Through tropes of work and sex, Robert Morgan’s Gap Creek: The Story of a Marriage normalizes violations perpetrated by men against women. The book is set around the turn of the twentieth century, so as the protagonist, Julie, relates her story, it becomes a journey into an imagined past when women were women and knew how to help men become men, in the purest patriarchal sense of the terms. While Julie is cast as a strong mountain woman who is to be commended for her physical strength, maturity, and common sense, what actually underlies her admirable character traits is the novel’s approbation for her subservience and silence. Yet since its publication in 1999, the novel has enjoyed immense popular appeal as well as critical praise. I argue that Morgan’s insider status and his use of a contentedly subjugated woman narrator obfuscate the book’s sexist ideology.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.