Women's Brains By Stephen Jay Gould Analysis

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“Women’s Brains” by Stephen Jay Gould (p. 349)  Published in 1980 in Natural History  Gould was a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist who taught geology and zoology at Harvard University.  Gould is writing for a general audience. How do we know? He uses straightforward vocabulary, defines technical terms (like craniometry) and explains scientific methods in a clear and detailed step-by-step manner.  Writer’s purpose is more social criticism than scientific study. Actually he has two arguments – he is against the scientific research itself, and also about the conclusions drawn from that research.  Seeks to examine the way we think about gender – where some of our ideas come from.  First person approach takes us into this scientist’s thinking as he critiques the evidence and conclusions of his colleagues from a century ago. Summary of Argument 1. Opening quote from Middlemarch by George Eliot appeals to pathos with its lyrical and philosophical tone “lament[ing] the unfulfilled lives of talented women” (349). 2. Connects Eliot with study of anthropometry (measurement of human body), popular at the time she wrote, that sought to prove the inferiority of women. 3. Points out that though it’s not “fashionable” today, anthropometry was used during much of the 1800s to make…show more content…
For almost all of the Broca quotes, Gould chooses them to show his readers how and why Broca is completely ridiculous in his assumptions. The quotes from Eliot are used less for the purpose of proving that she’s wrong, but rather to accentuate Gould’s point regarding Broca’s conclusions and research, as well as Gould’s other ideas. It seems that Gould means for us to react to these quotes in a way that complements Goulds’ thoughts prior to and following the quote. For example, arguably all of the quotes from Broca were meant for us to react in shock and surprise at his

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