Feminism In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Has the definition of feminism changed over the years, or has it become stagnant? Does the feminism people fight for today correlate with the feminism that Nathaniel Hawthorne witnessed? And finally, does his novel, The Scarlet Letter reflect feminist viewpoints in a positive manner, or masked misogyny? The general consensus is that The Scarlet Letter was written as a pro-feminist novel, seeing as Hester Prynne is considered one of the first feminist role models in American literature. Hester was outcasted in her Puritan community as an adulteress, tortured by her peers and adulterer, and seemingly confined by gender roles, but still prevailed in the end. Though she was put through numerous trials in her life, Hester Prynne remained strong, as she fought for herself, her daughter, and all the other women in her time period and beyond. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne wrote a female character that was considered a “non-member” of her Puritan town and was excluded from the community. Because of …show more content…
The wave of feminism was beginning in Hawthorne’s time period, but that does not necessarily mean he himself was a feminist. One quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne sums up his feeling towards women authors pretty well saying, “America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public taste is occupied with their trash - and should be ashamed of myself if I did succeed” (“The Damned Mob”). This quote in itself, without explanation is very anti-feminist, though he is the creator of one of the first feminist protagonists in American literature. Also, in The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was outcasted, had no privacy, and no rights. But feminism is the idea that women should have these rights, because they are humans. The way Nathaniel treated Hester in the novel, despite her outcome, could be deemed very

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