The Feminist Scarlet Letter

1801 Words Mar 22nd, 2001 8 Pages
The Scarlet Letter can easily be seen as an early feminist piece of work. Nathaniel Hawthorne created a story that exemplifies Hester as a strong female character living with her choices, whether they were good or bad, and also as the protagonist. He also presents the daughter of Hester, Pearl, as an intelligent female, especially for her age. He goes on to prove man as imperfect through both the characters of Dimmesdale and of Chillingworth. With the situation that all the characters face, Hawthorne establishes the female as the triumphant one, accomplishing something that, during Nathaniel Hawthorne's time, authors did not attempt. In the beginning of the book, Hawthorne paints the picture of a female named Hester who has sinned. …show more content…
(pg. 51) It shown incredibly bright on her dress. Many of the townspeople do not understand her reasoning for such elaborate stitching, but Hawthorne suggest the fact that she understands why she must wear it and accepts that she has sinned and must pay for her sins. He depicts a female who is not weak and who does not runs away from her problems and mistakes, but one who accepts them. She does the same with her daughter Pearl by dressing her in elaborate garments, strictly against Puritanical beliefs. Hester also proves herself to be a strong female character when she does not leave the town and attempt to start a new life elsewhere, void of her "scarlet letter". "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". (pg. 72) Hawthorne goes on to state that Hester is drawn to the home because of the events. She knows that the town is "the scene of her guilt, and [there] should be the scene of her earthly punishment". (pg. 72) Hester is a female who is she is strong and caring, helping anyone she can when he or she are in need. She leads a pious life, and although she could retain all that 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". (pg. 142) Nathaniel Hawthorne almost all ways personifies Hester as a powerful female, making