The Divine Power Of Womanhood : Hawthorne 's Re Branding Of Femininity

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The Divine Power of Womanhood: Hawthorne’s Re-branding of Femininity Women in Puritan society, as in many other societies throughout time, were repressed. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter it is womanhood, not women themselves, that is being repressed within Puritan society. On the surface, this is because of its traditional religious association with sin. However, Hawthorne depicts femininity and womanhood as having divine power and influence, [as in, they] ? are a God-approved force leading people towards moral good. This is shown through his depiction of women deprived of womanhood as morally corrupt, the way in which Hester’s feminine qualities inspire forgiveness, and in Hester’s belief in the power of a woman to change Puritan society. Hawthorne does this in order to subvert those traditional religious ideas about femininity, instead suggesting that the reason womanhood is repressed lies in the fear the Puritans have of womanly power destroying their patriarchal society. Hawthorne depicts the unfeminine women in Puritan society as being morally corrupt, thus proving that feminine influence is necessary for morality. In Puritan society, femininity and womanhood are repressed, as they are considered sinful. Hawthorne emphasizes this by showing how Puritans blame womanhood for Hester’s sin: “she would become the general symbol at which the preacher or moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their image’s of women’s frailty and sinful

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