New Historicism, Feminist Criticism and Deconstruction in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Perspectives on New Historicism, Feminist Criticism and Deconstruction in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Introduction Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter has been a highly debatable topic of numerous critical essays, written by scholars who approach the novel from various perspectives of literary criticism. Due to the diversity of perspectives, the questions proposed by these scholars vary and hence the conclusions they arrive at by examining the same literary text may differ not only within a range, but in addition may even seem contrary to one another. The aim of this paper is to provide a comparison between three of the critical perspectives: New Historicism, Feminist Criticism and Deconstruction, each…show more content…
This limitation is based upon the specific question to relate sources named by Bercovitch, Benstock and Ragussis, not from the introductions of Ross C. Murfin. Following my discussion concerning the different perspectives and their connection to one another, I shall also attempt to provide explanations of how each essay serves as an example for the perspectives. By taking a closer look at questions proposed by the writer of an essay, and how these questions relate to the overall perspective (namely found in the essay's title), I am attempting to demonstrate that each text belongs to and represents at least one of the named categories of criticism, while keeping in mind that the relation may be non-exclusive. As a result of my discussion, the differences between the three critical concepts will be outlined again in order to arrive at a general conclusion. This conclusion shall serve as the basis for further discussions. Defining terms In his Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, Ross C. Murfin introduces the reader to perspectives of literary criticism by first proposing the question "What is [...]" (Murfin,275). The question is followed by a closer look at the varieties of shapes one perspective can be defined by. Murfin closely relates his definitions to Hawthorne's novel and uses excerpts from the novel to illustrate his standpoint. However, a clear and precise

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