Soldier’s Number – Andrew Mather

“Soldier’s Number”…is most certainly a product of its time. It stands as something of a symbol that, even amidst the racial tension, misogyny or other general behavioral norms we have since attempted to evolve past, there still existed people of both colors in a, admittedly tense, union. A lot of the comments on the black man in “Soldier’s Number” reads as condescending, like people praising children, but there are signs of open-mindedness here and there. It’s….something.

Compared to “The New Freewoman”, the obvious difference between the two is the contrasting focuses. “Freewoman” focuses on the individual and identity, while “Soldier’s Number” focuses largely on duty. Admittedly, the latter is a magazine for soldiers as opposed to the army-banned sex, the difference stands. “Freewoman” also comes across as less organized, with no real theme between the stories.

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3 thoughts on “Soldier’s Number – Andrew Mather

  1. First of all, thank you for posting, Andrew! I guess the rest of Group B forgot for some reason. You da’ man.

    Regarding the reading, I think your analysis was very good. I agree completely in that the “Soldier’s Number” seemed like a much more thought out and thematically centralized. Maybe it had a better editor, or maybe there were just more writings to choose from. Maybe even the “Freewoman” seemed somewhat scattered because it was transitioning from a feminist magazine to a more individualistic magazine. Who knows? Anyways, great point.

    It also was interesting to see the select parts of racial union in the writings. I honestly hadn’t noticed just how few and far between these sections/lines were, but having you highlight it made a big difference. So for that, thank you. I reread the selections I looked at with a new mindset after reading your post (I read like four on Friday and then reread after you posted).

    Very good analysis. Thanks again for the post!

    – Jesse Haynes

  2. Great analysis Andrew, and Jesse. I would like to contribute how the word ”negro” and ”colored” appear all around ”Soldier’s Number”. I believe these words only serve to increment the racial difference. Why not call them Americans? It is a product of its time as aforementioned, where racial difference was very prominent, this magazine was one of many baby steps taken forward for racial equality to exist. “Soldier’s Number” is much more organized than ”Freewoman”, and much easier to read. This historical pieces are very entertaining to read, and are filled with factual content. This is one of the reasons why archives are so important in the present.

    Thank you for the post!
    Kevin Kim.

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