Comparison Between “Stone” by Timothy Findley and “Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne Masculinity Concepts


According to the “Stones” by Timothy Findley, a man was bred to become a soldier and nothing less than that. The masculinity identity is an issue that is worth mentioning. The conception of masculinity is manifested in a soldier.

The essence of masculinity, according to Findley, is seen from when in his qualities of leadership and as the protector of the family. The above roles are operative; to be a figurative and literal soldier and not opposite-women. In the story Stones, one of the characters called David, experiences psychological problems (43). He has been taught into war, violence, making his definition of masculinity skewed. By comparison, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Birthmark (p. 23) gives a different view of masculinity as below. The symbolism shown by the author is very distinct from the difference in the masculinity of the characters in the novel. The nature of masculinity is shown in the face of Georgiana’s. It shows the struggle between science and nature, via his repeated attempts of removal of masculinity. The class between nature and science shows the concept of women and man, through the femininity of nature and masculine characters of the globe of science.

A Comparison Between “Stone” by Timothy Findley and Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Masculinity Concepts

 According to Findley, Davis needs to be a soldier to be considered as a man. Findley indicates that psychological torture is worse than physical torture. The author later introduces another character called Ben. Ben’s memories indicate that he is a perfect father. On the contrary, David is a failed soldier with evident problems of femininity. Since David changes into a feminine boy since lily approaches him as a mother, the author noted that the author tried to inform his audience that man’s role should not be confused with that of the women and that the man was the breadwinner of the family and the society. In the Birthmark, Throughout the story, nature is seen as feminine and present through Georgiana. This is the same way how science depicts masculine and symbolizes through Aylmer. The dilemma or the conflict between nature and science of the attempts that men have in control of women. According to Eckstein, modern science is full of masculine endeavors as well as nature is considered as metaphorically female (512).

From his analysis, it can be concluded that David is less masculine, while Ben is seen as the real man with the masculine to protect his people and family (96). Findley defines the negative effects of masculine psychological dilemma in Stones via indoctrination of violence, the ideal principle of perfection, and the female in contrast. The author informs the reader that gender roles are significant in determining masculinity ideas in humans. On the contrary, Birthmark’s story states that all through history, people refer to nature with the preceding word of “nature,” making the individual believe that nature can only be considered feminine. A true appeal of such beliefs is evident in the contemporary world, where women are now fighting for gender rights all over the world. Rucker sees how Georgia frightens Aylmer, it is seen from the novel that Aylmer fears sexuality (443), especially feminine sexuality. He is concerned with managing his wife and her looks. This shows the theme of women versus men.

Findley indicates that departing to war has psychological effects on man. Men are instructed into violence. A man is psychologically disturbed when he knows he has to go to war. Similar men exist in the streets gangs of the youths as zombies, extremely defensive of their manhood, challenging the soldiers who were dancing (Findley 207).

Suppose Ben had a chance to come to the street with his greatcoat if it would be assumed that he was a deserter, and the society’s patriotism could have come to that (208). The soldiers returned from the war filed with very damaging wounds… it was the women’s role to lift their morale and to deny the harshness of the wounds. The physical is not as damaging as psychological. The author shows that men feared psychological wounds rather than physical wounds. The meaning of this in the contemporary world, as indicated by Findley, is that men should not fear the physical experience that we get from time to time. Still, we should fear the impacts that come with psychological contractions.

On the other hand, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Aylmer, sees Georgiana as an object for perfection except Birthmark in him. Before meeting her, all his was dreaming was science and the art of perfecting nature. He was posed with the degree of belief of man’s ultimate control of nature (p 29). This clearly shows what he ought to perfect from the exiting nature.

It is evident from the Stone that women are subjected to simple roles such as soothing their men when “wounded,” indicating that their masculinity is designed for simple roles or duties. Findley informs the audience that masculinity was used to determine a person’s role in society. At the same time, the author in Birthmark indicates that the difference between men’s and women’s perceptions and stereotypes of nature evident among the characters in the novel. The author comes with a clear description of the role that main character such as Aylmer and Georgiana have towards depicting the roles that gender roles have to the society.

The Findley uses masculinity traits to identify characters in the Stone. David is seen as feminine with weak masculine expectations. In contrast, the novel as the real masculine image that can fight for the family-brave advocates Ben while in Birthmark, to balance the considerations of Georgiana and the mark, Nathaniel includes the opinion of the masculine observer; if the Birthmark did not show the admiration of the contented selves, then the problem lies to the gender roles that nature has indicated in the society of the type of relief that the character presents in the novel.

The Findley also raises the notion of a patriarch. A man is expected to take part in a battle, and such a man is considered the perfect being. However, the notion of perfection prevents an individual’s sense of perspective. Both Ben’s and David’s perspective and blurred. The masculine approach of the perfect father and soldier suggests that David was firm with his Son and Ben’s femininity. David was introduced to violence earlier in life, this rendering his masculinity life similar to when he became a soldier. The author deduces that one’s masculine nature does not come one a mere trial; it is a learned process. Also, an individual’s character is crafted from their masculine form, while Nathaniel states that information, streaming from nature, is coupled with a different meaning in the world of science. He concludes that Aylmer is a person who wishes to define masculinity as the only source of changing nature.

Findley portrays masculine identity to be a negative psychological concern. Concerning soldiers, the concept of masculinity has been altered. The man’s social identity, defined as leader and provider, has been produced negative outcomes. David is seen being psychologically castrated when he returned from war; however, this has given him false protection. Ben’s memories for David pre-war is unclear as it is expected that a soldier heading for war should have a strong masculine complex (209).

It is clear from Stone that the author uses masculinity them to arrange his plot from the start of the story to the end. The sequential analysis of the novel was planned on the nature of the representation of the character of their masculinity image. As a new character is added to the plot, his value adds to the depiction of what he denotes male values or roles. Besides, the author also used a masculinity identity to indicate an individual character in the novel. For example, the ideal character for David was weak, and Ben was previously a courageous man. In Birthmark, the author used masculinity to define the plot of the novel on the principles between nature and science. He divided the plot into several potions defining the role of masculinity in Gender roles.

It can be concluded that masculinity plays a significant role in shaping one’s life, both as nature and science. Both novels have indicated the fear of masculine roles among characters in the novels hence showing a sense of masculine responsibility. It is also evident that both are using masculinity in developing plots and character representation.

Works Cited
  • Erskine, John. “Nathaniel Hawthorne.” In Leading American Novelists. New York: Books For Libraries Press, 1968.
  • Findley, Timothy. “Stones.” Stones. N.p.: Viking Canada, 1988. 195-221. Print.


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