The Scarlet Letter : Women 's Rights On The Grounds Of Economic, Political, And Social Equality

1017 Words Dec 7th, 2015 null Page
The definition of the term, “feminist” has changed throughout the course of history. Today, feminism is presented as the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of economic, political, and social equality to men. In other words, a feminist is an advocate or supporter of women’s rights and equality. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, women are generally portrayed as inferior to men. Feminism was not in existence in the setting of Hawthorne 's novel , nor was it supported at its publication. Nevertheless, women 's advancement in society is made apparent in The Scarlet Letter by the novel’s main character, Hester Prynne. Unlike the submissive women of the Puritan community, Hester pursued her sexual desires and now accepts the consequences of her actions. Hawthorn has defined Hester as a strong female character who faces the adversities of being a woman in a restrictive society. Hester’s act of committing adultery led to her increased independence, rebelliousness, and self reliability, making her a strong female character.
Hester’s independence prevails as she rebels against Puritan society and fights against its power over her life. When Hester is condemned to wear the scarlet letter on her bosom, and endure public shame on the scaffold with her illegitimate child, she rebels it by holding her head high. This action “marked with natural dignity and force of character”, gave Hester control over her punishment. Instead of hiding the letter or allowing her…

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