Nathaniel Hawthorne uses The Scarlet Letter as a forum to express his opinions of the roles of hypocrisy and truth in the Puritan society. He uses the characters, Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne, to reveal how although their sin was the same, the way it affected them were quite different. In order to present this, Hawthorne uses various rhetorical strategies such as irony, diction, juxtaposition, connotation and personification. These strategies all help to convey that sin must be expressed, otherwise it can lead to self-destruction.
In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne asserts that Puritan society judges an individual largely from their exterior. Hawthorne substantiates his argument by contrasting the interior emotions and exterior visages of several characters, particularly Hester Prynne, through the use of symbolism, contrasting diction, and juxtaposition. By the contradictory existence of Hester's marble exterior and her inner emotional turmoil, portrayed by the symbol of Pearl, Hawthorne’s purpose is to juxtapose the laws of Puritan society with the sentiments of nature. The author evokes an contemplative tone for the reader.
Hawthorne's Hester Prynne is the underdog protagonist that the reader cannot help but want to succeed. She is flawed but her flaws are outshone by her good heart and spirit. This shamed and humiliated woman is the one the reader, with the help of Hawthorne’s descriptions, wants to support. This sinful woman, with a child from wedlock, a diabolical “husband”, and a secretive lover is the motivating force that drives the reader to continue on with The Scarlet Letter. The language, descriptions, and plot of The Scarlet Letter show that Hawthorne believes the reader should look past gender stereotypes because not everything is what is
This quote from the top of page fifty two surrounds the most controversial event in the book from when Hester was publicly shamed and humiliated because of her crime of adultery. In concurrence with this event, Hawthorne embodies the three most prevalent anti-feministic ideas from the book: objectification, ostracization, and targeting of women in 17th century Puritan society. Even though the shaming of Hester had just begun and the trial had just been concluded, the town was already beginning to push her away and view her not as Hester Prynne, but as the “A” for adultery. When I read this, I began to feel astonished at the fact that people would begin to judge her so quickly while having such little knowledge of the event for which Hester was in trouble. Not only was Hester ostracized for a crime that we now know as a relatively conventional event, to make matters worse, everyone in the crowd scapegoated solely her which was uncanny to me since with the crime of adultery, there must be another person involved, specifically a man. This made me think about why nobody had done anything to
When Nathaniel Hawthorne used liminal space to help us understand Hester’s character, it helped the readers draw out a map in their minds about how Hester thinks and how her actions play a great role in this novel. By describing her passion, sin, and reasoning to stay helped us readers feel more connected to her, which helped understand how the story is
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the reader with the harsh, life changing conflicts of three Puritan characters during the 17th century. Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Robert Chillingworth must endure their different, yet surprisingly similar struggles as the novel progresses. Despite their similarities, Hawthorne shows these individuals deal with their conflicts differently, and in the end, only one prevails. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s intricately critical diction helps determine his didactic tone; during the course of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne reveals that happiness can be harnessed through one’s perseverance.
Nathaniel Hawthorne generates a female principle figure who acquires determination, bravery, and courage throughout The Scarlet Letter. Although some critics of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic piece consider the protagonist to be a heroine, others differ in their opinions. Nonetheless, Nathaniel Hawthorne clearly produced a dauntless, female icon through his character, Hester Prynne. Due to her choice to take full responsibility for the sin of adultery, as well as her decision to live a self-reliant lifestyle with her newborn, Pearl, Hester Prynne, in fact, possesses heroic traits.
Hester Prynne, on the other hand, contradicts with this statement, as she proves time and time again that she is a strong, female character. The novel would undeniably be viewed as a feminist novel as it makes a strong statement on women and their impact and role in society. Nathaniel Hawthorne showed a sense of feminism with the character of Hester to show readers that women are not always secondary and are capable of doing anything. Hester is certainly a feminist through her respectable actions and beliefs throughout The Scarlet Letter. She shows personal strength in herself as she demonstrates how, throughout all of her humiliation and punishment, she still believed in her own humanity. Hester has shown to be a strong character as she overcame the mortification of the scarlet letter, took care of her daughter Pearl on her own, and protecting her partner, Arthur Dimmesdale, even through the long years of shame and humiliation. Knowing the Puritan crimes, Hester faced the years of embarassment while still holding onto her ideals and beliefs, which allowed her to grow stronger and stronger with each experience. It is, without doubt, that Hester’s “sin” definitely changed her into the strong character she is. Overall, Hester became a symbol of a strong minded individual to the
Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the greatest American authors of the nineteenth century. He published his first novel Fanshawe, in 1828. However, he is widely known for his novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. His novel, The Scarlet Letter, can be analyzed from historical, psychological and feminist critical perspectives by examining his life from the past, as well as his reflections while writing The Scarlet Letter. In order to understand the book properly, it’s necessary to use these three perspectives.
Hawthorne constantly reminds the reader that despite her changes that Hester makes in life, that red letter upon her chest reminds us that the crime she committed will only bring her darkness. He uses imagery and diction to show her as a puppet of true sin and how sin is the pure way to tarnish a once pure being.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” Hester Prynne is accused and convicted of adultery. During the puritan era women in this society had specific obligations and rights they had to maintain. By Hester having an affair and acting unladylike the community disapproved of her actions causing everyone to isolate her in her town. Due to Hester Prynne’s Isolation and the harsh judgment she received from everyone in her town, she goes through having to deal with Antifeminism acts towards her. Those who lived in the puritan era were not aware that their behavior and actions towards Hester and those who were associated with her were considered sexist. Throughout the story we see Hester deal with criticism and judgment from the community. By her paving her own way and doing what she thinks is best for her self and not sticking to the Status quo, she appeared to be “fearless” and “Bold” to those in the puritan era. Because of the actions Hester Prynne’s displayed she would be considered a modern day feminist, one who believes that women and men should have equal rights. In “The Scarlet Letter” Hester going against what society think is acceptable for a women living during the puritan era shows how she fits the modern expectations of feminism.
A feminist is defined in the British Dictionary as a person who advocates equal rights for women. However incredulous it may sound, women had to fight for rights for equality in things such as politics, economics, and their personal affairs. If the revolutionary feminist concepts were surfacing in the time of Nathaniel Hawthorne, circa 1850, then how was it that he was inspired to write Hester’s character? However,one consideration may be that it was written unintentionally with a feministic tone. This novel stands for the main ideas that gave feminism its momentum: gender equality and love for oneself as a woman. Hawthorne displays Hester as a free woman in the ending of the book, and also deems her and Dimmesdale as equals by having them receive identical markers on their tombstones. The Scarlet Letter epitomizes the strength of women while also providing as an indicator for early feminism, as it’s profound perceptions were not something yet established in this earlier time period. The Scarlet Letter is indubitably a feminist piece of literature.The three main characters work off of one another; Hester is strong while Dimmesdale is feeble and Chillingworth is corrupt; She effortlessly conquers her sin and continues with her new life, while Dimmesdale cannot admit his sins, and Chillingworth seeks revenge on Dimmesdale.
In the novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the character Hester Prynne, as a representation of feminist views and perspectives. The Puritan society views Hester as a sinner and unable to receive forgiveness or grace; however, she overcomes her adversities and finds joy within her being. In general, critics agree that The Scarlet Letter exemplifies the definition of female empowerment. For example, critic Wang writes: “Although shamed and alienated from the rest of the community, Hester does not fall but becomes a miniature of a resistant ‘Feminist Angel’, a strong woman looking forward to the equality between men and women” (Wang ). Wang demonstrates how Hester approaches unfair circumstances with maturity and diligence. Furthermore, critic John Updike states: “Hester Prynne can be seen as Hawthorne's literary contemplation of what happens when women break cultural bounds and gain personal power” (Updike ). The novel defines the position of a feminist
While Hester is a feminist, not only does she share the ideals but shows superiority to the town while being fearless. " It may seem marvelous, that this woman should still call that place her home, where, and where only, she must needs be the type of shame.” (chapter 5, paragraph 2) Hester does not let the shame and remorse of the sin keep her away from the town like most would do. Hawthorne even states that Dimmesdale is weaker than Hester by punishing himself and holding his heart while Hester embraces the sin and is strong while carrying the letter on her chest. She leads a self-righteous life, although she could keep what she earns, she gives most away. Even the townsfolk say Hester is "so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted."(chapter 13, paragraph 5) Hester can be seen over the townspeople helping them although they shamed her. Hawthorne presents that Hester’s “tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free.” (chapter 18, paragraph 2) With this Hester has a “radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood. (chapter 18, paragraph 12) These quotes from Hawthorne show that Hester’s kindness helps her overcome her sin on her own. With Hester’s contribution to the town, “Her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion.” (chapter 5, paragraph 6) In his research, Sacvan Bercovitch remarks that “Hester Prynne ‘builds upon the tradition of the biblical Esther -
For all of these reasons, Hester’s feminist mindset became prevalent throughout the novel. She questions the place of women and becomes heavyhearted when she realizes she does not possess the ability to make an impact. She ponders whether being alive is worth the travesty she believes is engrained