Margaret Fuller’s ideas of gender are forward yet adequate ideologies. Nathaniel Hawthorne has a different yet common take on gender, roles of men and places of women. His beliefs are but biased and clear in his writings such as Birthmark and Young Goodman Brown, with characters built around the same formula (a strong, proud male, a beautiful female who seems but a pawn in the greater plans of their male authorities.) In both instances, a clear gender inequality is not only amplified but come to center around the basic foil in the plot and characters. In order to fully understand the diverging thoughts on gender between these two writers, Fuller’s ideas must be expanded.
As one of the mothers of the feminist movement, Margaret Fuller did well to transcend her society, time and standards in her ideas of gender. She proposed the atrocious idea that men had both masculine and feminine qualities as well as women having both masculine and feminine qualities. In retrospect, this observation is not only true regardless of time or society but greatly ignored in her culture (even ours today.) For instance, men have emotions and sensitive qualities however they are shunned to express them as they are seen as weak and inferior. As “womanly.” Men are often taunted for feminine qualities as these. As for women, knowledge and a firm place in a professional position is often tainted just by being a woman, even though a woman is equally human as man and therefore equally capable in her talents and knowledge.
Fuller suggests that in order for society to properly grow, man and women, men and women and society as a whole to grow, they must do so equally and together. For man is but half of the human race, how can they progress if their compliment does not do the same?
A perfect segue into the twisted fates of Hawthorne’s characters. As said earlier, both Young Goodman Brown and the Birthmark follow a similar formula of married couples, a proud male character, a duty at which...