The Scarlet Letter As A Psychological Analysis

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A Psychological Evaluation of a Supposedly Feminist Novel The various aspects of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter allow it to be classified as a mixture of subgenres within the literary genre. The Scarlet Letter is often considered a romantic novel due to the movement of Romanticism that took place during the writing of the novel. Romanticism was a major philosophical movement during the nineteenth century and it emphasized the elements of nature and the supernatural. However, The Scarlet Letter can arguably be classified as a psychological novel or a feminist novel. Each classification is based on the nature of the characters and their development throughout the story. The psychological nature of the novel can be traced through …show more content…
Hester Prynne is unquestionably a strong female character. "So strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman 's strength" (Hawthorne 141). Hester demonstrates her strength by caring for Pearl on her own, which is no easy task considering that Pearl is a little wild child, and by continuing to serve the community in spite of the fact that the townspeople hate her. "None so ready as she to give of her little substance to every demand of poverty; even though the bitter-hearted pauper threw back a gibe in requital of the food brought regularly to his door..." (Hawthorne 140). This shows Hester 's strength because it would be easy for Hester to give up on her charitable works when the town despises her regardless of how kind and generous she is to them. However, Hester, being a strong female character, does not give up. She continues her good works in the face of opposition, which is the very definition of strength. Even though Hester is a strong character, the novel does not use her character to make a feminist statement. If the novel had highlighted a double standard, such as Hardy 's Tess of the d 'Urbervilles, then the novel could unequivocally be considered a feminist novel, but The Scarlet Letter shows no double standards because the town wanted to punish the father of Pearl for adultery along with Hester when she was on the scaffold (Hawthorne 62). Also, even though Hester displays economic independence because she is able to make a sufficient living without a man 's financial support, the novel does not compare her economic equality to that of a man 's. Had the novel shown her ability to earn a living as comparable to a man 's ability, then perhaps the novel could be considered a feminist novel. Furthermore, the novel gives no indication of even addressing political equality in regards to

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