Essay on The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1371 Words May 29th, 2015 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; Hester Prynne lived separate from her husband, identified under the pseudonym Roger Chillingworth, and Mistress Hibbins was a widow. With only the male…

Related Documents