Clawson takes fraternal orders to be windows into the hidden recesses of the American white male psyche; peeking through, she sees a contested terrain, plagued by self doubts and the terror of humiliation.
In a sense, studies of fraternal orders at the turn of the century are the flip side of recent feminist inquiries into what Carroll Smith-Rosenberg called the "female world of love and ritual"-that elaborate culture women created to cope with the isolation and oppression engendered by the separation of spheres.
53) Dumenil's study is of more than local importance since fraternal orders universally subscribed to the masonic practice of initiations and symbolic dramas.
Such festive consumption was hardly limited to the freemasons, since the Improved Order of Red Men (one of the largest fraternal orders of the late-nineteenth century) made extensive use of bows and arrows, knives, tomahawks, ropes, tents, shepherd's robes, sandals and gongs during their ceremonies.
This group was instrumental in creating local newspapers and an array of fraternal orders
and churches that further served the community.