Feminism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
The Puritans believed that God could forgive you, but Man can only forgive by seeing a character change through behavior. As said in the early part of The Scarlet Letter, “...wherefore is she here set up to public shame?” However, later in the novel Hawthorne states that, “she is not known of her sin any longer” and has resumed normal life in the village. Even as society shuns her and is ashamed she still stays in Boston; she conforms to the need to be in a society and not change any ideology. Hester protested the idea of being complacent in that situation because she later travelled to England. The fact that she was satisfied with the treatment she endured by society, the terrible shame and desocialization, and still …show more content…
Puritan law executed people that committed adultery by hanging at the time. Although Hester escaped the death penalty she still did not escape the “A” on her chest. That was society branding her as an adulterer and a sinner. Hawthorne's main character of the book, Hester, did not object to the “A” on her chest or the way they viewed her, but instead treated as if this was the only way to redemption and being complacent in her treatment. Citizens of Boston had bold thoughts on how to stick to the rules set in place and dared not to disobey them. Not only does Hester conform to the rules, but so does Dimmesdale as he stands aside because of his position in the Puritan faith. Many of the circumstances that Hester goes through worsened because of her willingness to be like the others. There were years of shame and affliction from the letter instead of just starting a new life in England right away. Hester had a choice to either break free from that society in Boston or to conform, and conforming is why this is not the typical way of a feminist. The women’s liberation movement fights to change society, whether for women's suffrage, equal pay, or for equal rights. Hester, the main character, does none of these things that define a feminist.
In conclusion, The Scarlet Letter has a wonderful story and plot with amazing characters. However, it does not portray a pure feminist image. Hawthorne's novel is not