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Sarah Rosetta Wakeman Analysis

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An Uncommon Solider
A common mistake individuals make is that they describe sex and gender as the one in the same. Sex is assigned at birth and is based on a person’s genital appearance. Gender is a social construction; it reflects a culture meaning associated with a performance of femininity or masculinity. Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was born with the sex of female but as she grew older she would be seen associate with the gender of male. Wakeman was a simple farm girl from central New York and was the oldest of seven children. She left home and began dressing as a man and later joined the service into the 153rd regiment for the Union. She used the alias’ Private Lyons Wakeman and Edwin R. Wakeman. Wakeman ability to pass as a man in the Civil
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She was strong and willing to do manual labor. This seemed to be a strain on the family dynamic. The strain on the family can be shown in some of Wakemen’s letters. In one letter home Wakemen write, “I want you should forgive me of everything that I ever done, and I will forgive you all the same” (21) Her abnormal attributes for a woman of her time caused some kind of rift in her family. With her father always needing her help and her mothers want for her to perform womanly tasks Wakeman was pulled in different gender directions. In addition they must have been a tremendous amount of sibling rivalry. In another letter Wakeman writes to her sister Lois,“I want you to write me as soon as you can. I forgive you of every thing that you ever done to me and I want you to do the same” (29) There was some kind of conflict between Wakeman and her sister Lois. Wakeman’s family problems could be a possible attribute to why she left home and began dressing as a…show more content…
She was able to obtain a job on the Chenango Canal as a boatman. The profession of a boatman was not an easy task. Even though her time was short as a boatman she performed masculinity successfully there. She had the strength to perform the manual task and did not complain or show women attributes. While she was a boatman the she became interested in bounties offered to those who enrolled on August 30,1862. She then joined the 153rd regiment on October 17 and departed the next day. She was able to pass as a man to perform boatman and now service
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