Corporeal Crisis and the Contested Female Terrain: An Ecofeminist Reading of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”
This paper originally and substantially studies Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” from an ecofemninsit perspective, while exploring the interconnections and interdependency between the systematic and institutional ways in which the woman and nature were dominated by male-centred society in 19th century society. It explores the ways in which this interconnection mirrors the hegemonic and repressive structure of 19th century patriarchal Victorian culture, paying particular attention to the oppressive mechanisms operating on feminine human and non-human beings. More importantly, this article accounts for the story’s critique of the multifaceted domination of nature and female terrain. This article builds on significant contributions to ecofeminist theory while arguing that the oppression of women and exploitation of nature by patriarchal culture and male-run institutions are represented in “The Birth-Mark” as a product of masculinist, colonialist and capitalist assumptions and practices. This article demonstrates that patriarchal culture’s unjust hierarchies and systems of domination are connected conceptually, and the promise of Aylmer to relieve Georgina from the corporeal crisis is an instance of difference-and-hierarchy-based domination; it aims at perpetuating the accepted authority and power of man who can contest God’s female terrain, and claim his ability to recreate and reintegrate it in ways that show absolute control over nature and God.
"Corporeal Crisis and the Contested Female Terrain: An Ecofeminist Reading of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
1, Article 21.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss1/21