Essay On Feminism In The Scarlet Letter

Marie Shear once said, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings” (Feminism 101). The privileges women receive today are unlike the limited ones afforded to them in the Puritan society. Women were not viewed as strong, independent characters because that image was usually associated with men. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the main heroine, Hester, is an exception to the viewpoint of women being incompetent. Although the book is not entirely centered on women’s rights, The Scarlet Letter shows Hester as a courageous woman, and that contributes to the novel being perceived as feminist. Being strong was not a quality commonly affiliated with women, but Hester is nevertheless a strong woman in the period in …show more content…
The rights of women were nonexistent and were far away to be prevalent. For a male author like Nathaniel Hawthorne to write a novel in which the main character is a strong female was unheard of. Egalitarian feminism was “centered on women as independent agents rather than wives and mothers” (Sommers 2). This is the type of feminism that is portrayed in The Scarlet Letter. Hester bravely raises a child alone and after her crime, people only view her as a sinful woman. Hester is now no longer looked upon as an equal Puritan woman. People began judging Hester, and they make her a social outcast for the crime she commits. At the end of the novel, Hester is talking to the counsel, and the book states, “She assured them, too, of her firm belief, that, at some brighter period, when the world should have grown ripe for it, in Heaven 's own time, a new truth would be revealed, in order to establish the whole relation between man and woman on a surer ground of mutual happiness" (Hawthorne 239). Feminism stands up for women who are treated unequally such as Hester was in her own society. Hester knows that society is unfair, but she is hopeful that the world will change one

Related Documents