Study Guide

The Gene - "Three Generations of Imbeciles Is Enough" (Part One) Summary & Analysis

Siddhartha Mukherjee
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Summary

In the spring of 1920, Emma Buck was brought to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. A single mother to her daughter Carrie, Buck had been living in poverty and was arrested for either vagrancy or prostitution. After a "cursory mental examination" she was "packed off to the colony" (78). At the time, classifications of mental illness were not particularly scientific and were often used to marginalize, not just people with disabilities, but also people "whose behavior, desires, choices, or appearance fell outside the accepted norm" (79). Women like Emma who were deemed "feebleminded" were confined in colonies to ensure they did not have more children and "contaminate the population with further morons or idiots" (79).

In foster care, Emma's daughter Carrie was raped and became pregnant, which prompted her foster parents to cast her as an "imbecile" like...

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This section contains 630 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Gene Study Guide
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