Challenging The Biological : The Fantasy Of Male Birth As A Nineteenth Century Narrative Of Ethical Failure

Challenging The Biological : The Fantasy Of Male Birth As A Nineteenth Century Narrative Of Ethical Failure

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The article that I have chosen to analyze is entitled “Challenging the Biological: The Fantasy of Male Birth as a Nineteenth Century Narrative of Ethical Failure”. The author of this article is Galia Benziman. Benziman states her main thesis as “I will discuss four nineteenth century works that examine such possibilities, emerging in an era that offers a particularly rich treatment of the theme. With the rise of the belief in, and anxiety about, the supremacy of science, we witness in nineteenth-century fictional works a recurrent staging of the male subject’s attempt to harness technology for the purpose of overcoming the biological limitation of his sex and procreating a new being.” This is a rather extensive thesis but really works well as far as summing up what to expect from the article itself. The title also helps set the tone for what to expect as well. The main purpose of this article according to Benziman is to present fictional works such as “Frankenstein”, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, “The Island of Dr. Moreua”, and “The Birthmark” as text that have a complete different meaning that what we generally read it to be. For this crtical essay, I will discuss Benziman’s main points of usage of science and technology, the four fictional works as previously mentioned and it’s correlation to the thesis provided by Benziman and also the idea of matrophobia.
Due to science and technology advancing, the inventions of gynecology was seen as a way to literally open up the woman, uncover her sexual organs, analyze them and then open up her “secrets” so to speak. The usage of technology basically works a substitute for the female body in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” According to Benziman science and...


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...d Mr., Hyde” entail. Firstly the queer theory applies because the article references a male’s refusal of the woman and the man’s desire to reproduce on their own; this suggests ability versus inability just as the queer theory refers to. I also think that the feminist and gender based criticism theory applies as well because the article is generally about males and females and their construction of their gender alone. Lastly, I think psychoanalytic theory applies simply because the article focuses on a male’s emotions and personal desires.
I found this article to be very interesting and informative to say the least. It certainly opened me up to a new perspective on how to interpret “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” as well as the other three mentioned literary works. I appreciated the binary oppositions of male versus female and humanity versus animalism.

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