When researching criticism on Hawthorne's works, I ran across an interesting piece that dealt with the feminist view of "The Birth-Mark." The article, written by Fetterly, explores the relationship between Aylmer and his wife, and how this relationship is a typical male-dominated situation. Although there is the fact that the story deals with the failure of the scientist, there is an underlying current here of how Aylmer views his wife: in a negative manner. This view towards women can be seen in several of the works of Hawthorne's - among them "Rappaccini's Daughter," "The Prophetic Pictures," and "Lady Eleanor's Mantle." While this view of women is not always at the forefront of the piece, it is certainly worth exploring how they are treated by the men in each.
In "The Birthmark," Aylmer sets about the task of ridding his wife of the one imperfection she has. By attempting to perfect her, the readers get the idea that somehow Georgiana is not adequate and this inadequacy lies in her appearance. The message to the readers seems to be that women need to be perfect on the outside as well as on the inside, which Aylmer claims is flawless. Aylmer decides he is going to "fix" Georgiana. Feminists look at this as a male control issue. There are several mentions of Georgiana as being "otherwise so perfect," in both appearance and soul - save for this birthmark. This idea of having to have the most beautiful wife is very degrading view of women. It plants the idea in our minds that men are superior to women, and that men are the ones who can "fix" females in the attempt to bring them up to the level of me...
... middle of paper ...
...hadow of death falling over the female characters in each of these stories. This would fit into what Fetterly describes as "the great American dream of eliminating women." It seems that the role of the men in these pieces were chiefly to try and control their wives/love interests/daughters in the attempt to get an upper hand in the battle of the sexes. There are not any productive male-female relationships seen here, and feminists would conclude that this stems from the need to dominate women, probably because men are afraid of the power of women. We can't know what's going on in the minds of these men, but it certainly is interesting to look at the relationships they have with the main female characters.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. " Rappaccini's Daughter." Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tales. Ed. James McIntosh. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1987.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Eleanor of Aquitaine Much has been written about the historical life of Eleanor of Aquitane. Her life, Undoubtedly reads like legend, at least in part because it is. It is fairly safe to say that the world had never seen a woman like Eleanor of Aquitane, and it is doubtful that there has been a woman since who could rival her power, intelligence, beauty and sheer force of will. Like many other women of her time Eleanor came from a long line of noble and royal blood. Her lineage can be traced back to the earliest kings of both England and France.(follow link to take a look at Eleanor’s very long family tree http://www.my-ged.com/db/page/scokin/12251) Her father William X was the son of Fran... [tags: Queen Roalty Eleanor Aquitaine History Papers]
2809 words (8 pages)
- ... Life for middle and working class changed during the Depression. These changes can be seen through social protests, social systems of welfare, households, work practices, and understanding social communities. Groups of people began to come together to form communities for survival by race and religion ("Everyday Life during the Depression”). A man named Bill was a teenager when the Great Depression was occurring and he recalls that, “Food and jobs were hard to get and many people stood in lines for government hand-outs.... [tags: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt]
746 words (2.1 pages)
- Eleanor Roosevelt: A Personal and Public Life J. William T. Youngs. Eleanor Roosevelt A Personal and Public Life. (Pearson Longman: New York. 2006), 265pp. J. William T. Youngs is a professor at Eastern Washington University. He specializations in U.S. History, American Wilderness, Early America, History of Disease, History and New Media, Public History. The thesis of this book is a look into the personal and public life of Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt, a renown philanthropist was the wife of the thirty-second president of the United States; Franklin Delano Roosevelt.... [tags: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt]
1238 words (3.5 pages)
- Eleanor Roosevelt, whose life did not look promising in the beginning with the loss of both her parents early on, ended up changing a worldShe then went to live with her grandmother who sent her to Allenswood Academy for girls. Described as an astute and observant child who had self confidence issues. There Eleanor studied under Marie Souvestre, a dedicated feminist. Eleanor would not finish school there as she hoped. Being called home Eleanor returned, at the age of 19 , as the niece of the president of the United States of America, Teddy Roosevelt.... [tags: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt]
1129 words (3.2 pages)
- This report will describe Eleanor Roosevelt’s life before the White House, her family, her greatest life achievements and the lasting impact she had. Suffering great losses and tragedy as a young child, she worked through these hard times and like coal under pressure with the right influences over time she turned into a precious diamond. She has helped this nation an abundance of times over her many years of devotion to her values and a lot of challenging work. A little over 230 years ago in New York, New York a baby named Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was brought into this world by her two parents, Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt (“Eleanor Roosevelt.” History.com).... [tags: Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt]
1068 words (3.1 pages)
- In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Once you put your mind towards a goal, it is pretty impossible to fail at achieving it. As a leader you must set goals for yourself, and in return these goals will benefit you in the long run. Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the greatest leaders of her time. She is not just known for being the first lady, but also her achievements and hard work for social justice. Her leadership can be viewed and learned for many years to come.... [tags: Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt]
1465 words (4.2 pages)
- Loneliness in Eleanor Rigby and Misery The poem "Eleanor Rigby," written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, has a common theme with Anton Chekov's short story "Misery." They present to the reader the failure of the main characters to make any significant contact with other people. This failure results in an overwhelming sense of despair and loneliness. In both of these works the main characters are faced with a problem they need to resolve. Their attempts to solve these problems provide a common ground that can be used to examine the success or failure of their efforts.... [tags: Eleanor Rigby Misery]
1130 words (3.2 pages)
- Comparing the Two Pictures of London, Illustrated by Wordsworth and Blake in Their Two Poems The two poems depicting London by Wordsworth and Blake are in some ways similar and yet have many differences. Both observations of London are depicted through the poets' personal perspectives of London using individual experiences. We can tell that both poems are from the person's interpretations and experiences as they are said in the first person: 'Ne'er saw Iâ€¦' in Wordswoths' poem and: 'I wonder through each chartered streetâ€¦' in Blakes'.... [tags: Compare Contrast Wordsworth Blake]
1417 words (4 pages)
- Pictures The main conflict in the text is about having different religions. It's about how a little girl is having problems about understanding why she can't paint religious persons with dark skin. At school the teacher says that Amina can take the picture to show her mom. Amina doesn't understand why it can't hang on the wall together with the other childrens'. But the teacher gives another excuse and Amina "surrenders", and takes the picture home. But as her mother sees the picture she tears it apart, and tells Amina to never say anything to Amina's father and she tells Amina explicitly not to draw anymore pictures of the Prophet of Nazareth.... [tags: essays research papers]
794 words (2.3 pages)
- In everyone’s life there comes a point in time when you assess your life, not just look back in time, but see the progression, the triumphs and the failures.....Eleanor Smith had reached this point. She sees that things aren’t as they seem, the passion and desire is gone from her marriage, she is unable to influence her children’s life, her best friend, who is an alcoholic seems to have her life in more order then Eleanor. How did her happy life slip away before her eyes. The story evolves around Eleanor, emotions and feelings.... [tags: essays research papers]
573 words (1.6 pages)