Scarlet Letter: Domination Over Oppression

615 Words 3 Pages
Domination Over Oppression
Women are constantly suppressed by the nature of society, that is, the need for “domination of males” (Rich 1) exceeds the lives of millions of women. The feminist nature to awaken another human being to the realities of the world and its brutalities can be “confusing, disorienting, and painful” (Rich 1). However, female oppression has been apparent throughout history as well as through the lives of millions of people. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is an adultress who breaks the mold of Puritan society and proceeds to be an example of feminist faith and belief. She is a feminist symbol and characterizes the the belief of Hawthorne as he tries to break the frame of
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Rich proceeds to state that when “this balance might begin to change”, the world will come to an “extraordinary moment” for society. However, Hawthorne’s novel is heavily based on the breaking of the societal mold for woman. Although Rich makes interesting points about males in literature, Hawthorne conveys the feminist opinion in his work without using the woman herself as his primary point of interest. Throughout many points in the novel, Hawthorne states that Hester did not sin “alone” and that she was only “half the victim”. Hawthorne supports equality between genders throughout the entire novel, even within the chapters excluding Hester.
Feminism is an important theme and aspect of the novel itself.
Therefore, The Scarlet Letter can be seen and interpreted as a feminist novel. Hawthorne depicts
Hester as the female figure who has begun to change the world, but cannot do so because of her current situation. Hester can be seen is the underlying female figure in feminism because she is the first woman (despite being fictional) who has stood out from society. The balance of gender discrimination shifted when Hawthorne had published his novel, and because of Hester’s shining reputation, feminism has finally broken out of its frame of oppression.

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