term papers categories




[Writer’s Name]
[Instructor’s name]
[Course title]

A 2 Pages Term Paper on Conjoined Twins

The Siamese Twins: ENG AND CHANG

      Twins and twinning refers to the process that leads to the production of more than one offspring at one birth. In humans the most frequent type of twinning results in the birth of two babies (twins) at once, although repetition of twinning may lead to triplets, quadruplets, or other multiples of one. The two major types of twins are identical twins and fraternal twins. Identical twins are two individuals that have developed from a single egg fertilized by a single sperm. This fertilized egg is called a zygote. At a relatively early stage in its growth, the zygote splits into two separate cell masses which go on to become embryos; these embryos are genetically identical to each other and are always of the same sex. Three-fourths of such embryo pairs share a common placenta. Since they both developed from a single zygote, such twins are called monozygotic (MZ) twins. A zygote's atypical separation into two independent embryonic structures can occur at any of several growth stages. Its incomplete or late division into two cell masses results in Siamese twins. (Laura E. Beardsley)

Click to Order a Custom Term Paper Now...

      The name ‘Siamese Twins’ is prevalently applied to twins congenitally united in a way not incompatible with life or activity. The name is derived from the renowned twins Eng and Chang, born to the Chinese parents in May 1811 at Meklong, Siam [Thailand] and died in January 16/17, 1874, at Mount Airy, North Carolina, U.S. congenitally joined twins gained worldwide fame for their anatomical anomaly. Eng and Chang were joined together at the sternum by a thick, muscular sinew and remained unified throughout life. Joined twins are always identical. Surgical separation is often possible. As a result of their fame, the term Siamese twin came to denote the condition of being one of a pair of conjoined twins (of any nationality). Chang and Eng, joined at the waist by a tubular band of tissue about 3.25 inches (8 cm) long and about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter, were born of a half-Chinese mother and a Chinese father. Their anatomical peculiarity caused them to be sought after as children, and they even had an audience with the king of Siam. In 1829 Chang and Eng in the “hire” of a British merchant left Siam, and throughout the following decade they traveled around the eastern United States and in Canada, Cuba, and Europe. Until they reached the age of 21, they traveled with their sponsor, who received the earnings from their exhibition. After that, they took charge of their own tours and together accumulated a small fortune. They settled in Mount Airy, North Carolina, bought a farm, and took up farming. They became naturalized citizens, adopting the surname ‘Bunker’. (Wallace, I. and Wallace, A)

Click to Order a Custom Term Paper Now...

     After several months in America, Chang and Eng left for England. While there, they were exhibited in the most famous venues and met members of the royal family. Chang and Eng were also the subjects of numerous medical examinations to determine the true nature of their connection and the feasibility of surgical separation, which was deemed impossible. During the daily shows, the brothers performed acrobatics and feats of strength, and displayed their connecting band. After enjoying tremendous success in England, Chang and Eng were denied entrance into France because officials there believed that pregnant women who saw the unusual brothers would bear similarly deformed babies. Eventually, Chang and Eng returned to America.

     In 1832, at the age of 21, Chang and Eng ended their contract with Abel Coffin. When they were 28, Chang and Eng retired to a small town in North Carolina. Their first business venture, a country store, was unsuccessful, so they bought land and became farmers. During the early 1840s, they became naturalized citizens of the United States, adopted the last name Bunker, and began a search for "a couple of nice wives." In April 1843, the search was ended when Chang married Adelaide Yates, and Eng married Sarah Anne, her sister. Over the next thirty-one years the brothers fathered a total of twenty-one children. (Laura E. Beardsley)

Click to Order a Custom Term Paper Now...

      Chang and Eng maintained separate households 1.5 miles (2.5 km) apart. They alternated three-day visits with their respective spouses, and each twin fathered several children. During the American Civil War they lost much of their money (in addition to their slaves), and in 1869 they once more went on tour in Europe. Hang, who was moodier than Eng, had begun to drink heavily. During the 1850s, and again after the Civil War, Chang and Eng returned to public exhibitions. In 1860, they met the famed showman, P. T. Barnum and worked for a brief time at his museum in New York City to support their growing families. Barnum also sponsored their tour to Europe. While in Europe, the brothers once again investigated the possibility of separation. The danger was still deemed too great, and surgery was refused. As their health declined, the brothers desired to return home, and they came back to North Carolina in the early 1870s.

     In 1870, while returning to the United States from their successful tour, Chang had a paralytic stroke On January 17, 1874; Eng was awakened in the middle of the night by a strange sensation. Looking towards his brother, Eng quickly realized that Chang had died. Eng called for his son William, who ran through the house shouting, "Uncle Chang is dead!" Within hours, Eng was dead, too. Several weeks later, the bodies were brought to Philadelphia by a commission appointed by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Drs. Harrison Allen and William H. Pancoast at the Mütter Museum performed an autopsy. It was determined that Chang had died of a cerebral clot. It was unclear, however, why Eng had died. Some physicians suggested that he died of fright. Today, it is thought that Eng bled to death, as the blood pooled in his dead brother's body. (Laura E. Beardsley)

Click to Order a Custom Term Paper Now...

     Chang and Eng changed the way society viewed conjoined twins and people with profound physical differences. They proved that those who were different could have normal lives: jobs, spouses, and a healthy family. Chang and Eng introduced the term "Siamese Twins" into our language, and introduced the world to a side of nature that was usually hidden away, ignored, or feared. Chang and Eng led the way for numerous other conjoined twins who have since benefited from the acceptance they demanded and received from society at large.

     By the time they died, Chang and Eng were among the most widely known people in the United States. They were the subjects of newspaper articles, books, poetry, satires, lithographs, and plays. They were also popular subject for masquerade parties. But at that time, these United States were not so united, and in Chang and Eng, Americans saw their own political struggle embodied. As "America struggled with its configurations of government (divided states within a united nation) and domesticity (marriage, in particular)," the twins continually raised the question: Are they two or one? The twin's bond was seen as an argument for union and the fusion of the states, while the alternative explanation was that such a connection was "monstrous" and unnatural. Similarly, while the story of the twins' marriages was seen as the triumph of domesticity, these "marriages raised the specters of homosexuality, incest, adultery, and exotic orgies of flesh which profoundly confronted the heterosexual marital norms of Victorian America. (Pingree, A. 1996)

Click to Order a Custom Term Paper Now...

Works Cited

Laura E. Beardsley, "Body Doubles: Siamese Twins in Fact and Fiction", an exhibit at the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians, Philadelphia, PA, Spring 1995.

Pingree, A. 1996 America’s "United Siamese Brothers” Chang and Eng

Nineteenth century ideologies of democracy and domesticity - In Reading Monsters/Reading Culture (ed. J. J. Cohen), University of Minnesota Press, NY

Wallace, I. and Wallace, A. 1978. The Two   Simon and Schuster,   NY


Disclaimer: These papers are to be used for research/reference purposes only. All papers should be used with proper references.


© Copyright 1996-2008 Best Term Paper and Research Papers