Scarlet Letter Gender Roles Essay

1133 Words 5 Pages
In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, depicts women as the more dominant gender through the characters. Hester Prynne, the main character, is a young woman living in Puritan New England that committed adultery with the town’s own minister, Arthur Dimmesdale. When the town found out she was pregnant, she was publicly shamed on a scaffold for three hours and forced to wear a scarlet letter A for the rest of her life. As an outcast of society, Hester keeps the secret of her relationship with Dimmesdale and the identity of her husband while redeeming herself by becoming a positive member to society through her charity work.Through the use of character development and allusions, Hawthorne portrays the women of Puritan New England …show more content…
Through the process of Hester’s success of becoming a well-thought of being, Hawthorne portrays women of possessing great fortitude. Hester was an outcast in her society whom was publicly shamed for her sin but remained to be self-confident and strong-willed. Walking down the streets, she would be pointed at and whispered about. Nobody wanted to be a friend or even talk to her because they feared being associated with such a sinful person. Despite the judgment from her society, Hester kept her head held high. With society rejecting her, Hester was forced to become independent and moved into the outskirts of Boston. She successfully raised Pearl without the aid of a husband or man in the house while earning a living in needlework. Although it was challenging, Hester ended up proving she was stronger and independent. It took several years for Hester to regain respect from her community. Hester helped the poor and cared for the ill despite the negativity she received from her community. eventually, the society began to interpret the scarlet letter in a different way. In fact, “many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (Hawthorne 145). This is the point where Hester is regaining her reputation. The character development of Hester signifies …show more content…
Hawthorne starting in the first chapter makes brief references to the Ann Hutchinson. His purpose in doing so is to relate Hutchinson to Hester since the two women have somewhat of corresponding lives. Ann Hutchinson was a colonist from the Puritan era who fought for the rights of women and taught religion unauthorized. Hutchinson was a natural leader advocating for the rights of women. Similar to Hester, she was banished from Massachusetts for her different beliefs. Hawthorne claims that if Pearl had not been born to Hester then Hester “might have come down to us in history, hand in hand with Ann Hutchinson, as the foundress of a religious sect” and that she most likely would have been sentenced to death for “attempting to undermine the foundations of the Puritan establishment” (Hawthorne PAGE NUMBER). Hawthorne’s use of Hutchinson as an allusion in reference to Hester signifies that he thinks highly of women and their leadership and strength enable them to be key roles in society. EXPLANATION

Hawthorne’s portrayal of women as the stronger gender of society is similar modern day. Today, many like the women in the novel are viewed as independent and strong-willed. However, Hawthorne defies many stereotypes of today that men are stronger and more capable of things than women. Character development and allusions are used by Hawthorne to portray the women of Puritan New England as independent,

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