to provide teachers and educators with strategies to use when work [...]

Pages: 12

Words: 3374

Book Review

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!