The Portrayation Of Women In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1371 Words 6 Pages
“The world 's law was no law for her mind. It was an age in which the human intellect, newly emancipated, had taken a more active and a wider range than for many centuries before.” Here, Nathaniel Hawthorne distinctly features the tone of his story: a sympathy and encouragement for women who must deal with society’s restrictions. Within The Scarlet Letter, which focuses on Hester Prynne, a woman ostracized from society for adultery, Hawthorne depicts 17th century Boston and the way women were treated at that time. Furthermore, from his depiction, one may notice a feminist foundation upon which he wrote the book. Hawthorne’s representation of the women in the 17th century, the women’s rights movement in the 19th century, and the women in his own life play a significant role in the feminist portrayals of women in The Scarlet Letter.
In order to observe feminism in the novel, one may compare Hawthorne’s female characters with the roles of women in the 17th century. For instance, women’s place in the family, which included subservience to a male figure. Since 95 to 98 percent of women married at that time, they essentially transferred subordination from a father to a husband (Themes and Variations). This information displays how women were kept under patriarchal control, which differs from some of the women in The Scarlet Letter;
…show more content…
For the most part, he depicts his female characters as individuals living outside the bounds of what society intended for them. Readers can observe this portrayal from Hawthorne’s representation of the women in the 17th century and notice how it primarily resulted from the women’s rights movement in the 19th century, and the women in his own life. All together, these developed a sympathy and guilt that motivated Hawthorne in his work, and The Scarlet Letter, one of the first novels to feature a strong female protagonist, became a

Related Documents