"A neutral territory": Artist, community, and gender in Nathaniel Hawthorne's works
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This dissertation examines gender issues in Nathaniel Hawthorne's works. Considering Hawthorne's trouble with gender--particularly as a writer--as the central theme of his literature and the driving force behind his creation, this dissertation seeks to elucidate the trajectory of Hawthorne's career, in which he develops the ability to critically consider the institution of gender through his exploration of the artist's relation to community. The Introduction approaches Hawthorne's gender ambiguity from psychological and new historical perspectives. By illuminating Hawthorne's anxiety of gender understood within the context of antebellum America, it provides the platform from which his works are considered. Chapter One demonstrates that in Fanshawe, Hawthorne's idealization of the genteel protagonist makes Fanshawe regress to an earlier period in history, so that he may flee from the maturity of himself and his nation. Chapter Two discusses Hawthorne's short works. The narcissism of Fanshawe/ Fanshawe is criticized in "The Story Teller," in which Hawthorne attempts to make both the story teller and his listeners into a community of Americans. In this socializing and normalizing project, the domestic--nation and home--are represented as the homosocial world of male rivalry. Chapter Three compares The Scarlet Letter with "Mrs. Hutchinson." Although Hawthorne has indicted the transgressor of the female sphere earlier in his career, his own expulsion from the male sphere of the Salem custom house and his mother's death enable him to identify with the feminine and to create a neutral territory of a romance in which the institution of gender is radically reconsidered. Chapter Four reads The House of the Seven Gables as a study of the construction of domesticity in which gender difference, together with class difference, complicates the relations between two families. The Epilogue considers The Blithedale Romance as an exploration of the relations, not only between genders, but also among the same gender. By making Coverdale a first-person narrator, Hawthorne is able to distance himself from the narcissistic protagonist in order to offer a critical study of the Fanshawe type, showing his development as a writer.