The demise of romance under patriarchy: Hawthorne's The Marble Faun

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Abstract

In his last romance, The Marble Faun, Nathaniel Hawthorne takes the trouble to force Kenyon to express his heterosexual male identity. Kenyon declares to Miriam thus: "I am a man, and between man and man there is always an insuperable gulf. They can never quite grasp each other's hands; and therefore man never derives any intimate help, any heart sustenance, from his brother man, but from woman-his mother, his sister, or his wife." The author seems, in an affected manner, to obediently follow and simultaneously stress the middle-class gender-norm by compulsively heterosexualizing the relation among the three, Kenyon, Donatello, and Miriam. Yet, Hawthorne unavoidably imports the excessive sexuality into the story and consequently destabilizes the gender system therein. In this thesis, I will clarify how the binary gender system affects Hawthorne's composition of The Marble Faun by focusing on how the author configures the gender identities of the characters in the story. The patriarchic order and the authority have been symbolically undermined in The Marble Faun by the omnipresence of multiplicative copies of the parricidal Beatrice Cenci, whose features both the innocent American Puritan girl Hilda and the voluptuous Miriam resemble. By introducing the lynching ritual, the author hopes in vain to reinstate the order. Ironically, Kenyon, the patriarch tobe, is mock-victimized or mock-raped in the chaos of the carnival by the monstrous woman-like but probably male figure. To offset this failure, Hawthorne squeezes Miriam into the category of the virago, represented by the biblical heroines such as Jael, Judith, and Salome. Theoretically, this manipulation enables Hawthorne to homosocially ally Kenyon (the author's double, in a way) with Donatello, the character whom Hawthorne

Journal

  • English review

    English review (25), 1-17[含 抄録], 2011-03

    桃山学院大学総合研究所

Codes

  • NII Article ID (NAID)
    110008380267
  • NII NACSIS-CAT ID (NCID)
    AN10208093
  • Text Lang
    ENG
  • Article Type
    departmental bulletin paper
  • Journal Type
    大学紀要
  • ISSN
    09170200
  • NDL Article ID
    11087253
  • NDL Source Classification
    ZK31(言語・文学--外国語・外国文学)
  • NDL Call No.
    Z12-850
  • Data Source
    NDL  NII-ELS  IR 
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