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That Only a Mother

That Only a Mother - commit infanticide is nearly...

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Daniel Pearson Ms. Shackelford Journal Entry Criticism of Men in “That Only a Mother” Judith Merril, a twentieth century feminist, portrays a story in which men serve as a foil to feminine unconditional love. Throughout the narrative, Margaret’s husband Hank responds to his wife’s lengthy, love-filled letters rarely and curtly, though he does conclude his messages with “love Hank.” Merril uses Hank as such to criticize the stereotypical male characteristic of lacking deep emotional interest in one’s partner, implying only physical appearance appeals to men. Furthering this generalization, Merril stresses the dichotomy between male and female attitudes toward children. Margaret, noting the trend of growing infanticide rates, adds that “[i]t’s the fathers who do it” despite that, in reality, the split between fathers and mothers who
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Unformatted text preview: commit infanticide is nearly fifty-fifty ( http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ ). At the conclusion of the story, Merril juxtaposes male physical dependency with female unconditional love. Margaret, completely absorbed by her love towards her child, overlooks the baby’s mutation; Hank, on the other hand, immediately recognizes the child’s differences. Unable to accept a limbless daughter, he murders the infant with his bare hands. Although as interesting and unique story, “That Only a Mother” loses strength due to Merril’s biased portrayal of the sexes. Instead of indirectly insulting males, Merril should address serious aspects of gender inequality in society to assert a more persuasive feminist argument....
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