Feminism in The Scarlett Letter Essay

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Feminists are independent individuals that stand against the given norms of society. Throughout history, there are many examples of these strong individuals that help innovate society forward. Because Puritan society greatly suppressed many women, feminism is quite impossible at that time. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne explores the life of Hester Prynne, a young puritan woman involved in an affair. Throughout the book, Hester Prynne expresses her potential to become an early feminist and at times is, however her love for Arthur Dimmesdale holds her back from attaining her full feminist potential. Feminist figures are strong and independent, giving them courage to voice their opinion. From the beginning, Hester…show more content…
In the end, Hester continues as a feminist when she goes on to empower other women against the norms of Puritan society. Although Hester enacts upon her strong qualities to show feministic actions, she is not a true feminist as men still deeply affect her decisions. Hester, though strong willed, is not completely in control of her life. Her love for Dimmesdale affects her decisions, taking away from her feminine independence. She acquiesces to Dimmesdale’s request to not let him go to England on his own, going against her decision in the beginning to “not flee” because she had a “motive for continuing resident in New England” (Hawthorne 55). Although Hawthorne leaves Hester’s motive ambiguous, both possibilities show Hester’s lack of independence that would make her an early feminist. One motive is that staying at New England “would at length purge her soul” (Hawthorne 55). Hester holds strongly to her original intent until her love for Dimmesdale sways her into fleeing. The fact that “it might be that another feeling kept [Hester] within the scene” (Hawthorne 55), indicate a second motive that she stayed because she loves Dimmesdale, showing that her love for Dimmesdale controlled even her original decision. When Hester is at the governor’s house, she doubts her ability to retain her independence as a
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