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The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne And The Hungarian Novel Colours And Years

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MEN’S INFLUENCE OVER FEMININE PATTERNS OF HEROISM

The categorisation of female characters as heroines is often less obvious than the one of male characters as heroes. In a lot of contexts, “women and men are left with the impression that women are not heroic”. In other words, sometimes people tend to regard fictional women as inferior characters to whom the traditional notion of heroism cannot be applied. Yet, with the purpose of proving such a thesis wrong, this essay will examine the historical romance The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Hungarian novel Colours and Years written by Margit Kaffka. Indeed, the two texts will highlight the evidence that female characters can be heroic precisely because of their
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In other terms, the heroine never loses her strong spirit, and does not seem to need either men’s psychological or economic support, even though she has to bear a difficult situation as a consequence of her adultery with the Reverend Dimmesdale. Indeed, she would not have been able to prove herself heroic without the struggling relationship with Chillingworth, and the forbidden liaison with Dimmesdale. Thus, from this perspective, it may be easy to deduce that these men influence the heroism perceived in Hester.

This next section explores the evidence of Magda’s heroism based on her relationship with her husbands. As previously mentioned, Magda is much more dependent on men, as it is exemplified in the book: “It appeared that I was not suited for struggle and independence. But instead I could only exist through someone else, through a man”. Although this makes a relevant difference between the two examined female characters, Magda proves herself heroic because of the firm discipline with which she dedicates herself to the care of her domestic microcosm and to the fulfilment of her wifely duties. Indeed, Magda also says: “This is the unavailing, odd-jobbing drudgery that begins anew each day, the mechanism of housekeeping! Just for a man! […] I felt that housework was slavery”. In other words, the feelings she experiences in her routine as a wife highlight her heroic
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